Best Music Schools in Washington

If location is one of the factors you are taking into heavy consideration when choosing a music school, know that there has never been a better time to live in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). The city of Seattle is growing at a rate of 1,000 in 2017-2018 and many consider it what of the best cities in the World – not just the US. On top of that, Washington State is home to some of the best music schools in the country. If the PNW is something that deters you from choosing a school here, consider this article of the pros and cons of living in Seattle.

Every school on this list has an array of different ensembles, and each has it’s own take on courses provided for students interested in composition, performance, music education, and theory and history.

School of Music – University of Washington

School of Music - University of Washinton
School of Music – University of Washinton

Student Population 45,591 Undergraduate Population 30,933
Student to Faculty population 15:1 Type 4-year, Public
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Bacheleors, Masters

Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $12,397 Tuition 2016-2017 $10,753
3 Year Tuition Change -$1,644 Average Grant Money Received $13,126
Average Student Loan Aid Received $6,066 Retention Rate (Full-time) 94%
Overall Graduation Rate 84%

The University of Washington has great retention and graduation rates, and one of the big reasons is the location. Seattle is an amazing city and is growing at a rate of 1,000 new residents every single week! On top of this, you’ll find a mesmorizing campus, and it really is something to marvel at when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

The school has multiple famous alumni that are musicians like J.D. Parran, and the city of Seattle of itself has a vibrant music scene and impressive resume of musicians like Jimmy Hendrix. It is also constantly putting on shows for the public and being featured in the Seattle Times

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Cornish College of the Arts

Cornish College of the Arts
Cornish College of the Arts

Student Population 674 Undergraduate Population 674
Student to Faculty population 7:1 Type 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Bacheleors Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $33,950 Tuition 2016-2017 $38,820
3 Year Tuition Change $4,870 Average Grant Money Received $18,394
Average Student Loan Aid Received $9,078 Retention Rate (Full-time) 74%
Overall Graduation Rate 48%%

The Cornish College of the Arts is a school dedicated to the arts (and has an impressive lineup of famous alumni like Brendan Fraser, and it is evident right from the get go. When finding information about the school one of the first things they ask you to do is fill out a form that lets them get to know you better as well as some of your current music capabilities and future goals.

It is a school that advocates freedom and creativity in music. The teachers are all artists themselves, so they can relate to you in this aspect. You’ll get one on one trainging and it will feel like more than a class.

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Northwest University

Northwest University
Northwest University

Student Population 1,226 Undergraduate Population 938
Student to Faculty population 10:1 Type 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Associates, Bacheleors, Masters Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Accredidation Status Accredited Tuition 2013-2014 $25,934
Tuition 2016-2017 $29,200
3 Year Tuition Change +$3,266 Average Grant Money Received $16,775
Average Student Loan Aid Received $10,173 Retention Rate (Full-time) 76%
Overall Graduation Rate 56%

Northwest University is a Christian School and something that it offers that the other schools on this list do not is studying music from Christian worldview. The school also has produced a few famous alumni like Christian star Natalie Grant

If you want options in terms of what to study, then you have a great option in Northwest University where you can choose to study the classics or something more modern. NU can create opportunities for a career in Seattle’s rich musical scene and beyond.

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University of Puget Sound

University of Puget Sound
University of Puget Sound

Student Population 1,226 Undergraduate Population 938
Student to Faculty population 10:1 Type 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Associates, Bacheleors, Masters Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $25,934 Tuition 2016-2017 $29,200
3 Year Tuition Change +$3,266 Average Grant Money Received $16,775
Average Student Loan Aid Received $10,173 Retention Rate (Full-time) 76%
Overall Graduation Rate 56%

It’s always a good sign when your music school actually has a day dedicated to music. They are known for things like this as well as having a very progressive sustainability program. The location is also a huge plus because it is in Seattle, but in an area that is not too busy or overcrowded (as the traffic in Seattle can be pretty bad

The school offers music scholarships on the basis of an audition, so if you are feeling confident, you might want to check it out!

