Best Music Schools to Study Clarinet

There are many tutorials and online classes that one can enroll in to learn how to play the clarinet, but a good number of beginners prefer the traditional schools because they get to horn their skills better through experience and end up with professional certification.

Once the idea of horning your career by playing your most admired musical instrument pops up in your head there is no going back, and as such you will begin to search for the best online and physical schools that will help you achieve your dream. There are 8 grades that one must pass through as they learn how to play the clarinet thus what you now need is a teacher and a good beginner clarinet.

So to make your journey a success, we have compiled a list of the best music schools that you can join to learn how to play the clarinet among other factors that you must consider, read on.

What Should Clarinet Students look for in a college?

When it comes to choosing a college that will help shape a student’s clarinet career, some of the important things to look at are

  • The quality of programs offered and how the school interacts with the student as they help each individual student shape their future.
  • Students also need to ensure that the college has a reputation that precedes it and offers well-resourced college programs.
  • The student should also be able to establish whether the music department has the relevant expertise and tutors who are well versed in the art of clarinet performance.
  • One also needs to establish whether the music department has a good collection of clarinet resources that will enable them to expand their scope as regards playing the clarinets.
  • What about the school’s library does it have a good collection of clarinet library resources.
  • Another indicator of a good clarinet college, are the annual performances and events where colleges have been found to boast of their outstanding faculties and by extension their outstanding students when it comes to playing the various musical instruments.
  • Students should also check to find out if there are any reputable clarinetist’s local orchestras or musical organizations that visit the school to offer clarinet lessons.

It is important to remember that clarinet students can only bring out the best of themselves in an environment that also inspires them. Some schools are known to match students to the right programs but this also depends on the personality of the student, and their aspirations.

How We Chose the Best Schools to Study Clarinet?

When it comes to choosing the best school to study clarinets students should first look at the quality and performance of the music department.

They will then check whether the college has the relevant expertise in clarinet study and performance. What’s more, schools that have an established music program afford students the opportunity to interact with famous instructors and performers.

Reviews of the Best Music Schools to Study Clarinet

Comparison Table

Institution No. of Instructors Tuition Fees
Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University University has two instructors Full time undergraduates- $39. 796 per year
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) Has a professor in clarinet Undergraduate fees are $9,176 per year
University of Michigan University has two instructors Lower-division -$16,178

Upper-division – $18,208

Non-resident lower division -$53,232

Upper division- $52,962

New England Conservatory Four instructors Full time tuition fees-$39, 500 per year.
Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University Three clarinet instructors $41,983 per year
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH) Two adjunct assistant professors of clarinet, and Two instructors adjunct Ohio residents taking the undergraduate program pay $25,816
Indiana University / Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN) The faculty has over 25 tutors and instructors and a Professor assigned to teach on clarinet playing Total costs for non-residents $56,843

Total Costs for Indian residents $29, 464

Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

The Institute’s Peabody conservatory does have quite an impressive reputation when it comes to music and you will find its name among the likes of the Julliard School in New York. Besides the institute has produced an extensive list of distinguished students and individuals who have succeeded in their music careers the likes of pianist Andre Watts, and Torri Amos the singer among others.

Getting into the Peabody Institute of the John’s Hopkins University is strictly by merits, the acceptance rate is very low as the school is very selective of the students that it admits to studying in their University. Thus to get in a student must ensure that his academic scores are very impressive. And as regards clarinets, the Institute has two tutors who help students with clarinet performance.

Clarinet students who train at Peabody Institute are at liberty to play in both the general and specialized ensembles. Most importantly is that the Peabody jazz orchestra and the Peabody wind ensemble have been established to offer opportunities for the student clarinetists to develop their skills in both jazz and classical music. And the best part about joining this institute to train as a clarinetist is that if you don’t have a clarinet, you can easily get one at the school for rent.


