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Study abroad in Africa

Italy: Music Tradition and Innovation in Milan (IES)


Brenda Tooley

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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From ancient Ambrosian chants to cutting-edge multi-media installations, Italy has always been at the forefront of musical innovation. As a music student in Milan, you have the opportunity to work with world-class musicians, soak up the local music scene, perform at a variety of venues, and attend a wide range of performances.

While in Milan, you are placed in classes and ensembles to enhance not just what you learn, but how you learn it, and provide you with new perspectives each day in class. Milan features many highly-qualified local instructors for both voice and instrumental performance, composition and theory, to enrich your learning experience.

Also, you may use concert venues for recitals, and attend concerts and rehearsals of professional performance organizations such as La Scala, Milano Classica, La Verdi Symphonic Choir & Orchestra, and Italian musical productions. In addition, we help you with instrument rentals and studio time arrangements—all rental costs will be covered by IES Abroad.

You must take 15–19 credits per semester, and most courses are worth 3 credits. Language courses are taught in Italian, and all other courses are taught in English or Italian.

The cost of all music-related lessons and partner institution courses in included in the program fee. Please notes that some courses have prerequisites.

In recent years, our music students have worked with more than 60 top Milanese faculty and ensembles. This program offers a full range of high-level music options including:

Vocal Performance

  • Acting for Singers (Arte Scenica)
  • Choir options in Gregorian, A Cappella, Chamber, Gospel or Symphonic Choir
  • Diction
  • Individual instruction with qualified local instructors
  • Vocal Coaching
  • Staging Opera

Instrumental Performance: (All Instruments)

  • Individual Instruction in Classical/Jazz with qualified local instructors
  • Individual Tutoring in Advanced Musicianship & ear training
  • Music Performance Workshop
  • Student orchestra at the Civica Scuola di Musica
  • Orchestra Assistantship and Introduction to Baroque performance practice with the professional Milano Classica Chamber Orchestra (strings only)

Music Theory and Composition

  • All levels of theory courses (in Italian) and/or tailor-made projects on theory studies (in English)
  • Composition seminar and/or individual composition lessons
  • Contemporary Composition in Italian Music and Literature

Music History

  • History of European Vocal Music
  • History of Italian Opera

Milan will be your classroom. Envision yourself catching an opera at La Scala or working as an apprentice with some of the top musicians in the world. You can work with an instructor who can help you hone and develop your area of study, immerse yourself in the operatic tradition, play in an ensemble, and take courses in music theory or history at one of IES Abroad’s partner institutions. From visiting the spectacular infrastructure created for the World Expo of 2015, hosted in Milan, to surveying Italian art and music culture, you'll explore the innovative nature of this city.

IES staff also help you with instrument rentals and studio time arrangements in Milan. You are invited to attend performances on a regular basis, from productions at La Scala to smaller concerts at intimate venues throughout the city. You can even enroll in a music-related internship, which includes time spent working at your placement in addition to an academic seminar that helps you contextualize what you’re learning.

Housing options include homestay, apartment and residence hall.

Credit: 4.5 credits per semester.

Program advisor: Professor Joan Huguet

Learn more about the IES Milan: Music Tradition and Innovation program.

Click here to apply to study off-campus. 


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Printed on Monday, January 20, 2020