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Western Washington University

Western Washington University
Western Washington University

Student Population 15,574 Undergraduate Population 14,592
Student to Faculty population 18:1 Type 4-year, Public
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Bacheleors, Masters Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $8,863 Tuition 2016-2017 $7,903
3 Year Tuition Change -$960 Average Grant Money Received $6,732
Average Student Loan Aid Received $5,998 Retention Rate (Full-time) 82%
Overall Graduation Rate 69%

Located about an hour north of Seattle in Bellingham, WA is Western Washington University. The University offers a straightforward cirriculum and has one general and five professional undergraduate programs.

Performance, history & literature, composition, and music literature are some of the undergraduate programs that you can choose from and there is a heavy focus on each of these individual major areas.

Like most other music schools, one of the requirements is an audition, so if you are considering, be sure to practice your rendition before hand.

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Whitman University

Whitman College
Whitman College

Student Population 1,493 Undergraduate Population 1,493
Student to Faculty population 9:1 Type 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Degrees Awarded Bacheleors Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $43,500 Tuition 2016-2017 $47,862
3 Year Tuition Change +$4,362 Average Grant Money Received $25,630
Average Student Loan Aid Received $5,471 Retention Rate (Full-time) 94%
Overall Graduation Rate 88%

If you are looking for a more classical approach to music, then Whitman University is one of your better options. The music college focuses on the arts side of things.

Whitman’s music department has three different types of paths. Students on the path to complete performance track, jazz track, or standard degree will end their senior year with a recital. Students on the music history or music theory track will have to write a senior thesis, and students on the composition track will be expected to complete a senior project (which will be related to their original compositions).

The focus on advanced work in performance, research, and composition results in students often being placed world renowned graduate programs.

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Shoreline Community College

Shoreline Community College
Shoreline Community College

Student Population 5,805 Undergraduate Population 5,805
Student to Faculty population 16:1 Type 2-year, Public
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Associates Campus Setting Suburb: Large
Campus Housing No Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $3,987 Tuition 2016-2017 $3,735
3 Year Tuition Change -$252 Average Grant Money Received $5,371
Average Student Loan Aid Received $4,243 Retention Rate (Full-time) 66%
Overall Graduation Rate 42%

Want to save money? Community colleges offer an affordable solution to completing your goals. And when it comes to community colleges and music education, Shoreline Community College is at the top.

It has the largest faculty group of any community College in Washington State and offers a full range of music studies. The school seperates in programs into two main categories to choose from: Music and Music Technology.

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Washington State University

Washington State University
Washington State University

Student Population 30,142 Undergraduate Population 24,904
Student to Faculty population 15:1 Type 4-year, Public
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Bacheleors, Masters Campus Setting Town: Distant
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $12,327 Tuition 2016-2017 $11,041
3 Year Tuition Change -$1,286 Average Grant Money Received $9,368
Average Student Loan Aid Received $6,999 Retention Rate (Full-time) 79%
Overall Graduation Rate 67%

The department of music at WSU is one of the more longstanding programs in the State as it started in the very beginning of the 20th century in 1901. They have pretty much had international renowned faculty members since that time.

Another bright spot in their cirriculum is the Jazz studies program. They were recognized as a top school in the field in March of 2017 by the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

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Central Washington University

Central Washington University
Central Washington University

Student Population 11,971 Undergraduate Population 11,119
Student to Faculty population 20:1 Type 4-year, Public
Degrees Awarded Certificates, Bacheleors, Masters Campus Setting Town: Distant
Campus Housing Yes Accredidation Status Accredited
Tuition 2013-2014 $8,976 Tuition 2016-2017 $7,719
3 Year Tuition Change -$1,257 Average Grant Money Received $7,749
Average Student Loan Aid Received $5,664 Retention Rate (Full-time) 76%
Overall Graduation Rate 52%
CWU has one of the largest marching bands in the PNW, as well as a rich history in this field, but that’s not all the music school is known for.

The school has a mission within the community to achieve “the highest standards of musical knowledge, performance and teaching.” One of the highlights is their affinity towards music education. The college is a leader in K-12 music education, however the school promises to treat each degree in every one of their programs with equal value – which to us sounds like this school is the “Mom” of Washington music schools.

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