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Top Music Schools in Canada 2023

Music is a broad course of study that has many theoretical and practical aspects. The broadness of this field extends to the fact that one can choose to specialize in more than one area. For instance, music conduction, songwriting, music production, music composition, instrumentalist, and more. Amazingly, you can have the right blend of any of those qualities from one of the best music schools in Canada.

Do you aspire in taking a music program in Canada? Below is a compilation of the top 15 music schools in Canada. The ranking below is based on previous years’ analysis of ranking bodies like Times Higher Education and students’ review, and more.


1. University of Toronto

The first university in the category of Canada best music schools is the University of Toronto. Well known as the largest university in Canada, the U of T has continuously ranked among the top 20 universities across the globe for its quality undergraduate and graduate programs.

Due to its position as one of the top music production schools established in Canada, the U of T Faculty of Music offer students quality music training and instructions. The quality teaching includes training via the Canadian Opera, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and some other local arts organizations. As one of the best music schools in Canada, the U of T offers small classes that help students work individually for personal excellence.

Also, the University of Toronto music program provides students with a wide range of courses in core aspects of music like education, theory, history, world music, and more. Surprisingly, the cost of studying music at U of T is cheaper, compared to most American schools.


2. University of British Columbia

The music program at the University of British Columbia is designed to meet up the needs of professional music production. Making up the list as one of the best music schools in Canada, students who study music at the University of British Columbia enjoy flexible yet broad music education, which does not exclude private lessons on their choice of instrument.

Upon admission into this university, students are made to follow one of the four music streams, which are:

  • General Studies
  • Advanced Performance
  • Scholarship
  • Composition

It is good to understand that each of the streams of UBC’s music program includes:

  • Music scholarship
  • Four years of private lessons (voice or instrument)
  • Four years of ensemble performance
  • Non-music electives

Aside from these, students also enjoy the University of British Columbia’s School of Music facilities offering top-notch performance facilities like the Chan Centre for Performing Arts (named one of the World’s greatest concert halls) and the Gessler Multimedia Teaching Studio.


3. McGill University

Another university in Canada making the list is McGill University. At McGill University, the primary concentration in the faculty of music is on developing music as an integral part of society.

McGill University takes music as a product of culture and western civilization, making it of due consideration to other humanistic disciplines.

In regard to the program structure, it becomes evident that a degree in music at this academic institution is an excellent way to prepare for a professional music career. The program structure and courses include:

  • Western Musical Traditions
  • Musicianship Training
  • Musicianship (Keyboard)
  • Music Theory Fundamentals.


4. McMaster University

McMaster University is another university offering music programs in Canada. The music program at McMaster University allows students to explore and discover the exciting aspects of music. Also, it leads to extensive research on how music is perceived in the human brain and how it interacts with other parts of intellectual development.

During the four years of studying music in this institution, students are given a well-detailed grounding in music instruction, which are; general musicianship, performance, theory, and history. This further helps students to focus on their distinguished areas of interest like education, music, theory, or history.

The courses embedded in the music program structure are, but not limited to:

  • Classical Guitar Methods
  • Psychology of Music
  • Elementary Music Education
  • Orchestration and Arranging
  • Brass Methods
  • Woodwind Methods


5. University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is another academic institution in Canada offering a robust, creative, and unique music program. Its undergraduate music program is the right choice for students who want to explore outstandingly in music. The university helps students specialize in music history, music theory, music composition, and more.

Also, while studying music at the University of Alberta, students choose to select either performance or academic music courses from a list of specified options. This list includes study abroad programs and outreach courses.


6. Western University

western university

Next on the list is the University of Western Ontario which is also known as Western University. At Western University, it becomes easy for students to develop a strong and deeply rooted academic foundation in music. This further makes it easy for them to become professionals in areas like general musicianship, music history and theory, music education, psychology, and music methodology.

Also, the music programs at Western University makes it possible for students to be skilled in not less than eight musical instruments. With the aid of the program structure from this top university in Canada, students are also trained to be skilled professionals in popular music pedagogies, choral and instrumental conducting, and more.

The courses offered in the department of music at Western University emphasizes on:

  • Music History: C.900 To C.1750
  • Applied Principal Instrument
  • Les Choristes
  • Western Singers
  • Accompanying
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Early Music Ensemble
  • Symphonic Band
  • Wind Ensemble
  • St Cecilia Singers
  • Instrumental Ensemble Pedagogy


7. University of Waterloo

Offering one of the best music programs in Canada, the music programs at the University of Waterloo is designed with colossal flexibility to help students meet up with their career requirements.