  • Has produced many students who have succeeded in different music genres
  • Has two clarinet tutors
  • Provides students with instruments for rent
  • Has a good reputation as regards music overall


  • Getting admitted into the school is difficult
  • Has very high tuition fees for full-time undergraduate clarinetists

James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA)

The James Madison University is a prestigious school and has featured among the top music schools in the country. Admission to James Madison is selective and at least half of the students admitted to the university have a SAT score of between 1120 and 1280, alternatively they could have an ACT score of 23 and 28.

As regards clarinet lessons, the university is equipped with a clarinet studio and for auditions, students must play at last two selections of classical music. In addition to the SAT scores and GPA potential, students must submit a full resume detailing their music education and experience.

Students who wish to further their education in music the university has curated courses in ethnomusicology, music education and theory, and the music industry. What’s more, is that the school has dedicated at least two facilities for performances and which can cater to more than 1000 individuals.


  • The university is among the top music schools
  • Has dedicated two facilities to music performance
  • The university has a clarinet studio
  • Students are allowed to further their knowledge in music


  • The admission process to studying various genres of music is lengthy
  • Admission into the institution is strictly by merits

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

Looking at the college rankings as regards the best school for music majors, the University of Michigan came in at number 24. To get into the University and School of Music, Theater, and Dance interested students must submit an application and a pre-screen portfolio. Qualified applications will then be selected to appear in an in-person audition.

Notable is that admission to the University is highly selective and for a student to receive an offer of admission they must extensive backgrounds in their intended areas of study and are expected to have taken full advantage of the training opportunities available to them. The University has two Clarinet tutors but the faculty has over 15 tutors.

Clarinet teaching at the University of Michigan provides students with the foundation coupled with real-world guidance that students need to succeed in the current musical landscape. And given that real performance is an important part of professional training, Clarinet students get the chance to participate in Orchestras, chamber ensembles, and bands under the guidance of guest and faculty conductors.

University of Michigan community of students, alumni, and professors has been established to create close-knit network that encourages the students to experiment leading to excellence. Students are additionally provided with the resources to pursue their careers be it the classical repertoire or contemporary innovations.


  • State of the Art facilities for clarinet lessons
  • School offers a comprehensive program of instructions, performance, and pedagogy
  • Graduates excel as artists, scholars or educators among others
  • Students perform in orchestras, bands, and chamber ensembles


  • Overall tuition fees are high
  • Getting admission into the school is a tad bit difficult

New England Conservatory (Boston, MA)

The New England Conservatory falls under the category of excellent schools as regards learning the art of Clarinet playing. The school has the best training classes where students will be exposed to orchestra training and orchestra rep class which prepares the young and upcoming musicians to prepare for job opportunities just after graduating.

Getting admission into the school is tough given that out of 100 students only 40 of them are admitted. Students must meet the New England Conservatory of music’s requirement for GPA, and SAT/ACT scores among other components of the application. Upon admission students will be required to produce letters of recommendation, one for academics and another one for music, they must also carry with them a resume stating their musical background.

New England Conservatory is the best school for students who need financial aid, as the school runs a scholarship program for students who need financial aid. And apart from the student music groups, the school runs a variety of courses and students clubs and it also offers specialized courses including the liberal arts.


  • Has up to four clarinet instructors
  • Students are exposed to orchestra training
  • Good training facilities
  • Offers financial aid to needy students


  • Students must excel both in music and academics to be admitted
  • Getting an admission is tough

Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University

Northwestern ranks among the top 5 best schools that offer clarinet lessons and is, therefore, a good school for students who are pursuing their bachelor’s degrees. Besides Bienen is considered as the top music school in the US. The school is famous for producing renowned tutors distributed across the globe. They do offer flexible programs with a wide array of coursework and options for double majors.

Acceptance into the school of music is an uphill task given that it is at 10%, a fact that makes the school highly competitive. Auditions are a must and can therefore be done in person, students can also record on CD or DVD. Students who wish to take their clarinet lessons from this institution might get a chance to perform at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where the schools instructors and students have performed.

