Distinguishing Between Our Music Programs

Both Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music offer music programs that are among the best in the world, each offering small classroom sizes and mentorship with renowned faculty. In terms of quality and prestige, there is no wrong choice. However, there are some important distinctions to keep in mind.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee Berklee College of Music
Focus on classical music styles and traditional music training. Focus on contemporary, popular, and jazz music.

Undergraduate majors in performance and composition.

Undergraduate majors span all aspects of the music industry, including production, engineering, music business, performance, composition, and others.
Entering students apply directly to their desired major and instrument, often to study with a particular faculty member. Entering students apply to the college with their principal instrument, and begin their studies without declaring a major.
The curriculum focuses on performance and developing musicianship and creativity on the student’s primary instrument. There is opportunity for multidisciplinary work in theater and dance. Double majors or minors are not permitted at this time. The curriculum encourages interdisciplinary study. Double majors and minors are permitted, and Berklee students majoring in professional music shape their own course of study.
On admittance, all students are accepted into the studio of a particular faculty member. All students receive one-hour weekly lessons and maintain that relationship with their teacher throughout the degree. Students may request to change private teachers once during the course of their program. All students are admitted to the college with a principal instrument and must complete two years of study on that instrument regardless of major. Students are assigned a private instructor for their first semester. After that, students are free to select their instructor and are encouraged to work with many different private teachers.
Offers ensemble opportunities within a wide variety of classical-contemporary music, including symphony orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber music, string orchestra, new music ensembles, theater and opera pit orchestra, fully-staged operas, large mixed chorale, women's chorus, and more. Offers ensemble opportunities in a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, rock, country, funk, gospel, Latin, fusion, avant-garde, and more.
Graduate degrees in performance, composition, choral and orchestral conducting, and music education. Graduate degrees in performance (global jazz or production concentration); music therapy; global entertainment and music business; music production, technology, and innovation; and scoring for film, television, and video games.

Please be aware that not all differences are entirely clear-cut. For example, while the conservatory emphasizes classical music training and the college focuses on the study of contemporary music, the college can be a great place for classical musicians, and the conservatory the right home for contemporary performers.

Students trying to decide which to apply to or considering applying to both are strongly encouraged to explore each school’s programs in depth to determine which is the best fit. Please encourage students to review the following resources to get started: