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Music Degrees Abroad

Music, by nature, is an inherently international field. Dating back to the middle-ages (and even before that!), music in various forms began emerging all around the world, so why concentrate your studies to the same country or the same state you’ve lived in most your life? Music degree programs are generally going to consist of similar curricula no matter where you go, so there are big advantages to taking your studies abroad.

Why Earn a Music Degree Abroad

Studying music abroad is a phenomenal opportunity and resource for you as a musician, but obtaining a full music degree abroad takes your learning 10 steps further.

As is the case with most international opportunities, the chance to open yourself up to new experiences and cultures is immeasurable. However, when the focus of study is culture itself, that value increases exponentially. Earning a music degree abroad will grant students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the countries and environments where some musical practices literally began to take shape and develop as legitimate art forms. The feeling of following in the footsteps of famous historical musicians and approaching the musical process the same way your idols did will be indescribably valuable to your education and personal motivation in the field. 

Specific countries approach theoretical aspects of music differently, so having the opportunity to study music in a new country will prove to be an incredible tool for the future, and provide you with a plethora of insight into the international music community.

Locations

Even before beginning the conversation about whether or not to earn your music degree abroad (let's just assume you’ve decided you are doing it, since you should), there are a few important factors, regardless of location, that need to be considered. One of the most important details to consider is whether you would like pursue music education at a conservatory or in a college of music. The difference between these two forms of education, along with your preferences, will help you decide which music degree programs and which schools will be the best fit for you. 

Highlighted below are just a few options of locations where it is popular to earn a degree abroad in music. These locations have been selected not only for their crucial role in the development of Western music, but also for their outstanding and world–famous degree programs.

England. When it comes to music, England is always one of the first countries to enter the discussion. Maybe it’s because of the Beatles or the development of consonant harmony (but probably just the Beatles), but England has always been a major player in music’s history, both past and present. Home to some of the most famous concert halls, recording studios, and orchestras in the world, you can earn your music degree in England while immersing yourself in the incredible British musical culture, from London to Leeds, and everywhere in between. 

Germany. From the high renaissance on, Germany has been a major hub in the development and performance of music. From Mozart to Beethoven, the storied Berlin Philharmonic and beyond, Germany has always been at the forefront of music. Germany also continues to be an important European breeding ground of new and emerging artists. Travel around the country and visit famous musical cities like Hamburg, Liepzig, and Berlin, and surround yourself with history and culture while earning your music degree in Germany.   

United States. Every year, thousands of students from around the world come to American universities to study music, and for good reason. The United States is home to some of the finest music conservatories in the world, and it is also home to world renowned faculty. Additionally, some of the more elite American conservatories and music departments have exceptional resources that can provide musical experiences that other degree programs simply cannot begin to offer. The U.S. is also home to a plethora of well known conferences, performance competitions, and other musical gatherings that draw audiences and musicians in from around the world. Stationing yourself within the States will give you a better opportunity to attend, participate, or compete in some of these events. 

Another important factor to consider (arguably the most important when considering earning a degree abroad) are the faculty at each of the programs. Music students work very closely with their professors, conductors, mentors, and private instructors at the collegiate level, and this kind of attention and personal interaction needs to be weighed into your decision. Some teachers are not right for every student, and certainly vice versa. The best (and most successful) music student is one that has a strong relationship with their professors, so take time to research, get to know, and even reach out to faculty before auditioning and applying.

Music Degrees Abroad

Studying music at the collegiate level can essentially be broken down into three degree categories: performance, education, and composition. While many music degree programs abroad offer other liberal arts options, such as musicology, ethnomusicology, or music therapy, these are much less common at the undergraduate level. All music degree programs will begin with a similar structure, grouping students into core classes of music theory, history, and aural skills, regardless of sub-discipline. 

After completing “universal” music general education requirements, students will then move on to study and take upper division courses in their individual disciplines. Most education departments require students to apply and get accepted to the education department before beginning that coursework, which sometimes involves an exam (or two) and consistent good grades. Students enrolled in composition programs will be expected to have excellent grades in music theory, for example. But, some music degree programs will have a minimum grade point average requirement across all courses.  

Earning music degrees abroad will take roughly the same time as the “standard” university degree. However music degrees can fluctuate, especially for those students in the education program, since they generally will have double the coursework. Most schools will require all students, regardless of discipline, to remain in their private studios and continue to perform for the student body and put on recitals. Performance majors will be required to perform more than others and will generally have an extra major recital to plan.

Benefits & Challenges

Perspective. Everyone knows that traveling gives you a broader perspective and worldview, but nothing quite like actually attaining a full degree abroad. Four years is a very long time, and this is certainly more than a vacation, or even a summer of study abroad. Earning your music degree abroad is an opportunity to become a part of a new society and culture, and with that gained experience, comes a new set of values, and perspective. 

Techniques & Methods. Especially in the field of music, this new perspective goes beyond a “worldview.” Many countries have different approaches to fundamental concepts in music theory and performance technique, and learning them will not only make you a better musician, performer, and educator, but will increase your appeal to future employers. It may seem challenging at first to adapt to a new way of teaching and learning, but ask any string player how much a Suzuki coach can earn and you will know instantly why this is an advantage. Especially relevant for those students interested in conducting, there could not be a music discipline more diverse and geographically fascinating than conducting styles and techniques. A quick visit to Youtube will prove this to be true.

