Bound by a rich cultural history, India houses various musical styles that differ across different states.
The Guru-Shishya tradition has preserved centuries-old techniques that still set the ground for musical education today.
There has also been a substantial impact on music literacy within India, leading to a dynamic set of opportunities for growing artists.
One would often find prestigious music institutions at the heart of this process.
Whether you are an aspiring musician or just passionate about music, you can apply to some of the best music programs in the country and get hands-on training from industry experts.
In this article, I’ll list some of the best colleges/institutes in India to pursue music education.
KM Music Conservatory (KMMC)
KMMC, a first-of-its-kind conservatory for Western and Indian music education, was founded in 2008 by A.R. Rahman, who redefined contemporary Indian music.
KMMC emphasizes developing musicianship in both Indian and Western music, no matter the age or level of expertise.
Modules focus on selected primary instruments, music theory, and analysis alongside session skills.
Students can choose from many courses, including composition, performance, production, and audio engineering.
A two-year diploma course from KMMC can also help you secure an undergraduate degree from Middlesex University, London.
This multi-dimensional education is made possible at the KMMC campus, which holds multiple practice rooms, recording studios, and modern performance spaces that their own Sunshine Orchestra often uses.
Lavita Lobo and Jerry Vincent are some of their proud alumni who can attest to this institution’s role in helping them blossom into professional musicians.
Calcutta School of Music
Established in 1915, the Calcutta School of Music (CSM) provides education in Indian and Western classical and contemporary music.
Along with music lessons, this school strives to teach music appreciation skills to its students.
Courses range from training in vocals ensemble to instruments like piano, violin, classical guitar, flute, drums, and saxophone but are not limited to drama and speech.
The Indian Music Section of the school was inaugurated by sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar and currently offers Indian vocal training.
There are amenities like air-conditioned classrooms, a library, and an auditorium to create a satisfactory educational experience at the school.
CSM also arranges workshops, master classes, and concerts for which famous musicians like Zubin Mehta and Isaac Stern have performed.
Global Music Institute (GMI)
Global Music Institute, founded in 2011 by Aditya and Tarun Balani, helps musicians step foot into the global music industry.
Joined by an experienced international faculty, students at GMI learn the importance of musical diversity and collaboration within different communities.
Students can study Hindustani, Carnatic, and Western music through diplomas and short courses.
GMI also has a partnership with Berklee College of Music, USA.
The GMI campus based in Delhi allows students to access high-tech facilities like a mixed-media library, recording studio, practice rooms, theater, on-site student housing, and a cafeteria.
Rythem Bansal, an alumnus, is the house pianist at The Piano Man Jazz Club and has performed with several Indian and International artists like George Brooks, Matteo Fraboni, and Pranai Gurung.
Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music
Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM) is regarded as the best contemporary music institution in Southeast Asia based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Taking a holistic approach to musical education, this institution follows the Gurukul learning system and works to create a healthy balance between Indian music, Western Music, and Session Skills.
Their main goal is to build a nurturing environment for students so that they can brandish their musical talents and transform into industry professionals.
The Academy offers various diplomas in music performance, music technology, and audio engineering and also has a formal tie-up with the Australian Institute of Music.
Students can access various facilities, from practice rooms, instrument labs, a library, and a recording studio to different performance spaces.
Taba Chake, an alumnus and top independent artist in India, has earned over 25 million Spotify streams for his album ‘Bombay Dreams.’
Max Clouth, a jazz guitarist from Germany who studied Indian classical music at SAM, has performed with prominent Bollywood music composers like Amit Trivedi and Arijit Singh.
Delhi School of Music (DSM)
Founded in 1966 by The Delhi Music Society, this proud institution provides education in Western classical music.
It emphasizes a student’s personal growth, the ability to play in ensembles, and the skill to discern a piece of music.
Delhi School of Music accepts about 1400 students annually.
Over the years, DSM has been led by several expert faculty members like H.P. Palamkote, John Raphael, and Phillipe Engel.
This school offers individual classes in vocals, piano, guitar, clarinet, recorder, flute, and drums and group classes in music theory and ballet.
Instrument rooms, ensemble rooms, a library, and a recital hall are some facilities that can be accessed on the premises.
Gavin Martin, a piano prodigy and alumni, went on to perform with the New York Philharmonic under the country’s most celebrated conductor, Zubin Mehta.
Lakshminaryana Global Centre of Excellence (LGCE)
Lakshimarayana Global Centre of Excellence was founded by Dr. L. Subramaniam, ‘The Paganini of Indian Classical Music,’ and Mrs. Kavita Krishnamurti, a prominent Bollywood playback singer.
The center’s primary goal is to give equal importance to the practical and theoretical study of music.
This pedagogy takes inspiration from the Gurukul teaching style and introduces students to Hindustani and Carnatic music.
They also get to study European, Latin-American, and African music alongside the basics of Audio Engineering and Digital Marketing.
LGCE has partnered with Jain University (Bangalore) and Vishwakarma University (Pune) to offer undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctorate programs taught by experienced professors and performers.
Students enrolled in a course by LGCE get to interact with professional artists performing for the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (LGMF).
This event was first started in 1992 to honor the memory of Professor. V. Lakshminarayana.
Legendary artists like Yehudi Menuhin, George Duke, Billy Cobham, MS Subbulakshmi, and many more have performed at LGMF.
Whistling Woods International School of Music
Whistling Woods International School is one of the top music schools in India, based in Mumbai.
Recognized by The Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, this school aims to equip aspiring music directors with the knowledge and skillset they need to excel in the industry.
Through their bachelor’s course in music production and composition, students are exposed to the multiple facets of Indian and Western classical music, which is not limited to the folk genre.
Students can access practice rooms, a recording studio, and live performance spaces.
Since its inaugural class graduated in 2008, over 3500 students have graduated from WWI.
Almost all of these graduates have secured lucrative positions in some of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies.
Subhash Ghai composed a song for the election commission of India with Whistling Woods alum and music producer Abhishek Bonthu.
True School of Music
Partnered with Vijaybhoomi University, the True School of Music (TSM) is one of the leading music institutions in the country based in Karjat, near Mumbai.
One of the primary goals of this school is to prepare musicians for the industry through applied learning and a global perspective.
This school offers a range of undergraduate programs in contemporary performance, music production, and sound engineering.
A student at TSM is introduced to various genres like blues, jazz, rock, pop, soul, Bollywood, and even classical fusion.
Students can also avail of facilities like rehearsal rooms, engineering labs, a recording studio, and indoor and outdoor performance venues.
Successful alums include Delraaz Bunshaw (Best Singer at WOW Asia Awards 2022) and Kayan (Singer-songwriter, DJ, and Face of Levi’s Music Project).