UK’s Top Music Institutions – Which One Should You Choose?

Anyone who has ever looked at a list with the best music institutions in the world, has noticed just how many of these universities are from the UK. Of course, this is an amazing piece of news for anyone looking to study abroad and mainly relying on English as the main language. But did you ever wonder how come there were so many such institutions in one country, and high-performing ones to top it all. To an untrained eye, it would make sense to talk about a London Conservatoire, just like you talk about the Paris Conservatoire. Well, we are here to enlighten you. Here we go!


Royal Academy of London

Founded in 1822, this is one of the world’s leading conservatoires. Students of more than 50 nationalities make up the community on campus. They have the possibility to study in undergraduate and postgraduate programs in instrumental performance, opera, musical theater, composition, and jazz.
The resources the institution places at the disposal of the students are impressive. The museum of the Academy alone has a Stradivarius violin and a collection of original manuscripts by Mendelssohn, Liszt, Brahms, and Purcell. To this we add events organized by and for the students, along with prestigious music awards. All in all, studying here introduces the student in a community he would not have access to otherwise.

Royal College of Music

If you ever saw the Royal College of Music and thought it was another name for the Royal Academy of Music, know that you were wrong. These are two different institutions. This conservatoire was founded in 1882 and offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs. Students can study music theory and history, performance, conducting and composition. The professors here are exceptional and there are a lot of performance opportunities. What else could you wish for when getting ready for a life on the stage.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Another institution founded in the 19th century, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama is an independent music institution. And a great one, if we may add. Around 900 students attend classes here, 40% of which are outside of the UK. A novel program you can find here is music therapy. Therefore, if your interest in music is not only limited to performance, conducting and composition, this is a nice application to study in one of the best music institutions in the world.

Royal Northern College of Music

Royal Northern College of Music

Royal Northern College of Music

And we are back to the Royal colleges with this institution. As you might expect, it too was founded in 1858, meaning that late 19th century students actually had pretty much the same choice of conservatoires you have today. This school is situated in Manchester and it is associated with the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music. There are six main areas of specialization for students interested in studying here. These are: the schools of composition, school of keyboard studies, school of strings, school of vocal studies, school of wind, brass and percussion, and popular music. A school of conducting is available within its Graduate School.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Glasgow Educational Association was founded in 1845 and it is one of the oldest and most prestigious music institutions in the UK. The institution ranked third in the world in 2017 and it is now preparing students in dance, drama, production, and music. What is more, students have access to around 65 private practice rooms, of which 11 are reserved for pianists, and 8 are reserved for rehearsal and coaching rooms.

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

If you are looking for a high-profile institution, with some of the most famous alumni, then know that Anthony Hopkins studied here and that he also has a center dedicated to him on the premises. There are undergraduate degrees in music, stage management, theater design, and acting. And more numerous postgraduate programs in music, musical theater, music performance, conducting, choral conducting, music performance and others. The institution is located in Cardiff, Wales.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

The institution was founded in 1886 as the Birmingham School of Music. As of 2003, around 600 postgraduate and undergraduate students attend programs such as composition, chamber music, orchestral playing, jazz, music technology, solo performance. The professors here are top notch, there is a plethora of visiting prestigious tutors, and the professor-student ratio is at an average of one member of staff for every enrolled student.

Leeds College of Music

This is a newer institution, if you could say that about a school of music that was founded in 1965 and it became the City of Leeds College of Music in 1971. The main focus here is on jazz, as this was the main program the school was founded for. There is a very long list of notable alumni, all of them with brilliant careers as composers, pianists, saxophonists, trumpeters, singers and songwriters, guitarists, and producers to only name a few.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

The Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is the newest institution on our list. It was founded in 2005 when the Trinity College of Music and the Laban Dance center merged. Over 900 students attend undergraduate and postgraduate programs here. Although this was a new institution, it ranked 8th in a list of 71 world music institutions.

Probably one reason why the music institutions in the UK are so numerous and appreciated by international students has something to do with accessibility, apart from prestige. If you come from a foreign country where the national curricula did not include other languages apart from English, would it not make sense to be more insistent about studying in the UK? Surely, the fact that these are some of the best music schools in the world weighs heavily in the decision, but being able to manage with courses, talking to professors, to other students and in your everyday life must be easier when the language you have to do it in is English.

One Response

  1. Robin Byford 7th August 2018