Which Music Schools Are Located in Chicago?

Learn about music schools in Chicago, Illinois. Get information about degrees available, admissions and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Music degrees can be earned at many schools in the Chicago area. Here you can learn more about different schools where you can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees in music-related programs.

What You Need to Know

Chicago has multiple colleges and universities that offer degree programs in music-related concentrations, such as vocal performance, jazz studies and music composition. Programs are available at the 2-year, 4-year and graduate levels and result in an Associate in Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts. A Bachelor of Music program is also offered at one of these schools. Degrees can be granted by community colleges, private colleges or public universities. Courses you might take include music theory, composition, orchestration and music technology.

You could learn how to compose film scores, perform with an ensemble or develop your singing voice. Your education could also include participation in recitals or a hands-on learning experience in an actual studio. Choose how you can best prepare for a career in music if you live or wish to study in Chicago by reviewing the following schools and programs.

Music Associate Degree Programs in the Chicago, Illinois, Area

Harold Washington College

The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) feature a variety of associate degree programs at campuses throughout the city including a music performance program at the Harold Washington College located downtown in the Loop. Harold Washington College offers full or part-time enrollment, as well as evening classes. The Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) music performance concentration does not meet general studies transfer requirements for public Illinois 4-year baccalaureate programs. The AFA in music performance is also available at CCC's Wilbur Wright campus located on the northwest side of the city.

  • Program Name: Associate in Fine Arts in Music Performance
  • Program Length: 2 years (68 credit hours)
  • Tuition and Fees: $3,506 per year for in-district; $8,126 per year for in-state; $11,906 per year for out-of-state (2015-2016)
  • School Type: 2-year, public; about 9,400 (all undergraduate)

Bachelor's Degree Programs in the Chicago, Illinois, Area

Columbia College Chicago

Located in downtown Chicago in the South Loop, Columbia College Chicago is a private media and arts school. The college offers a variety of undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (BA)/Bachelor of Music (BM) programs through the School of Fine and Performing Arts. In the composition concentration, you can study topics such as counterpoint, orchestration and composing for film. The contemporary, urban and popular music concentration is geared for instrumentalists, singers and songwriters, with course topics such as music technology, music theory and the business of popular music.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music
  • Field of Study Options: Composition, contemporary, urban and popular music, instrumental jazz or vocal performance
  • Program Length: 4 years (full-time)
  • Tuition and Fees: $24,344 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Specific high school courses required for advanced placement courses
  • Requirements: Music theory assessment test, including chord identification, aural skills, keyboarding and guitar
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; about 9,400 students (about 9,000 undergraduate)

Northeastern Illinois University

Located in a residential section of northwest Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) is a public university. The Department of Music offers bachelor's degree programs for vocalists or instrumentalists. For admission, you are required to audition with music department faculty. NEIU's Salme Harju Steinberg Fine Arts Center features piano classrooms, computers and electronic music studios, as well as a 170-seat recital hall.

  • Program name: Bachelor of Arts in Performance
  • Field of Study Options: Instrument or vocal
  • Program Length: 4 years (full-time)
  • Tuition and Fees: $9,351 per year for in-state, $17,079 per year for out-of-state (2015-2016)
  • Requirements: University acceptance, followed by audition with music department
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 10,300 students (about 8,400 undergraduate)

University of Illinois at Chicago

In the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) Bachelor of Arts in Music program, you can choose from programs that cover vocal and piano performance, orchestra and band instruments. The BA program, offered through the Department of Theatre and Music in the College of Architecture and the Arts, includes courses in music theory, performance, aural and keyboard orchestration, composition and ensemble participation. Private study is also available in piano, voice or instrumentation.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Concentrations: Basic, performance, jazz studies
  • Program Length: 4 years (full-time)
  • Tuition and Fees: $13,664 per year for in-state, $26,520 per year for-out of-state students (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Performance audition required for voice, brass, woodwinds or guitar
  • Requirements: College grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 required for all transfer applicants
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 28,000 students (16,700 undergraduate)

Master's Degree Programs in the Chicago, Illinois, Area

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Music Composition for the Screen features courses in film scoring and music composition. In this graduate program, you'll complete a thesis project and gain internship experience. For your final semester, you will travel to Los Angeles, California, to participate in a film scoring practicum experience at a motion picture studio.

  • Program Name: Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition for the Screen
  • Program Length: Five semesters (full-time)
  • Tuition and Fees: $25,388 per year (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Self-assessment essay, two letters of recommendation, resume, transcripts and work sample
  • Requirements: Cumulative GPA of 3.0, audition required for scholarship applicants
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; about 9,400 students (about 400 graduates)

Northeastern Illinois University

At NEIU, you can pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Music Pedagogy with course topics including music research, women in music as well as form and analysis. In this 2-year graduate program, you're required to participate in three semesters of ensemble, followed by one semester working on a thesis or recital project. You will have the option to enroll in elective courses on topics such as the music of Beethoven or Stravinsky, as well as seminars in Baroque or classical period music.

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in Applied Music Pedagogy
  • Program Length: 2 years (full-time)
  • Tuition and Fees: $7,187 per year for in-state; $13,091 per year for out-of-state (2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree, application with statement of goals/objectives
  • Requirements: Three semesters ensemble participation, one semester thesis project
  • School Type: 4-year, public; about 10,300 students (about 1,900 undergraduate)

This article focuses on several schools in the Chicago area where you can earn a music degree at a variety of levels - associate's, bachelor's, and master's - along with different concentrations and study options that you can choose from.

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:

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