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THE UK: Subject Guides

Top music schools in the UK


University of Manchester

Ranked number one in the 2014 Sunday Times University Guide and the Complete University Guide, the University of Manchester reflects high scores for student satisfaction and has even come up in the top three music departments nationally. The department offers a unique combination of opportunities to students, from outstanding teaching by internationally leading academic staff who are in tuned with the industry to opportunities for students to perform live performances that include concerts and partake in over 100 events each year. The professional concert season includes the school’s resident string quartet, the Quartor Danel, the contemporary ensemble-in-residence, Psappha, and the Thursday lunchtime concert series. The school’s cutting edge facilities like its award-winning electroacoustic composition studios, is only one of its many state-of-the-art facilities. Choose from undergraduate and postgraduate music courses or opt for highly competitive joint courses.


Guildhall School of Music and Drama

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is one of the world’s leading conservatoires and drama schools, offering musicians, actors, stage managers and theatre technicians an inspiring environment in which to develop as artists and professionals. Rated number one specialist institution in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2013 and 2014, it is a leading provider of specialist music training at the under 18 level. The school’s alumni are big names in opera, jazz, music therapy, stage work and technical theatre. These household names include Orlando Bloom, Dido, Ewan McGregor, Julia McKenzie and Anthony Marwood.  Students learn from leaders in the field who are closely linked o the music profession. Students also perform regularly in the Barbican Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Wigmore Hall and other venues around London and the UK. Choose from majoring in musical instruments like keyboard, strings and harp or venture into vocal studies and performance.


Royal College of Music

A reputation that precedes its name, the Royal College of Music is ranked third on the Guardian’s league table for music. There are great opportunities for students to perform solo and communal music in prestigious venues with the most highly regarded guest artists. The school’s orchestral concerts offer chances for solo performers, and are regularly conducted by the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haltink, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Sir Roger Norrington. Master classes are also regularly held with the school’s jazz ensemble, performing with distinguished guest artists in London’s top venues. The wide range of faculties such as brass, composition, historical performance, keyboard, percussion and string, mean that students are free to pursue their passions and majors. 


Royal Academy of Music

The academy provides pre-professional, undergraduate and postgraduate musical training of the highest national and international standards. Having trained versatile and resourceful musicians since 1822, students have gone on to make waves in the industry with skills that are suitable for the ever-changing profession. Whilst other universities harp on great traditions, the Royal Academy of Music choose to inspire students with its continuity in cutting-edge work, commitment and enterprising study programmes that are complemented by fine teachers and distinguished alumni. As Britain’s oldest conservatoire, the academy gives students unlimited opportunities through concert performances, master classes and research. 


University of Bristol

The university’s department of music provides an inspiring environment for the study of music with a wide range of courses and study options. Students benefit from individual tutorials as well as small-group teaching, seminars and lectures, delivered by expert staff, all of whom are practicing musicians or composers. The department has an active research profile in some specialist fields, such as western liturgical chant, musical politics and electroacoustics and music from the Middle East. Students gain an excellent foundation and technical grounding, and have the option of combining the course with other disciplines like language.  If you wish to have a comprehensive music education, the University of Bristol is definitely a cut above the rest.


Interested in searching for more music courses and considering other universities? Look them up here.



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