The Cost of College for a Career in Music: The Cost of Music Schools

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The cost of college for a student interested in a career in music can be much more than what any other students pay. This is true not just at elite private music colleges like Juillard, but at all musical institutions. For some students, the top music colleges can be quite affordable. This is because of the large number of fellowships and colleges available.

College costs for music students extend beyond just tuition. Music students have a number of extra costs, which are generally required to succeed. Costs range from the obvious- instrument purchase and maintenance- to the obscure: required fees at some schools run into the thousands of dollars. At the Berkelee College of Music, for instance, students pay $610 per semester plus $2985 the first year for a specially configured laptop.

Students attending non-music colleges often must pay extra fees to major in music. These fees cover the cost of instruction, which can be expensive, as well as tutoring. Though students are generally entitled to some tutoring at music colleges, they may have to pay to gain extra tutoring; other students may contract a private tutor outside of the school. This is particularly important for students entering school without a strong background in music.

Tuition At Top Music Schools

This section lists the costs of some top colleges, for a career in music.

  • Juillard School. Tuition at Juillard is $32,180 per year, while books, supplies, and personal expenses are estimated at $4,210. Students living in dorms pay $12,280 for a double, bringing the total cost per year to $48,670.
  • Eastman School of Music: $40,542 per year in tuition alone, plus $2150 per year in estimated expenses. Room and board is $11830.
  • Oberlin Conservatory: same as regular cost, with $41,577 for tuition, $11,010 for room and board, and $1800 in other expenses.
  • Jacobs School of Music. Total yearly cost, including fees, for Indiana state residents: $21,189; for out-of-state students: $38,736. This does not include room and board.
  • Berklee School of Music. Tuition: $35,505 per year. Fees, books, and supplies: $1,690 per year. Room and board: $15,830/year.

Budgeting for College

Though many college students help pay for their schooling by working during the semester, doing so is difficult as a music student. Music students are typically expected to practice on their own for hours each day, in addition to classes. Most music students are also members of ensembles and other music groups, which take up even more time. Make sure to consider this when budgeting for expenses, as it will be difficult to earn money during the school year.

Students looking to save money might consider attending an accredited online music program, which can be less expensive than attending a physical school.


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