Spain has a long-standing reputation for producing world-class musicians, and its music schools are some of the most respected in Europe. Students who are passionate about jazz music and want to further their education in this field will find a wealth of options to choose from in Spain and improve their knowledge under the wonderful Spanish sun close to famous warm water beaches. I will explore five of the best music schools in Spain and provide some advice on living in each city. I also have an extra super special school at the end of the article. But, I have another extra piece of advice: try not to faint with the fees of the last school. Mind the breath!
Located in the heart of Barcelona, Escuela Superior de Música Jam Session offers a range of music programs, including jazz, rock, and pop. The school has a reputation for using innovative teaching methods and modern facilities to help students reach their full potential. I’ve lived in Barcelona, and I can reassure you that it is a vibrant and multicultural city, close to the best sea in the whole world, the beautiful and unique Mediterranean.
Barcelona is what many people already know: cosmopolitan, with beautiful buildings, a wonderful urban plan, Mediterranean cuisine with a Catalan touch, and it is a great city with a beach. I see it as a mixture of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires located on the shores of the Mediterranean.
It can’t be bad to be able to go for a dip in the late afternoon after spending the day between practices and classes. For a student I would say Gràcia; Sants; Poor Nou; Sant Anotny; and Poble Sec, are interesting neighbourhoods to live in, with a busy nightlife, where perhaps the first on the list is the most bohemian. I highly recommend this city, which for me is one of the best in Europe.
Musikene is a world-renowned music school located in the coastal city of San Sebastian. The school offers a range of music programs, including classical, jazz, and contemporary music, and is also known for its world-class facilities and highly qualified teaching staff. San Sebastian is a beautiful city with a rich cultural heritage, and it’s really close to the French border, which makes this place even more interesting since you can change culture and language with only 30 minutes of driving.
In my simple experience and what I saw in the spaces I frequented, and the people I interacted with, San Sebastián, as well as the entire Basque Country, is a city far from the elements that we consider associated with Spanish culture. It’s proof that Spain isn’t just castanets, flamenco, tapas and bullfights. Nor do I associate with neighbouring France. It is an area of Spain with a less explosive character, with a much more reserved dialogue, and where cider is drunk instead of cañas and red wine. It’s also the place I’ve paid for the most expensive breakfasts, and students need to know where they spend their money well.
Taller de Músics is another excellent music school located in Barcelona. The school offers a range of music programs, including jazz, flamenco, and Latin music. The school is located in the emblematic neighbourhood of Raval, very central and easily accessible. Many jazz musicians from the Catalan jazz universe are the result of this school, and they are great musicians.
As mentioned before, Barcelona is a lively and dynamic city with a strong music scene and a rich cultural heritage. You can expect to pay around €900 – €1300 per month for accommodation, food, and transportation. Talking about urban mobility, BCN is on top of the list, with the Its original bike sharing, effective metropolitan system, busses, and a very good quality services for night buses as well. But don’t expect to get an Uber. It’s not allowed in the town.
This school offers a range of jazz and modern music programs, including a three-year degree program in Jazz and Modern Music Performance. The school has a strong emphasis on practical training and offers students the opportunity to perform in ensembles and jazz combos. The faculty includes experienced jazz musicians and educators who are actively involved in the local jazz scene.
Escuela de Música Creativa is a music school located in the heart of Madrid. The school offers a range of music programs, including jazz, contemporary, and popular music. Madrid is the capital of Spain and a bustling city with a rich cultural heritage and a lively music scene. Students can expect to pay around €800 – €1200 per month for accommodation, food, and transportation.
There is one very interesting thing about Creativa. It has an excellent Flamenco course with a team of teachers of the highest level. If you are also considering specializing in this dynamic music genre, this is a good choice. In addition, you gain as an extra la movida madrileña that happens in the Spanish capital. ¡Moved, chicos!
Visa and Study Permit Requirements for Studying in Spain
Students who come from countries that are members of the European Union (EU) do not need a visa to study in Spain. However, they will still need to register with the local authorities and obtain a residency permit if they plan to stay in the country for more than three months. Get ready to apply for your NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero).
Students from non-EU countries, on the other hand, will need to apply for a study permit before they can study in Spain. The application process can take several months, so it’s essential to start early to avoid any delays.
Brexit and Studying in Spain for UK Students
With the UK leaving the EU, British students will now be treated as non-EU students for the purposes of studying in Spain. This means that UK students will need to apply for a study permit to study in Spain. However, the Spanish government has made a provision for UK students who were already studying in Spain before Brexit to continue their studies without needing a study permit. UK students who are planning to study in Spain after Brexit should check the latest requirements and regulations with their chosen music school and the Spanish authorities to ensure that they have all the necessary documentation and permissions in place before starting their studies.
The fees for music schools in Spain vary depending on the program, the school, and the level of education. However, on average, you can expect to pay between €5,000 and €12,000 per academic year for undergraduate programs, and between €6,000 and €14,000 per academic year for graduate programs.
