IES Abroad Milan – Music: Voice, Composition & Instrumental

Video and Photos

Study abroad in Milan with IES Abroad
Study abroad in Milan with IES Abroad
Performance students
Performance students
Students admiring the ceiling designs in Milan's city hall
Students admiring the ceiling designs in Milan's city hall
Two students performing on piano and saxophone
Two students performing on piano and saxophone
Study abroad in Milan with IES Abroad
Study abroad in Milan with IES Abroad
Student performing on piano
Student performing on piano
Study abroad in Milan with IES Abroad
Study abroad in Milan with IES Abroad
Students in front of Milan's famous Duomo
Students in front of Milan's famous Duomo

About

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.

Whether you’re fluent in Italian or you can only say ciao, you are welcomed with open arms by the IES Abroad Milan Center staff. At the Center, there is a full range of opportunities for instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, and performance majors, and partnerships with the Civica Scuola di Musica, the Conservatorio G. Verdi, La Verdi Symphonic Choir and Orchestra and more!

In Milan, you get an education tailored specifically to your musical needs and interests. Enjoy being surrounded by some of the world’s top musicians and educators—including the Center Director who is an active composer and music scholar whose pieces are performed worldwide!

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

Reviews

92%
based on 18 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 8.7
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
Default avatar
Sally
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Semester of My Life!

My experience at the IES Milan - Music: Voice, Composition, and Instrumental program was life-changing, filled with amazing opportunities to learn about Italian music, language, culture, and social issues. I studied opera there and received the finest instruction from music professors like Patrizia Zanardi, Anna Fre, and Stefano Pintor. I was able to apply what I had learned in recitals and one-act operas that my fellow students and I presented at IES.. Not only that, but I was also able to learn by attending five La Scala opera productions, four of which were paid for by IES. My Staging Italian Opera class also got to observe a rehearsal at La Scala for Mozart's Idomeneo and tour the opera house's workshops. These opportunities shaped my abroad experience, and I am very grateful to IES for having provided them.

Not only was my music education wonderful, but my other classes were stellar also. For example, I took Service Learning and gained insight into the European migration crisis by volunteering at the Municipality of Milan's immigration office, putting the skills I was learning in the seminar (and in my advanced Italian class) to action. I also volunteered as an English tutor to the social worker I shadowed at this office, helping him better serve the English-speaking migrants who came to the office.

I found all of the staff at IES Milan to be extremely helpful. Whenever I had a question about anything, whether it involved an upcoming IES-sponsored trip or a personal health concern, they always answered my questions and showed that they cared about me. I felt that I was in very good hands for the entire semester.

I lived in a homestay with a very kind and loving Milanese family, and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything, as it was so fun to have younger Italian siblings and to truly immerse myself in the Italian language. My homestay became my home away from home, and in difficult moments I was so grateful to have Italian parents to give me homemade gelato. And the food was incomparable, of course! Nothing in this world is better than a home-cooked Italian meal.

I hope that anyone who reads this will be able to study at IES Milan, especially if you are an undergraduate music student. It was the best semester of my life!

What would you improve about this program?
Really the only thing that would have made the experience better for me would have been to feel better connected with the other IES students at the start of the program. Not having any roommates and living 35 minutes away from the IES center made socialization somewhat more difficult at the beginning of the semester, and I think my experience was similar to those of other homestay students in Milan. However, I made incredible friendships once I settled in and got my bearings, and I still stay in touch with them to this day! Also, the city of Milan itself has so much to do. There is never an end to the fun activities that students can pursue.
Default avatar
Noelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Short Italian Life

My experience with the IES Abroad Program in Milan, Italy was absolutely incredible! When I first started to look through my university's study abroad programs, I didn't see many for music. So when a friend pointed out IES Abroad's music programs in Vienna and Milan, I was immediately excited. Both Italy and Vienna can be considered birthplaces for music, as many important composers of the past were born or have worked there. I knew I couldn't pass these experiences up. Many of my friends also decided to apply to the same program, which made it even more exciting. The months after we were all accepted were a whirlwind. Finally, the day came to leave for Milan.
Arriving in Milan, I felt anxious but excited overall. When I arrived at the apartment where I would spend the next 3 month of my life, I was really impressed. The housing was in a really nice area with a historical landmark just down the street. My CA was also very welcoming and friendly.
Most of my classes were at the IES Abroad Center, except for my music lesson and orchestra. The teachers were all very friendly and very willing to help, especially my Italian Language professor. I really enjoyed every class I took, and I can say that I learned a lot in each class. Don't expect to be able to coast through the semester just because you're abroad.
Overall, I truly had a wonderful time in Milan, and I miss it every day, especially now since I am back at my home university. The memories I have mad in Milan will stay with me and throughout my life.

