New England Conservatory educates and trains musicians of all ages from around the world, drawing on our distinguished faculty’s deep reservoir of talent, as well as our creative community and educational partnerships. We are devoted to inculcating the highest standards of artistic excellence and nurturing individual artistic sensibility and creative growth. Understanding that music is one of the transcendent expressions of human civilization, NEC is committed to advancing music’s contribution to contemporary society.

Core Values

We believe that the study of music builds human capacity, elevates the soul, and prepares our students for lives that enhance the public good.

We believe our students must have a supportive and collegial learning environment that maximizes the individual attention they receive from their teachers, and allows them to explore and develop their unique artistic personalities.

We believe in the critical importance of mutual support among faculty that encourages the highest standards of excellence and accommodates innovation, individual teaching philosophies, and a broad range of disciplines.We believe that we have a responsibility to reinforce and expand the position of music in society by educating the next generation of music leaders, incubating new work, and sharing our sublime art with the widest possible audience.

Fast Facts

New England Conservatory (NEC) an independent, not-for-profit institution, is recognized internationally as a leader among music schools, educating and training musicians of all ages from around the world. With music students representing more than 40 countries, NEC cultivates a diverse, dynamic community for students, providing them with performance opportunities and high-caliber training by 225 internationally-esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC pushes the boundaries of making and teaching music through college-level musical training in classical, jazz and Contemporary Improvisation. It offers unique interdisciplinary programs such as Entrepreneurial Musicianship and Community Performances & Partnerships that empower students to create their own musical opportunities. As part of NEC's mission to make lifelong music education available to everyone, the Preparatory School and School of Continuing Education delivers training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students and adults.

Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1867 by Eben Tourjée, NEC created a new model of conservatory that combined the best of European tradition with American innovation. NEC is at the center of Boston’s rich cultural history and musical life offering concerts performed in NEC’s renowned venue Jordan Hall. Alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios and arts management positions worldwide.

New England Conservatory is authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to grant degrees and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).


  • February 18, 1867
  • New England Conservatory and NEC's Jordan Hall are National Historic Landmarks


  • 750 graduate and undergraduate College students from 46 states and 39 countries
  • 1400 Preparatory School students, including those enrolled in NEC @ Walnut Hill
  • 325 Continuing Education students

College programs

Most of these programs are available as undergraduate and/or graduate, postgraduate majors.

  • All orchestral instruments and guitar
  • Orchestral & Wind Ensemble Conducting
  • Piano
  • Orchestras, wind ensembles, chamber music
  • Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation
  • Voice and Opera
  • Composition
  • Historical Performance & World Music
  • Music History & Theory
  • Music-in-Education

Preparatory School programs

  • Lessons, ensembles, and classes for pre-college students beginning with age 3
  • Certificate offerings for students who follow specified curriculum
  • Large ensemble programs allow many steps of progression by age and playing ability

Continuing Education programs

  • Certificate offerings in many areas of performance and scholarship
  • Summer Institutes that offer concentrated topic studies
  • Distance learning options


  • Almost 400 musician-teachers on the College, Preparatory School, and Continuing Education faculties
  • Some College faculty also accept Preparatory and adult students
  • NEC faculty and alumni make up half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

NEC-Educated Person

Overview: NEC’s Bachelor of Music curriculum is designed with the expectation that an NEC-educated person will be

  • a musician with artistic integrity,
  • an active life-long learner in both musical and academic disciplines, and
  • a responsible citizen.

Definition of an NEC-Educated Person
(Bachelor’s Degree Level)

A person graduating with a bachelor’s degree from NEC demonstrates significant achievement of professional competence in the chosen musical discipline—through the acquired body of knowledge and skills in performance, musicianship, history, theoretical analysis, composition, and repertoire—and displays an ability to interpret music with a sense of individual expression, enriched by both traditional and innovative approaches to musical training. An NEC-educated musician demonstrates knowledge of fundamental concepts of music theory, and a basic familiarity with historical developments in Western music, including a more thorough understanding of at least one specific period or idiom. The NEC educated person will be able to use technology and the tools of scholarly research effectively to further their musical education, work, and exploration.

The NEC-educated person has developed college-level skills in analytical reading, critical thinking, academic writing, and oral presentation and discussion; can work both independently and in collaboration with others; and has a basic proficiency with technology and information resources. An NEC-educated person has cultivated a broader intellectual perspective by choosing from elective offerings in history, politics, economics, literature, cultural studies, philosophy, mathematics, science, languages, music education, and the creative arts. In doing so, students explore and deepen their creativity, and examine and reflect on the social, political, and cultural issues that affect their lives as students, musicians, and participants in the global community. The NEC-educated person has developed the professional skills necessary to pursue a career in music or in other fields.

An NEC-educated person is an active life-long learner in both musical and academic disciplines, and a responsible citizen. As such, the NEC-educated person develops the skills to be a proponent for the role of music and musicians in society; is committed to outreach and community service through music; and supports the creation and growth of music and other arts organizations.

The NEC-educated person has an awareness of current events, both locally and globally; has an awareness of and respect for other cultures; is able to develop and express independent views; and is able to engage in respectful conversations or debate while honoring diverse perspectives.

Understanding that learning is a process of discovery, NEC students graduating with a bachelor’s degree will be able to apply their acquired knowledge, understanding, and skills beyond their undergraduate education, enabling them to continue critical studies, explore ideas and contemporary issues, deepen their creative work, and commit themselves to vital roles in their communities.


New England Conservatory of Music does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, genetic make-up, or veteran status in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, employment policies, scholarship and loan programs, or other Conservatory-sponsored activities.