Escuela Superior de Música Jam Session charges €7,350 per academic year for its undergraduate programs and €8,250 per academic year for its graduate programs. Musikene charges €10,000 per academic year for its undergraduate programs and €12,000 per academic year for its graduate programs, and the Taller de Músics charges €5,400 per academic year for its undergraduate programs and €6,800 per academic year for its graduate programs. I know they are not welcome prices, but compared to the US or UK (except for residents in Scotland), those are a bargain.
Centro Superior de Música del País Vasco charges €7,795 per academic year for its undergraduate programs and €9,350 per academic year for its graduate programs. Escuela de Música Creativa charges €6,950 per academic year for its undergraduate programs and €8,200 per academic year for its graduate programs.
It’s important to note that these fees are for tuition only and do not include the cost of living, materials, or other expenses. Additionally, scholarships and financial aid options may be available for eligible students, and it’s always a good idea to inquire with the music school about any funding opportunities.
Studying music in Spain can be a life-changing experience for students who are passionate about music. With its rich cultural heritage, world-class music schools, and vibrant cities, Spain is an excellent choice for students who want to further their education in this field. However, it’s important to carefully consider the costs of living and studying in Spain and plan accordingly. Additionally, students from non-EU countries should be aware of the visa and study permit requirements and start the application process as early as possible to avoid any delays.
Extra tip: Berklee College of Music in Valéncia (a peculiar case)
That’s is one of the most prestigious music schools in the world and has a campus in Valencia, Spain. The Valencia campus offers undergraduate and graduate programs in music performance, music production, and composition. The Berklee College of Music in Valencia offers students a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best music educators in the world and to live in a beautiful, welcoming city with a rich cultural heritage
But first, let me tell you a little bit about the nice city where the school is located in Spain!
Valéncia is a very safe city, with a low crime rate and a welcoming atmosphere. The city has a rich cultural scene, with museums, galleries, and theatres showcasing both local and international talent, and is also famous for its food and drink, with a vibrant culinary scene and many bars and restaurants offering traditional Spanish dishes and local specialities. The affordable cost of living, mild weather, and flat terrain make Valencia an excellent choice for students who want to study music in Spain, and you can expect to pay around €800-€1,000 per month for rent, food, and other expenses like the grocery store and also the affordable wine from Comunidad Valenciana.
Another great benefit of living in Valencia is the fact that it is a flat city, which makes it easy to get around by bike or on foot. The city has a well-developed network of bike lanes and a bike-sharing program that allows students to explore the city and get to class easily. Although I had lived in Valéncia, I didn’t write anything about it yet. Meanwhile, if you need more information about the 3rd most important city in Spain, please take a look at this nice article that I found right here from Viva Happy. I promise to post an article in the near future about this fascinating town.
I just mentioned that one of the main benefits of studying at Berklee Valencia is the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s most renowned music educators and performers. The faculty at Berklee Valencia includes Grammy award-winning artists, producers, and songwriters. Additionally, the school has state-of-the-art facilities, including recording studios, performance spaces, and computer labs.
I’m from the generation that dreamed about studying at that great school, but at the original one in Boston-MA. But, I have to admit that if the Valencia campus existed in those dreamy days, I would have opted for the Spanish version. But this is just a personal opinion I want to share. There is no doubt that the school is amazing, even if I never went to school. My experience at the unit in Boston was rehearsing with a jazz quartet, and I loved the structure. As for the Spanish version, I passed several times in front of it, but I never actually entered it, but that was due to the restrictions imposed by covid-19 during the phase I was there.
Despite so many positive points, when we are faced with the amount of money we need to have to be part of the club, things change, and opening the catalogue on the page that says ‘fees’ is startling, not to mention that it is like a water bath for most of the students like me that had a dream to be part of the group.
But how much do I have to pay anyway?
The basic tuition is just $46,050.00 (42.508,36€). My goodness! But you’ll need more money. Take a look at the list below with the requirements for the 2023/2024 Academic Year.
The academic year includes fall, spring, and summer semesters.
Waived for Berklee alumni $150
Nonrefundable tuition deposit
To be credited towards the first tuition payment $2,500
Comprehensive fee $1,400
Master of Music in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games only $1,530
This applies to the GS-585 course “Special topics”, to MTI-501 “Pro Tools Proficiency Course”, and MTI-502 “Analog Audio Engineering Proficiency Course”. $1,200
Indirect Costs (Estimated)
Laptop – May be waived $3,000
Local Transportation $300-$600
Personal Expenses $1,000
To be honest, I didn’t even have the courage and inclination to pick up the calculator and add it all up. If by any chance you were motivated and made these calculations, please share them here in the comments. Thanks in advance for that!
But as we know, this is not the only place where it is possible to specialize in jazz in Spain. As you can see in this post, there are many other options and much cheaper than this one. If you have a dream of spending some time in the Iberian Peninsula and especially in the Kingdom of Spain, start contacting the suggested institutions immediately.