Jul 7, 2021

Best Art & Music Programs In High Schools For International Students

Arts and music education has been an integral part of secondary education in the U.S. and Canada. Studies have shown that arts and music education is closely linked to academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity. Involvement in the arts as an extracurricular activity in school is also associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill (Edutopia). High schools in the U.S. and Canada have long been using arts and music as learning tools, such as teaching math through musical notes, incorporating arts into core classes (such as theater or music production), and providing real-life opportunities for students to practice and perform arts in professional settings.

International students who are interested in exploring their passions in arts & music now have a lot of options among U.S. and Canadian high schools that offer top arts & music programs. These programs provide students with vibrant resources and partnerships with local and regional arts communities that can develop into long term career prospects. Many alumni graduating from such programs have become successful artists in various fields.

Here are the best Art & Music Programs In High Schools For International Students:

Bishop Montgomery High School (BMHS) in Los Angeles, California, USA

  • BMHS’ "Thunder By Knight" is a busy, active, talented music department, with a wide range of opportunities for students of all backgrounds. The school also provides a year-long Music Production class to Grade 9-12 students, where they can play instruments and join various musical bands such as the Marching Band - Color Guard - Wind Ensemble - Orchestra - Jazz Band - Jazz Combo - Drumline - Rock Bands - Electronic Music - Music Ministry 

  • The Director of Music Department, Mr. Eric Hankey has been teaching at Bishop Montgomery High School for 9 years. He has degrees in trombone performance and music education from Ithaca College and the University of Southern California.  Mr. Eric Hankey was also nominated in 2018 to the Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Museum. This award was established to recognize current educators from kindergarten through college who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

  • In addition to concerts, pep rallies, and spirit performances on campus, the ensembles perform at local schools and parades and civic functions.  BMHS music groups attend many festivals in Southern California, the Bay area, and Arizona, and in the past have traveled to Washington, D.C., Japan, England, and Italy to perform for Pope Francis. Here are some photos when they visited Italy in 2016. 


Justin-Siena High School in Napa Valley, California, USA

  • The visual and performing arts department at Justin-Siena High School has a long history. The Director and Department Chair of Theatre Arts & Visual Performing Arts, Mr. James Thomas Bailey, has produced more than 50 shows in Los Angeles. He has served as a creative consultant and trainer for Universal Studios, Walt Disney Feature Animation, ABC, Coca-Cola, and others. Mr. Bailey also serves as a cultural specialist for the U.S. Department of State, and has consulted in Cyprus in conjunction with the American Embassy and State Theatre of Cyprus.  

  • The school provides both Instrumental Music and Advanced Instrumental Music classes for students.  

  • The music department of Justin-Siena High School works with the California Music Education Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater.

  • The Napa School of Music is right on campus to provide music lessons for over 18 instruments in all styles of music. 

  • Olivia Gail O'Brien, a Justin-Siena alumnus, is a famous American singer-songwriter. Her most popular song "I Hate U, I Love U", which peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and #1 in Australia in 2016.

  • Mark Rappaport, a 1972 graduate of Justin-Siena High School, has been named a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2017 for "The Revenant" . Some of his famous art works are: TED I &II, I Am Legend, 300, Man in Black, The Last Samurai, 12 Strong, The Magnificent Seven, Lone Ranger, The Revenant

best music programs for international students

St. Pius X (SPX) High School in Houston, Texas, USA 

  • SPX has several musical groups including the Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Drumline and Color Guard 

  • SPX’s full Marching Band plays at each football game to spur on the team, but its influence extends throughout the school. They play at pep rallies and games, and challenges themselves through competitions and perform for the community through many concerts throughout the year. 

  • The SPX Chorus and Campus Singers introduce students to fundamental vocal skills and active music making. They receive training in the Belle Canto style of music and learn to interpret music in styles ranging from the Baroque to Broadway.  Students represent the school in TAPPS competition in both the solo and ensemble categories. They may participate in choir for a fine arts credit 

  • For SPX students looking to take their musical skills to the university level, SPX assist students when applying to music schools. 

  • SPX Theatre students deliver three distinct shows per year, more than any other private high school in Houston. The full year of performances provides students the opportunity to practice their craft and makes the theatre an integral part of the St. Pius X community. 

best music programs for international students

  Villanova College (VC) High School in Toronto, Canada: 

  • VC offers a number of different training and performance opportunities in both vocal and instrumental music. As part of their regular curriculum, students can earn credits in instrumental music. 

  • The VC Senior Concert Band is made up of students from grades 10-12. This group of dedicated musicians meets every Thursday night for a 2-hour rehearsal. They perform several times each year including the Winter concert, the Spring concert and music festivals. One of the ensemble’s highlights is the bi-annual March Break Band trip, which gives members the opportunity to tour and perform in cities across North America. Previous destinations have included Montreal, Chicago and New York City. 

  • The VC Senior Choir is a vocal ensemble for mixed voices in grades 8 through 12, rehearsing after school once a week. The ensemble keeps a busy schedule, performing at the Christmas and Spring concerts, prayer services, school masses, festivals, and special events. 

  • The VC Senior Jazz Band is made up of students from grades 10 to 12 and plays several styles of music including Swing, Funk, Salsa and Rock. Performance opportunities include Christmas and Spring Concerts and a year-end festival. 

  • The musical theatre production is a larger project involving dozens of students and faculty and combining acting, singing, and dance. The musical is performed for the school and broader community in the spring. 

best music programs for international students

 Send us an email at hello@amerigoeducation.com if you have inquiries about any of these amazing high school arts & music programs in the U.S. and Canada!