Local Practices. On top of everything else, one element that is always overlooked are local music practices. Sure, you might be studying classical guitar at a conservatory in Australia, but that is far from the style of music indigenous to the region. Earning a music degree abroad will provide students with an opportunity to surround themselves with styles of music they might not be familiar with, opening their minds, and ears to something completely new and different. Something that can only be experienced in that part of the world.

Beethoven (maybe you’ve heard of him? And no, not the St. Bernard) said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” Combine that with the profound impact of international travel and intercultural exchange and you’ve basically reached nirvana (again, not the 90’s grunge band). 

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At Griffith, one of our goals is to develop graduates who will make a difference to the world in which we live. Griffith is a large public institution which offers more than 300 degrees across a diverse range of study areas. Griffith’s 5 campuses are located in sub-tropical South-East Queensland. Enjoy either the relaxed, beach lifestyle of the Gold Coast, or the bustling, inner-city life o...

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For those wanting to study abroad beyond a semester, TEAN can assist you in finding the a program in Australia or New Zealand to earn your Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, or PhD. Our services are free to you. We do not charge you for the work we do on your behalf. By utilizing TEAN's services you are saving money on international postage, phone calls and more. We help with: - Selecting ...

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Mente Argentina's Masters and Graduate Degrees Program may be the perfect program for someone interested in studying in a new culture. Through this international program students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in thier career. Individuals can chose to study from some of the most renowned universities in the Country: Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Universidad Argen...

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The University of Westminster is a diverse and dynamic university located in the heart of London, England. With a vibrant learning environment and a commitment to educating for professional life, the university has a distinguished 175-year history. It offers a wide range of bachelors and masters courses, ranging from Business Management and International Relations to Conflict Resolution and Mus...

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Middlesex University offers a range of innovative and challenging courses. Students will experiment with the latest technology, access and contribute to world-leading research, meet like-minded practitioners and build international contacts through our exceptional industry practice links. Our students are provided with study areas, practice equipment, and support services ensuring a fully immer...

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We invite you to join the 27,000 students from nearly 150 countries who have chosen to study at one of the UK’s most historic and prestigious universities! Students from around the world choose King’s to further their academic and professional studies. With over 90% of our research internationally recognized, you benefit from an intellectually rigorous environment supported by welcoming and car...

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Brunel is a campus-based university situated in Uxbridge, West London, and is home to nearly 15,000 students from over 100 countries worldwide. Founded in 1966, our distinctive mission is to combine teaching and research excellence with the practical and entrepreneurial approach pioneered by its namesake, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The University is based around eight Academic Schools: *...

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Whether you want to study undergraduate and graduate degree programs or shorter-term semester and year-long programs, Across The Pond can help. For over 10 years we have been helping students from the USA, Canada, Latin America and Norway to find and apply to over 40 of the top colleges and graduate schools in England and the rest of the UK. Our team of UK Study Experts, who have had first-h...

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The University of Otago welcomes study abroad students from universities throughout the world, and enrolls international students in degrees from bachelors through to PhD. Live among local students of the university, all within 15 minutes walk of campus and the Dunedin city center in New Zealand. The two to six-bedroom houses or apartments typically have at least one local student living in the...

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Study at Western Australia’s largest and most preferred university. Ranked in the top two percent of universities worldwide Curtin has campuses in Perth, Malaysia and Singapore and welcomes a diversity of nationalities and cultures. Over 50,000 students from more than 130 countries are studying one of our internationally recognized degrees. Based on Curtin’s high proportion of international st...

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The Accademia dell'Arte is a performing arts school and cultural center. Housed at Villa Godiola, a Renaissance era villa that overlooks the city of Arezoo, the Accademia dell’Arte offers study abroad programs in: - Physical Theatre - Dance - Music - Interdisciplinary Summer Programs We also host faculty-led study abroad programs. The Accademia dell’Arte is conceived as a vibrant co...

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Set yourself apart from the average graduate! Obtaining a bachelor’s degree abroad is more than just an academic education; the experience of living in a new culture and environment provides you with invaluable life skills, and employers know this. AEF’s International School of Liberal and Performing Arts gives students the opportunity to combine both the theoretical and practical aspects of th...

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Looking for a study abroad experience? API offers students the opportunity to broaden their academic knowledge and skills in Maynooth University (MU), the second oldest university in Ireland. If you wish to gain learning in an international environment, do it in MU - an institution known for its academic and learning excellence in humanities and the sciences. Choose from a selection of undergra...

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Whether you are interested in an exchange semester or want to pursue your bachelor, master or post-graduate degree in India, we assist you in locating and enlisting in the best suited study programs. Our services cover all formalities, from the selection of the most suitable educational institute and the first point of contact to the application process and finding appropriate accommodation. ...

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Deakin University, Australia, is a top-rated university with world-class graduates. Industry-focussed degree programs and a strongly international outlook mean that Deakin graduates are ready for the global workplace. Deakin is ranked in the Top 3% of universities worldwide and was named the 2014 International Educator of the Year by the Government of the Australian State of Victoria. Deakin...