Which Schools Have Music Programs in Los Angeles?

Learn about music programs in the Los Angeles, California, area. See degree and specialization options, program requirements, and get career and salary information for the region. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Would you like to take your passion for music to the next level? Whether you are interested in vocal or instrumental, theory or composition, there are a multitude of ways to turn your passion for music into a rewarding career. These following schools, located in California, offer endless options for beginning or furthering your musical education.

What You Need to Know

Los Angeles students interested in pursuing a career in music may choose to complete a bachelor's or a master's degree program from one of a number of public or private, two- or four-year schools in the area. Music programs include not only vocal and instrumental performance but also composition and music education tracks. Many bachelor's degree programs require a recital or senior project completed before graduation; master's degree programs mandate a thesis. Students must hold a bachelor's degree in order to apply to a graduate degree program in music.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in the Los Angeles Area

California State University - Los Angeles

Each concentration has its own admission requirements. For example, the composition option requires you to submit a composition portfolio, and auditions are required in the jazz studies and keyboard, instrumental and vocal performance options. Once admitted into the music bachelor's programs, you must complete placement tests that gauge your music theory knowledge and keyboard skills. The results are used to recommend which courses you should take.

Regardless of which concentration you choose, you can expect to learn about music theory, music history and literature. If you enroll in the commercial music program, you can choose from 3 tracks: composition and arranging, performance and music technology. This school also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music if you wish to pursue an expansive music education. The BA program offers 3 options: general, choral teaching and instrumental teaching. All BA and BM programs require either a recital, ensemble performance or senior project.

  • Program: Bachelor of Music
  • Specialization Area: Composition, jazz studies, vocal performance, keyboard performance, instrumental performance, music education, commercial music
  • Program Length: 4 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: In-state $6,355 per year, out-of-state $17,515 per year (as of the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Admission Requirements: Audition or portfolio
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 20,680 undergraduates and 3,800 graduates

University of Southern California

As a prospective undergraduate, you only apply to 1 program but may include a written request for a second choice. Each program has specific admission requirements, such as resume, repertoire lists, prescreen recordings, sheet music and auditions. This school also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music, a BA in Choral Music and a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Music Industry.

  • Program: Bachelor of Music
  • Specialization Area: Bassoon, clarinet, classical guitar, double bass, flute, French horn, harp, oboe, organ, percussion, piano, popular music, saxophone, studio guitar, trombone, trumpet, tuba, viola, violin, violoncello, vocal arts, composition, jazz studies
  • Program Length: 4 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $50,277 per year (2015-2016)
  • Admission Requirements: Resume, repertoire list, audition, varying requirements for each specialization
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; about 18,700 undergraduates and 24,000 graduates

California State University - Long Beach

The music education program includes 2 tracks: instrumental music and choral-vocal music. In all of the performance area specialties, you must show satisfactory progression of your abilities throughout the program. Before you can advance to the upper-level courses, you must pass a screening exam in your applied area. Additionally, all music majors must pass a piano proficiency exam and participate in a senior recital, thesis or senior project. A Bachelor of Arts in Music program is also available, and it requires you to complete 120 credits.

  • Program: Bachelor of Music
  • Specialization Area: Performance, composition and history & literature information; instrumental music; choral-vocal music; performance; composition; history and literature; music education
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition and Fees: $6,452 for in-state tuition, $17,612 for out-of-state tuition (as of the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Admission Requirements: Audition, theory placement test
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 31,640 undergraduates and 5,200 graduates

Master's Degree Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Academy for Jewish Religion - California

This Cantorial School's program covers both traditional and modern Jewish music in order to prepare you to become a cantor and meet the needs of modern Jewish communities. The first step in this school's admission process is meeting with the Director of Admissions before you apply. The curriculum teaches Judaica, chaplaincy, Repertoire and Nusach, among other Jewish studies. A thesis is required, and you're ordained as a Hazzan and Teacher in Israel upon graduation.

  • Program: Master of Jewish Sacred Music
  • Program Length: 5 years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $24,300 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • Admission Requirements: Jewish status, interview, essays, personal recommendations, psychological evaluation, Hebrew placement test
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; about 65 graduates

California State University - Los Angeles

Each specialization area has its own admission criteria, which may include an audition, portfolio or an academic background in music education. The music education specialization offers tracks in choral, instrumental and general music. Performance offers concentrations in instrumental, keyboard and vocal. You can also earn a Master of Arts degree in music, which provides a more flexible curriculum that you can customize toward your career goals.

  • Program: Master of Music
  • Specialization Area: Afro Latin music, collaborative piano, commercial music, composition, conducting, music education, performance
  • Program Length: 3 quarters, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: In-state $7,621 and out-of-state $16,549 per year (as of the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • Admission Requirements: Placement tests in music theory and history, portfolio and/or audition
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 20,680 undergraduates and nearly 4,000 graduates

University of Southern California

In the performance-focused master's programs, you may be required to send in prescreen recordings, compositions or auditions when applying. GRE scores are required if you're applying to the music education or early music master's program. As a student in a performance-focused specialization area, you receive individualized training, and you also participate in recitals. The MM in Music Education program is appropriate if you want to train for advanced positions in music education. USC also offers a 13-month Master of Arts in Teaching Music, which is designed for musicians who want to teach music. Additionally, you can earn a Master of Arts in Early Music Performance. This program's curriculum includes customized instruction on a historical instrument or vocals and requires a thesis.

  • Program: Master of Music
  • Specialization Area: Music education, choral music, classical guitar, composition, jazz studies, keyboard collaborative arts, keyboard studies, organ studies, strings, studio/jazz guitar, vocal arts (classical voice/opera), winds and percussion
  • Program Length: 2 years, full-time
  • Tuition & Fees: $40,670 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • Admission Requirements: Resume, repertoire list, letters of recommendation, varying requirements for each specialization
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; about 18,700 undergraduates and 24,000 graduates

The University of California, California State University - Los Angeles, California State University - Long Beach, and Academy for Jewish Religion all offer a wide variety of degrees in music. Whether you would like to become a professional composer, performer, or educator, these California schools offer both bachelor's and master's degree programs in the music field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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