Study Music - Vocal Performance Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Studying Vocal Performance Abroad

Vocal performance is about as old as language itself. It is performed solo or in groups, accompanied by other musicians or simply a capella. In its deepest sense, singing is one of the most primal forms of human and cultural expression, with intimate connections to other performing arts, like orchestration, dance, and theater. From 16th century Italian opera and Christian gospel, to pagan African chants and modern day American beatboxing, vocal performance is both genre and geographically diverse. To study vocal performance abroad is to understand a culture from the perspective of ancient, and sometimes sacred, traditions.

Why Study Vocal Performance Abroad

Though music is generally culture-specific, thanks to increasingly accessible technology it is also a highly lucrative global industry. For those looking to specialize in vocal performance, studying music abroad can be an integral experience for understanding the history and nuances of your chosen genre. For example, students of Western opera or musical theater would benefit from more vocal program in Europe, while those interested in Latin folk or mariachi would gain more by considering study abroad in Mexico or in a South American nation. Studying vocal performance abroad allows for immersion in the theory and practice of your chosen discipline.


Europe is the most popular option for vocal studies abroad, particularly in Italy, Germany, and Ireland. However, those looking for an alternative to traditional Western genres and study abroad programs should consider studying vocal performance in India. 

Italy. Some of the most historically classic musical and vocal innovations and techniques originate from Italy. This is evident in much of the terminology still used today, for instance, alto, soprano, falsetto, concerto, etc. Symphony and opera are vital components to Italian cultural identity. After all, this is the birthplace of Farinelli and Pavarotti, Vivaldi and Bellini – creative geniuses whose contributions to music echo through the centuries. Rome, Florence, and Milan are a few of the great cities offering the most opportunities for aspiring vocalists in Italy. Italy in general is a great location to capitalize on private, individualized vocal training in renowned studios, universities, and music schools too.

Germany. Like Italy, Germany is central to the historical development of traditional Western music, thanks to highly influential composers like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. Several hymns and early Christian music originated here, popularizing choirs and harmonization. More recently, Germany is one of the strongest consumers and producers of modern music, and a leader in genres like metal rock and techno, with rising artists such as Rammstein and Paul Van Dyk. Students should consider studying vocal performance in Germany in locations such as Bavaria, Frankfurt, and Freiburg

Ireland. This gorgeous green nation has developed its fair share of music, including traditional folk and Irish dance, Celtic tunes, modern punk, rock and roll, or some fusion thereof. Several successful musicians, like U2, Van Morrison, and Sinead O’Connor, hail from these isles. Students can choose from a variety of vocal studies programs or enroll in a university, or even the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. Popular locations for studying vocal performance in Ireland include Dublin, Belfast, Limerick, and Cork.

India. With the rise of Bollywood comes the popularization of everything Indian, including film, traditional dress, and of course, music. Classical, folk, and pop are just a few of the genres produced in India. Music has developed over the centuries as part of the socio-religious culture, especially Hindustani and Carnatic music, drawing on Hindu themes for inspiration. Students should consider study abroad programs and universities in Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), and Calcutta (Kolkata), specifically.

Courses & Programs

Most vocal studies courses abroad do not require previous experience, however that may not be the case with some of the more advanced subjects. It’s more than just singing and performing on stage - it’s also about learning the foundations of music. A few of the more common courses offered through vocal performance study abroad programs are music history, theory, performance studies, and combinations of either music and drama, or music and dance.

Music History. Students generally start with the basics when studying vocal performance abroad, and that includes creating an informed context and foundation for the rest of their studies. These types of courses often combine general history on nation and culture, as well as detailed forays in the specific historical developments and transitions of the music throughout the centuries.

Music Theory. These courses allow students to really get into the nitty gritty details of musical and vocal technique and innovation. You will study various methods of successful predecessors, including analysis of things like form, rhythm, pitch, harmony, and musical themes. Other abstract concepts will also be explored, such as tonality, scales, and dissonance, as well as the more mathematical side of composition, including notation and statistics.

Performance Studies. Performing is perhaps one of the most challenging things a human can do. As most people are incredibly afraid to speak in public, you can imagine how nerve racking it can be to sing in public. These types of music courses delve into the practices and theories of performing itself, including use of body and lyrical language, elements of identity, and the connection among art, theater, and real life.

Music, Drama, & Dance. These courses are incredibly common, and focus on the fusion and relationship between music and theater or drama, or similarly, music and dance. They will challenge students to reflect on the impact each discipline has on the other, and how they contribute to the creation of a well-rounded, thematic performance. Students will often attend workshops and performances to witness firsthand how these separate, yet related art forms combine to create an entire artistic experience.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Context. Whether you are studying Italian opera, Irish folk music, or Indian pop, studying vocal performance abroad in the country where that type/genre of music was developed is critical for expanding your historical context and understanding of the music. It allows you to see what has already been done, and where it can possibly go from there – the types of innovations and trends, and their failures and successes.

Opportunity. Europe especially has some of the most renowned music and theater schools in the world for learning and performing. The opportunity to attend courses at some of these institutions is absolutely invaluable, and could lead to networking important connections, and get you thinking about the next step in your professional ladder. 