Default avatar
Charlotte
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Whole New World

This was my very first time out of the United States and my first time even being on a plan. I knew that it was everything was going to be a new experience, but I did not anticipate the emotions I would feel. Being a young black woman surrounded by Italians was quite overwhelming in the beginning. Our program told us that Italians do have a staring problem, but I felt like it was on a whole other level! I knew that because I would be experiencing a lot of new things (food, fashion, art, and traveling), i specially choose a course of study that I knew that I would enjoy. Through all of the struggles and stress that I experienced abroad, being apart of the music program kept me happy and upbeat. The things that I was going through did not matter once I enter the class room, it was rehearsal time. I had amazing opportunities to perform around Milan, Italy and had amazing professors that worked had worked in conservatoires prior to this program. I was getting a high quality music lessons and gained more experience with preforming. With everything new and moving around me, music never failed to keep me grounded. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be apart of this program.

What would you improve about this program?
Make sure that CA's are in contact with their students at all time. I feel like m CA was not there for me in the beginning of my stay or throughout.
Make sure you are truly comfortable in your living situation
Default avatar
Jordan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

BEST SEMESTER EVER

How can I begin to describe my semester abroad? This was by far the best semester of my life. There's just something about moving to Italy for 4 months that changes everything you ever thought you knew. Don't get me wrong, it was absolutely terrifying to pack up your whole life into two suitcases and move across the world. From the beginning, I knew it would be worth it because of the wonderful people at IES Abroad. I was kept informed every step of the way. From the predeparture checklist, to help with the Visa, to personal emails from the staff, I was nothing but impressed with IES. Once I got to Italy, the IES Milan staff put together a week long orientation that helped to create the friendships that have lasted past my time in the program, inspire confidence in the program, and ensure that I made the correct decision. But, beside all of that, the bets part of IES Milan were the professors. I took 5 classes in Milan and I couldn't wait to go to each of them each week. I was pushed harder than I ever have and it absolutely paid off. Another great part of this program were the field trips. I participated in the trips to Parma and to Sienna. During these trips I got to know the staff and the students on a more personal level and I got to explore places I never would have thought to go. I have absolutely nothing but good things to say about IES Abroad Milan. I can honestly say my life has been changed for the better because of this program.

Default avatar
Claire
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Musical Opportunities

Studying abroad can be a challenge for music students because there are fewer options in terms of viable study abroad programs. Thankfully, I found IES Abroad Milan's music program online and was able to attend for this past semester. I received such an incredible musical education in my semester here. Not only was the academic perspective excellent (I learned so much in my History of Italian Opera course), but there were also ample performance opportunities in the form of both concerts and opera pastiche. The caliber of the instructors was extremely high. Additionally, the program provided us with complimentary tickets to La Scala when possible, which enriched our musical education enormously by allowing us to observe performances at the highest professional and musical levels. I have made so many lasting professional and personal connections through my time at IES Abroad, and I cannot recommend this program highly enough!

