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IES Abroad Milan - Music: Tradition & Innovation

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A experience to always remember

The music staff at the center in Milan is nothing short of excellent. Director Roberto Andreoni, makes a special effort to ensure that the music students have the best experience possible, even if the group is smaller than what he is used to. During my time abroad we had a relatively small group of musicians, 8 total. Despite this fact, Dr. Andreoni did everything possible to allow us to perform.

In addition to being very accommodating, Dr. Andreoni takes the time and effort to hand select professors that are experts in their field. I was able to take a course from a professor that has multiple books published in multiple languages in music history. This instructor was Dr. Raffaele Mellace, who taught a course on Verdi, focusing on his influence of politics through his career. Dr. Andreoni also found an instructor to come to the center, since there were many students interested in the Acting for Singers course. This instructor’s name was Laura, and she has directed plays and instructed performers (singers and actors) in Ireland, Britain, and Italy. She provided us with the opportunity to rehearse in Piccolo theatre as well as sit in on a rehearsal of a professional play that she was directing at the time.

As a vocalist, I studied with Patrizia Zanardi, who also teaches at the Conservatorio di Milano. A very talented musician and performer, she provided various ways to help me grow vocally and musically. She helped me to focus on the expression of the music and helped me to convey the emotion of the piece.

While the instruction we received as musicians was sublime, living in the city of Milan is an inspiration itself. By participating in the IES Milan-Music program, I had the opportunity to walk the same streets as some of the best operatic composers in history, including Verdi and Puccini. To have the opportunity to walk the same streets that they had is breath taking. Not only that, but when you are in Milan and in Italy there is art all around you. Art and music is found in the streets, in the architecture, and of course in the theater. If you decide to participate in the IES Milan-Music program, you will have the chance to experience the Italian culture to the fullest.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Culture, History, and (most importantly) Opera

If you are looking to experience culture, to live in the center of history, and to be surrounded by music, then this Milan program is for you. The classes within this music program offer an excellent insight into Italian culture and history through the use of music.

I chose this program due to it's courses. As a music student, my fellow students raved of the Viennese musical program for it's musical courses. However, I am not just a musician, I am an artist and a performer. I had found that the classes offered in Vienna, Austria were not tailored to the musical artist, simply musicians. And that is great for those who wish to pursue a life in the orchestra or musical education. However, if you are like me-- a musical artist, someone people don't understand often due to your artistic tendencies (i.e. painting instead of essay writing, performing instead of simply reading) than this program is for you. Unlike the Viennese program, this program in Milan offers courses tailored to the artist. Simply because, that's just how the Italians are. Free to do as they please and free to live. This 'artistic' mindsets lives within every professor and is met within every course. You don't just study a subject, you live it.

My favorite course, and example of this thought, would be Professor Mellace's course: Verdi and Italian Identity. In the course, we did not simply study Giuseppe Verdi's music and his influence over Italian politics and history-- we lived it. Our fingers were able to touch Verdi's original opera libretti, we were able to cast our eyes upon a spectacular performance of Verdi's opera Falstaff at il Teatro alla Scala-- we walked the very steps Verdi had walked from his home in Milan to La Scala.

In Italy, you're not just a student-- you're an artist. It was my favorite part about that country and Milan. If I told someone I was an opera singer, people were amazed-- compared to if I told people I'm an opera singer back in the states, I get questions like: "why?" Well, why not? And that is the Italian way.

If you are looking for more than music-- more than just a cultural experience, better than wonderful--- Milan is for you.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Great semester in Milan!

The IES Abroad Milan - Music program is great. The director of the program is very helpful in finding different music opportunities for students in the city, and I ended up taking voice and organ lessons, singing in the La Verdi choir's performance of Verdi's Requiem, and soloing in Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle. The courses were great, both those I took at the IES center as well as the course I took at La Scuola Civica, a conservatory in the city. I'm so glad I went.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Milan

This program is unbelievable. Milan is an amazing city, and is in an ideal location to see all of Italy and the surrounding countries. The IES staff takes care of their students, and they genuinely try to make the study abroad experience as fun and informative as possible for the students.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Clueless

I think we all go abroad with expectations, whether lofty or minimal, and I was no different. I was hoping to live with a family and I imaged us sharing breakfast at the family table and going for hikes on weekends. I had just learned who my voice teacher would be and I imagined rigorous lessons and excitement. I guess my most far fetched idea was that I imagined that thing they call "cultural immersion" to just happen; all I would have to do is be in Italy and BAM, I'd immediately be immersed in Italian culture.

Well, let me say now that I was clueless. Going abroad taught me that although expectations can foster excitement and anticipation, they come nowhere close to ones actual experience. I didn't just eat breakfast and hike with my family; I learned how to make pasta and I went to my homestay brothers rugby games. My voices lesson pushed me to a new vocal level and showed me what it really takes to be successful in the performance field. Finally, through meeting incredible friends and traveling all over Italy, I was blessed by Italy's culture. But, as you can see from all of my experiences, it took me venturing out and embracing my circumstances, no matter how foreign they appeared to me, to exceed my own expectations. The most important thing (as cheesey as it sounds) is to get out there and make your experience happen (example: You'll never get to marvel at the crystal blue waters of the Cinque Terre if you never buy the train ticket)

So my main advice to anyone looking to study abroad: DO IT! You're not sure on your major? DO IT! My time abroad showed me that I don't like my major near as much as I though and it also showed me that there are other career options out there that I can pursue with the knowledge I already have. Get out there, do it, and make the absolute best of your experience because when you come back, you won't be so clueless anymore.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

IES Abroad Milano Music

The IES program in Milan was a really great experience. It was definitely a different academic culture than I am used to, but it was great for music students because our director had a lot of resources for us to experience the music culture in Milan, Italy. It was hard to schedule traveling with the academic schedule that did not leave a lot of time, but I enjoyed staying in Milan over the weekends instead of traveling a ton. Milan is the perfect city to study abroad in with a good balance in culture and modern experiences. I could have lived in Milan forever if I could have, and my visit there was amazing.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    8

Primavera A Milano

Milan's music program is something to be envied. Though the program usually comprises about 20 students, I was in a group of only 7 musicians, which honestly only improved my experience. Because of our small group, we were able to take advantage of incredible musical opportunities such as performances at La Scala (including the premiere of Berlioz's Les Troyens for only a 25 euro co-pay), Scuola Civica, il Conservatorio G. Verdi, Auditorium di Milano, and other smaller venues around the city.

Though primarily a student of music history and theory, I was also able to take voice lessons for no additional cost with an incredible instructor, Patrizia Zanardi, and audition for Milan's LaVerdi Coro Sinfonico, with which (whom?) I performed Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in a performance space comparable to Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall - by far the most challenging piece I've ever attempted, and in an all-Italian environment.

In addition to my music classes and extra-curriculars, I took two Italian classes - language and literature. Both were challenging (especially the literature class) but ultimately were the best language classes I've taken (after two years of Italian back home), and while I'm not fluent, my language skills improved greatly across the board.

Bottom line: if you're a musician and you are motivated, the IES Milan staff (especially the director, Roberto Andreoni) can help to make whatever you need or want to happen. If you're only going abroad to take a break from school and go to a different club every night, you're in the wrong place. It's a great music program but you need to take the first step.