6 European Courses to Expand Your Musical Horizons

Do you want to travel to Europe? Always meant to learn to play an instrument? Why not combine both?

Life is too short for regrets or wishing and not doing what you want to do. So, while you are traveling, why not also educate yourself musically?

There are several universities and organizations that offer you the chance for a summer, semester or gap year to study music in Europe.

Here’s a list of 6 music programs in European cities that will challenge your spirit of adventure and expand your musical horizons:

1) IES Abroad : Vienna, Austria

Study and practice the oboe or classical vocal techniques in a beautiful city founded in the 3rd century. Photo by UR Living Learning.

When you factor in the musical and cultural importance of what Vienna has offered the world in terms of opera music since its founding in the 3rd century, you must consider enrolling in a musical study course if you visit this famed city.

IES Abroad, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, has been operating for over 60 years and has placed over 65,000 students in over 1,200 study abroad courses.

IES’ Vienna program offers the chance for private and group lessons with professional musicians and vocalists in the art of chamber music, the opportunity to see rehearsals at the famed Vienna Philharmonic and much more.

Be prepared to audition.

2) American Institute of Musical Studies: Graz, Austria

Study with professional and accomplished music instructors in a city merging the old with the new. Photo by franzj.

Graz is the second largest city in Austria, and while Vienna is more world renowned, Graz definitely offers the complete small town Austrian experience.

Created in the 1960s, the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) coordinates summer study tutorials in Graz. You can study operatic singing and classical piano in this historic setting with intense personal instruction from professionals and have opportunities for exhibition performances.

You will have to audition via CD or telephone for a coveted spot in the AIMS summer course in Graz.

3) University of Georgia School of Music: Alessandria, Italy

Learn to master instruments like the double bass or the violin in culturally rich and relaxing Alessandria. Photo by the Italian voice.

A world leader in fashion, the culinary and cinematic arts and music, Italy is a destination on the list of world travelers and the yet-to-travel. So if you want to travel and educate yourself musically, visit Alessandria, situated in northern Italy.

The city has an Old World charm accentuated by the views of the nearby Alps. Its small town atmosphere and closeness to cities such as Turin and Milan create an ideal environment for study and excursion.

The University of Georgia School of Music in the United States, which has operated for over a century, offers an intensive summer program in which students can learn about the violin, viola, violoncello, double bass and other musical disciplines.

4) James Madison Music in Germany Program: Freiberg, Germany

Brush up and improve your piano playing skills by studying in scenic Freiberg. Photo by gravitat-OFF.

Notable for its beautiful architecture, breathtaking cathedrals and famous Silbermann organs, Freiberg is a quaint German city established in the 12th century and known for its mining history.

The James Madison University Summer Music in Germany Program takes advantage of the crossroads setting Freiberg offers to give applicants a unique and intensive experience learning how to play piano or sing operatic music in the German opera tradition.

You must have some experience as a singer or musician and/or faculty recommendation letters. Also, be prepared to audition live.

5) Cambridge Early Music: Cambridge, UK

Immerse yourself in the intricacies and rich history of Baroque music in Cambridge. Photo by Brian Negin.

Home to the University of Cambridge and a history reaching back to the era of the Roman Empire, Cambridge, UK, is the destination for challenging tutorials in music instruction and history.

Cambridge Early Music is a 20-year-old music program that offers challenging studies in the classic arts of Baroque, Renaissance and Medieval music. If you have an interest in perfecting your alto singing voice or your playing proficiency in the lute, harp or other classical instrument, then this is the course for you.

Heavy in history and instruction, this program is not for the casual traveler or student.

6) NYU: Prague, Czech Republic

Study music composition on the piano and musical theatre vocal techniques in Prague. Photo by terrydu.

Prague is a city bursting with hip, cosmopolitan and fashionable spirit but still married to its historical past. Home to some of the best musical festivals and concerts in Europe, Prague is another ideal setting for musical study.

NYU, the famed university in New York, offers intensive music study programs in select European cities such as Prague that include courses in music history and theory, piano instruction, vocal training in music theater, opera, jazz and much more.

Applicants should have some musical skill and be prepared to audition.

Have you taken a trip to study music? Spent a summer or semester in Europe learning to play an instrument? Let me know in the comments.

If you liked this, you might also like: 6 Superb Universities around the World to Study Math.

Main image: by Kamermuziekfestival Den Haag

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