Read More

A Guide To
Studying Vocal Performance Abroad


 Find Music - Vocal Performance Study Abroad Programs Now


This listing has been saved 7 times

Music Semester in Florence

Study music in Florence, the birthplace of opera and one of Italy’s most important cultural centers as the capital of the region of Tuscany. Musical excellence is part of the very identity of Florence, from the historical influences of Paganini to the hundreds of opera singers, orchestras, and choirs that flourish today. Take small classes and private lessons taught in English with experienc...


This listing has been saved 10 times

Semester in Newcastle

The University of Newcastle is a highly ranked institution with a stunning, ecologically sustainable campus. Here, you’ll work hard and play hard, experiencing the true Aussie lifestyle. The city of Newcastle has stunning beaches for surfing and swimming, a low cost of living, a favorable climate, and a casual lifestyle. The perks continue: Our Semester in Newcastle is our most affordable progr...


This listing has been saved 13 times

IES Abroad Vienna - Music Semester/Year Program

For more than 60 years, IES has been building quality study abroad programs. IES offers a unique opportunity to music students to study in Vienna and explore the performance culture of Austria and Central Europe as a whole. Located in the heart of Europe, Vienna is a city of almost 2 million inhabitants that has served as a bridge between a myriad of cultures. Home to an astounding number of le...


This listing has been saved 10 times

USAC AUSTRALIA: Gold Coast & Brisbane - Full Curriculum

Spend one or two semesters in the “Sunshine State” of Australia, where a year has an average of 300 sunny days! The Gold Coast and Brisbane program is an ideal study abroad experience if you love the outdoors. Based along the country’s east coast, this program lest you explore beaches, coral reef system, rainforest, and scenic highways. The host institution is Griffith University, where you...


This listing has been saved 27 times

ISA Study Abroad in London, England

London, the vibrant capital of England, is also one of the world's most diverse and multicultural cities: A place where students can meet people from all around the world and still feel at home. The city sits atop the Thames River which meanders its way through this cultural, business and historic heart of Europe. With its accessible public transport, all of London is within the grasp of studen...


CIEE Liberal Arts Program in Valparaiso, Chile

Evolution theorist Charles Darwin, who lived for a time in Valparaíso, wrote: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” You’ll understand what he meant after a short time in this colorful city. There’s no time to waste with CIEE in Valparaíso as you live the Spanish language. Classes at a top-ranked university, homestays, volunteering activities, and lots...


TEAN: Sydney - University of New South Wales

Just five minutes away from Coogee Beach and home to Australia’s oldest study abroad program, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) offers an extensive array of courses and is a leading university not only in Australia but around the world, particularly for science and technology. UNSW is an urban, modern campus situated in the lively area of Kensington only a 20-minute bus ride from the Syd...


This listing has been saved 13 times

SAI Progams: Study Abroad in Florence

Florence University of the Arts (FUA) presents a contemporary and thorough approach to a Liberal Arts education, along with an extensive curriculum in Studio Arts. With small classes taught by a highly qualified international faculty, every course aims to enhance the social, intercultural and professional experience of each student. Programs are offered in English during the spring and fall ...


This listing has been saved 14 times

Accademia dell'Arte - Study Abroad in Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

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 - Summer Intensive Programs: Physical Theatre and Dance - Interdisciplinary Summer Programs We also host faculty-led study abroad progra...


This listing has been saved 1 time

German Studies Research Grant

DAAD offers doctoral degree students the opportunity to compete for the prestigious DAAD fellowships for research or the pursuit of a doctoral degree in Germany. DAAD is a self-governing, public-funded, or private organisation of higher education institutions in Germany. They aim to promote international cooperation and academic relations by providing mobility programs for students, faculty, a...


This listing has been saved 13 times

Mente Argentina: Semester & Academic Year at Top Universities in Argentina

Study abroad for a semester or an academic year in Argentina through Mente Argentina's flexible, exciting Academic Semester and Academic Year Programs. Study in an Argentine university and obtain academic credit at their home university. Mente Argentina has made agreements with the most prestigious universities in Argentina. We offer individualized pre-departure consulting for each student t...


This listing has been saved 12 times

Summer Spanish Immersion - Study &/or Intern!

The perfect opportunity to greatly improve your Spanish! Immerse yourself in the Spanish language and culture! Take Spanish courses for academic credit, live with Spanish speaking roommates, and use Spanish in daily life. Additionally, you have the option to add an internship, for credit, in your field. This program is ideal for those who truly want to improve their Spanish language skil...


This listing has been saved 11 times

LEAPYEAR Latin America - The Most Unique Year of College

During fall semester, spend 10 weeks traveling with a guided group of up to 12 other LEAPYEAR students to Latin America (previous groups have traveled to Nicaragua, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, and more). Participate in intensive language training, scuba diving, cultural immersion, community service, environmental work, and adventure trekking. During spring semester, embark on a th...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Arts and Culture in Cameroon

Carleton College, one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, now operates the long-established Arts and Culture in Cameroon program previously offered by Antioch Education Abroad. The Arts and Culture in Cameroon program allows students to expand their creative faculties in the visual and performing arts in an enriching cross-cultural learning environment. Students develop a foundation ...


This listing has been saved 21 times

Study Abroad at Bangor University in Wales, UK

Many students choose to study at Bangor University, North Wales as visiting study abroad scheme students. Every year, well over 100 students from North, Central and South America, Asia and mainland Europe undertake a semester or a whole year at Bangor and transfer the credits achieved to the home University. This means that students who are taking a degree course at another university can vi...