And apart from the studio classes the school also offers instructions in the Alexander technique among other non-traditional methods, the guest master classes have also been taught in the school. Other important benefits for the clarinet students are the music groups and activities provided to students which include different chamber groups and ensembles.


  • Auditions could be completed in person, on CD or DVD
  • Students could perform at the Chicago symphony orchestra
  • Students are exposed to music groups and activities
  • Offers guest master classes on clarinets


  • High tuition fees
  • Getting admission into the school is difficult

University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

Students who wish to take a bachelor’s degree can do it at the University of Cincinnati. The school offers students a bachelor’s degree program and which enables students to develop skills in different musical styles such as classical, jazz, and orchestral works.

For the Clarinet BM, students are required to produce two contrasting etudes from C.Rose: 3 etudes, another requirement is the Mozart clarinet Concerto: First movement, they could also produce a similar movement from a major sonata or concerto. Orchestral excerpts and sight readings will also be needed.

The University has slightly different requirements for Clarinet MM and Clarinet DMA, AD for pre-screening and audition requirements.

As regards the study of the art of playing the clarinet, students also hold seats in the World-Class Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. And as part of fulfilling their degree requirements, clarinet students will be presented with a unique opportunity to perform alongside their colleagues in the highest caliber ensembles. And which includes the school’s two symphony orchestras, two wind ensembles, and two smaller chamber ensembles.


  • Students can earn degrees in graduate and undergraduate levels
  • Has two clarinet professors and two adjunct instructors
  • Students get to perform at the highest caliber ensembles
  • Students can develop skills in different musical styles


  • Pre-screening and auditions are pretty intense
  • Does not offer financial aid

Indiana University / Jacobs School of Music (Bloomington, IN)

The tuition fees for learning how to play the clarinet at the Jacobs School of music is considerable when compared to other music colleges. In addition to the low school fees, students also stand to get into an exceptional scholarship and financial aid program. Students will, therefore, be considered for both merit and need-based financial aid, this also includes loans, grants work opportunities, and scholarships.

What is even better is that upon application to be accepted into the institution, students are automatically considered for the scholarships. Thus they won’t have to apply separately for a scholarship. The tuition fees are estimated based on whether the student is a resident of the Indiana state or not, whether they are a graduate or an undergraduate and also with regards to the number of credit hours that they take as graduate students.


  • Offers financial aid and scholarship
  • The tuition fees are fairly low
  • Students are automatically enrolled in a scholarship program
  • Students can also get grants and loans


  • Fees for non-residents is high


Each of the universities evaluated above has curated their music departments to properly prepare students for their careers in the art of clarinet playing. They all offer clarinet lessons and have employed instructors as well as professors to propel students towards their success. The universities have rather tough requirements before a student gets admitted and some offer scholarships and financial aid to cater to the needs of the needy students as they shape their careers. The tuition fees vary from college to college with only one offering slightly lower tuition fees.


Can you learn clarinet on your own from home?

You can learn how to play the clarinet online from home but to become a professional player you must earn a bachelor’s degree from a music conservatory or college coupled with years of experience in playing the orchestra.

How long does it take to become a professional clarinet player?

Commitment and ambition are the pre-requisites of playing the clarinet thus you can learn the skill in 2 years but with practice.

How much does a professional clarinet player earn?

A professional clarinet player can earn $18, 720 to $141,440.

Charlotte Moore is a Clarinetist by profession and has over time offered lessons on how to play the clarinet among other musical instruments. And while a majority of clarinet players are well versed with the process of settling with a good clarinet among other accompanying features. There is little information about clarinets. The reason why Charlotte prepared comprehensive experts touching on the various facets of the clarinet. The consolidated information will offer more insight on everything clarinets including the best stand to use, and the best plastic clarinet that you can invest in, among other information. Charlotte Moore is a devoted mother of two and a professional clarinet player.

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