The institution offer classes on the relationship between technology, peace, gender, and music. This helps to balance students’ study of music theory, performance, and music history and methodology.


Interestingly, University of Waterloo also offers vocal lessons and instructional classes in over 20 music instruments. This development is necessary as it has helped students unpack the psychology of music and delve into jazz, pop, film scores, and opera.


8. University of Ottawa

The School of Music at the University of Ottawa remains one of the prestigious schools in Canada. The School of Music is also an ideal place where students can nurture their passion for music and its related components for a successful musical career.

The excellent relationship between this institution and other renowned institutions in Canada is applauding. The University of Ottawa School Of Music maintains a cordial relationship with institutions like the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre (NAC). Also, the University of Ottawa boasts of having one of the top music programs in Canada and internationally recognized professors and top-notch music facilities.


9. University of Calgary

The music program at the University of Calgary is duly designed for students who love music and want to step further to become professional musicians. The program structure is made to enhance students’ understanding of music as a form of art. They learn by receiving instructions in music composition, music theory and history, ensemble performance, and literature.

In learning and studying music at the University of Calgary, students will also acquire relevant skills to enhance their music careers. Some of these skills are research and analytical capabilities, creative thinking, theoretical musical training, verbal and written communication skills, and practical musical training.

Upon graduation, students can take up job positions in music and beyond, like digital arts, arts administration, media studies, and many more. The acquired knowledge is also relevant for other professional degrees and graduate studies, as graduates so desire.


10. Dalhousie University

Next on the list is Dalhousie University. While studying music at this academic institution, students do not only learn to perform music; they are trained to be experts in creating and listening to music. This allows students to take many musical courses ranging from small seminars to tete-â-tete studio instruction and large lectures.

One of the critical elements of the music program at Dalhousie University is the musical performance by students in the Fountain School of Performing Arts. This performance, alongside weekly studio sessions and lessons in piano, voice, organ, orchestra, and many more, are all supported and encouraged by the faculty.


11. Carleton University

Regardless of what you are training and hoping to become in the field of music, Carleton University remains one of the best music schools in Canada, out of which you can choose from. Its music program is designed to provide students with solid academic standing and vast musical instruments knowledge.

The music program at Carleton University emphasizes on musical aspects like:

  • History and analysis of European classical music
  • The practice of music from the Middle Ages to the present
  • Computer music
  • Canadian music
  • Music composition
  • Gender studies
  • Jazz, Ethnomusicology and popular music

It would also interest you to know that Carleton University is the only music school in Canada, offering a performance program in carillon studies.


12. Concordia University

Coming next on the list is Concordia University. The music program at Concordia University comprises of a blend of traditional music as well as church music.

While studying at this institution, students are taught music by practicing church and standard musicians. This process makes it easy for them to participate in vocal choirs, handbell choirs, band, orchestra, organ performances, and many more.

In addition to that, Concordia University indeed proves to be one of the best music schools in Canada as it makes experienced tutors available to students. This help students improve their musical abilities in songwriting, arranging, music theory and history, organ and choral literature, aural skills as well as music and instrumental conducting.


13. Queen’s University

Queen’s University’s music program has consistently promoted academic excellence via scholarship and cross-disciplinary collaborations making it one of the best Canadian institution to study music.

Furthermore, Queen’s University offers flexible music courses that help students focus on more musical study areas like ethnomusicology, music theory and composition, music education, and more. Also, the music facilities at the Queen’s University include conducive conference and seminar halls, state-of-the-art studios, theatres, workshops as well as multimedia spaces.


14. University of Manitoba

Named the Desautels Faculty of Music, the University of Manitoba’s school of music remains one of the reputable schools in Canada. Studying music in the school is also an advantage to students as it offers them a wide range of opportunities for the study and performance of music.

One of the distinguishing factors that make the Desautels Faculty of Music a top music school in Canada is the level of expertise placed alongside teaching students’ passion. This factor has continually breed undergraduates into experienced musicians.


15. University of Saskatchewan

Last on the list is the Department of Music at University of Saskatchewan, one of the oldest in Western Canada and in one of the most beautiful campus settings across the nation. The music program at this institution has a series of ensemble participation alongside studio lessons.

The Department of Music offers various music degrees ranging from B.Mus. (Honours Performance and Individualized streams, as well as Music Education with Honours), a B.A. (Major in Music), as well as the M.Mus. and M.A. degrees in close affiliation with three Colleges: Arts and Science, Education, and Graduate Studies and Research.

Its faculty, students, and ensembles have also been recognized both nationally and internationally.