8 Top Music Schools in Scotland

Music schools in Scotland are available at several levels. In Scotland, formal music education begins at four-and-half years and can progress as high as postgraduate studies.

Education in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government. Music is regarded as being an integral part of the culture of Scotland.

Music services are working in almost all state schools and provide much of their instruction during the regular school day.

As stated on Wikipedia, Scotland has six centres of excellence schools that allow gifted children to maximize their full potential in music.

The number of music students is relatively small in comparison with the host school.

Secondary students at the city of Edinburgh Music School are 30-40 compared to 1,000 within the host High school and of the 1,000 students of Douglas Academy, around 50 are music specialists.

Typically, music students receive individual instruments lessons, theory and practice time within the music school.

The City of Edinburgh Music School is the only ‘centre of excellence’ which directly operates within a primary school.

The schools are funded by the Local Education Authority within which they are located.

Douglas Academy Music School, Aberdeen City Music School and the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music all have Halls of Residence, and so are able to accommodate students from across Scotland.

City of Edinburgh Music School works with families to find a suitable host family and has previously accommodated students from across Scotland and from across the globe. Now let us look at the list of some top music schools in Scotland.

The list of top music schools in Scotland

Here is the list of some of the music schools in Scotland.

  • Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming
  • Aberdeen City Music School, Dyce Academy
  • City of Edinburgh Music School
  • Music School of Douglas Academy
  • North East of Scotland Music School
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • St Mary’s Music School

Now let us review the music schools in Scotland listed above.

Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming


This music school is founded in 1910 as the school is located at Inchdrewer House near Redford Barracks in Edinburgh.

The Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming is a training centre of the British Army.

Instructions in the military music of Scottish piper bagpipes and pipe bands are available.

This is one of the music schools in Scotland that is providing courses at different levels to pipers and drummers of the British Armed Forces throughout the year.

The school’s qualified instructors are drawn from the pipes and drums of various units in the British Army.

The School forms part of the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board, which is a collaboration among the Piobaireachd Society, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, the College of Piping, and the Piping Centre.

Together, the Institute sets a standardised piping certificate programme for students from around the world.

Aberdeen City Music School, Dyce Academy


Dyce Academy is a well-established secondary school with approximately 500 pupils.

The school is situated on the border of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire and attracts pupils from both the Aberdeen suburb of Dyce and the surrounding rural area.

Their pupils become global citizens that are able to contribute successfully and responsibly to society.

This is one of the Music schools in Scotland with a well-developed guidance system for their pupils.

They achieve good examination results and pupils are successful in gaining employment and places at the universities and conservatories throughout the country.

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City of Edinburgh Music School


This is one of the music schools in Scotland that offers a complete specialist music programme from primary to secondary level in two neighbouring centres.

Their intensive training involves intensive regular practice, various ensembles and individual expert tuition from the most talented and dedicated teachers in the land, which paves the way for our students to secure positions in some of the most prestigious colleges, universities, ensembles, orchestras and media organisations in the world.

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Music School of Douglas Academy

Milngavie, Glasgow

This music school was established in the year 1979 as a national centre of excellence.

The Music School is an integral part of Douglas Academy and the music specialists are fully integrated into the curricular and social life of the school.

The school allows specialist musicians to continue their general education, whilst receiving instrumental tuition and additional time for music study.

This is one of the music schools in Scotland that provides a balanced curriculum to enable students to go forward to the university or college of their choice.

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North East of Scotland Music School


This music school helps students increase their musical confidence and awareness.

They have four teaching studios, one of which is large enough to hold small concerts or recitals.

Just like some other music schools in Entry into this school is by audition and inquiries from parents, teachers, tutors etc are all welcome.

Students pay their own fees, but costs are kept at a minimum through the fundraising efforts of volunteers and the generosity of trusted foundations, companies, and private individuals.

Scholarships for pupils in full-time education (applied for annually) are awarded on merit, and a fund is also available to help pay lesson fees for students in financial hardship, whether in full-time education or not.

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Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a national and international centre of excellence for performing arts education.

This is one of the music schools in Europe where you can study all of the performing arts on the campus.

There is distinctive creative energy at RCS and you’ll be made to feel part of our inclusive and diverse environment from the very beginning of your studies.

Before graduation, they help you grow your own network of contacts across the performing arts.

They have some of the best educators and performers in the industry and you are certain to benefit from their knowledge and experience.

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St Mary’s Music School


St Mary’s Music School is one of five Government-supported specialist music schools in the UK and the only one of its kind in Scotland. 

They are one of the music schools in Scotland that offer world-class academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 in a very inspiring and supportive environment.

Entry to St Mary’s Music School is by audition and assessment, based on musical ability and potential, regardless of personal financial circumstances or background.

Scottish Government funding, up to 100 per cent, is available through the Aided Places Scheme to assist with the cost of tuition and boarding fees.

They are funded by fees, private and trust donations and rental income generated by the school.

There are currently about 81 pupils at the schools whom 49 are day students and 32 are boarders.

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Music Universities in Scotland

Apart from the schools mentioned above, there are a number of universities and colleges that have music departments and degrees.

From bachelors to master and then doctorate degrees. Some Scottish universities offering music degrees are:

  • University of Glasgow, Glasgow established 1451
  • University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen established 1495
  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh established 1583
  • University of Strathclyde, Glasgow incorporated as university 1964, established 1796
  • Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh incorporated as university 1992, established 1964
  • University of the West of Scotland, Ayr
  • University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness

Music colleges in Scotland

Having listed the universities in Scotland offering music degrees, there are also a number of colleges offering popular and contemporary music courses in Scotland NQ.

In these colleges, you can get National Certificate, Higher National Certificate, and Higher National Diploma level.

Oftentimes, many of these courses may specialize within a particular area of music, such as the Electronic Music and Recording course at Clydebank College.

Scottish colleges offering these courses include:

  • Ayrshire College
  • Dundee and Angus College
  • Edinburgh College
  • Forth Valley College
  • Glasgow Clyde College
  • Glasgow Kelvin College
  • Lews Castle College
  • New College Lanarkshire
  • North East Scotland College
  • North Highland College
  • Perth College UHI
  • West College Scotland

Is Glasgow good for music?

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the 3rd largest in the United Kingdom.

Glasgow has been named as one of the top 20 best of the world’s destinations for travellers and has also been voted as one of the world’s friendliest cities in the world in a rough Rough Guides poll.

The city has eight venues in the Top 100 list of places to watch gigs, outside of London, including the SSE Hydro, which is ranked in the top five best global arenas, even beating New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden.

Glasgow aims to be a city of music. Glasgow is a highly visible symbol of excellence also. Glasgow as a city continues to blaze the trail when it comes to exploring the possibilities of music as an essential tool for urban regeneration, improving the quality of life and personal development.


As someone who is interested in the music schools in Scotland, you might like to consider the following:

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