What would you improve about this program?
The program could acquire more practice space in future semesters
Default avatar
Calvin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Instruction and Cultural Immersion

From the start, I was absolutely blown away by the quality of instruction which was afforded to me by the program. Having practically taught myself how to play the saxophone, it was quite the change to have someone of such caliber provide me with private instruction. Some of the things I've learnt this semester I will carry with me for many many years to come. On top of getting a whole semester to focus on my saxophone playing and musicianship, I felt like I was also able to fully immerse myself in the culture through the various activities as well as living and commuting so close to the city center. I was also able to volunteer at a local soup kitchen through the Service Learning seminar, which greatly enhanced my experience and exposure to local Italians.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel like the support during the pre-departure period could be worked on a little bit, as I found the whole visa obtaining process to be quite stressful and I know many other friends who also found it that way. It would also be cool to have even more chances to meet local Italians and opportunities to be immersed in the culture.
Default avatar
Deanna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying Music in Milano

My time studying Milan, Italy with IES Abroad was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Many music students don't think study abroad is possible due to the rigid course programs set by their home schools, but IES abroad Milan- Music: Tradition and Innovation makes it possible by being extremely customizable. I was able to work one on one with an Italian professor toward fulfilling a music theory credit required by my home university and got a unique perspective while doing so.

Not only does the IES Abroad Milan staff do a great job of finding amazing teachers to work with their music students, but they do an amazing job of placing students in great living situations. There are options to live with Italian host families or to stay in beautiful apartments, most of which are right in the middle of the city. I personally stayed with an extraordinary family that took me in as one of their own and taught me how to live life at a slower pace and how to truly appreciate the small things in life. Most importantly, my host family taught me the importance of bilingualism. My host dad didn't speak the best English, but on nights where it was just him and I for dinner, we were able to have full conversations using my broken Italian and his broken English. It was a beautiful example of how learning just a little bit of another language can connect you with people you would have otherwise never been able to connect with.

Milan is a city rich in culture and especially music as it is home to many amazing composers and the world renowned Teatro alla Scala. I saw many beautifully staged operas there thanks to the IES Abroad Milan and the classes I was taking. I was also able to see my favorite opera singer in recital while I lived there which was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will cherish forever.

If you are a music student interested in studying abroad, I would say definitely look into IES Abroad Milan- Music: Tradition and Innovation as they can offer a customizable experience that surrounds you with knowledgeable professors in a city that is rich with music and culture where you can further invest in your future as a musician.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I can say that would need to be "fixed" would be communication to the music students and timing of planning. However, that is coming from an American point of view where we expect events and rehearsals to be communicated way in advance, but what I learned in my time living as an Italian would things are slower to come to fruition and more times than not are put together at the last minute. There was definitely a learning curve when it came to this.
Default avatar
Haley
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Milano: More Than Meets the Eye

In Spring of 2018, I had the unbelievably fortunate experience of studying abroad for four months in Milan, Italy. As a double-major, I wanted to take classes that I could apply to both. I was able to take music lessons, an intensive Italian course, and a course called "Media, TV, and Communication in Milan." The course included field studies to a TV station, magazine publishing company, and recording studio to gain understanding of local media production. My music lessons were both productive and fun, and I very much enjoyed lessons each week. I absolutely loved my Italian course, despite having no prior experience with the language. I lived in an apartment with 6 other people which was cramped, but we made it work. The planned IES field trips were my favorite part of the semester; there is no way I could have planned a trip as fun as the one we took to the town of Parma!
Over the course of my time in Italy, I learned conversational Italian language skills by communicating with locals in their native tongue. I had the chance to demonstrate independence and immersion in a new culture through living in downtown Milan and taking classes from Italian teachers. My music classes encouraged teamwork and cooperation in spite of language barriers. Overall, the experience has definitely changed me for the better!

What would you improve about this program?
There should be a more interactive process in choosing housing. What your major is, what lifestyle you tend to lead, whether you like to go out to clubs at night, if you like to have people over, what time you like to eat. I think my experience would have exponentially improved if I had had roommates who I had more in common with.
Default avatar
Bo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

La Scala, Jazz Choir and Italian Arias

I spent the best four months of my life in Milan, Italy this past semester. I wish I could go back every day. I miss the coffee, food, music, art and people. I arrived in the middle of January and immediately began orientation. The first week or so was spent exploring the city and learning more about how our schedules were going to work. I felt like I was getting tons of attention and was constantly being checked upon, so that made the whole first week a breeze. IES offers trips throughout the semester and I went on the Venice/Verona/Padua trip and got to see some of Italy's finest art. We travelled by train. I found the transit system in Italy to be straightforward as long as you could read signs you could get anywhere. I really enjoyed using the metro system in Milan. I lived about 15 minutes away from the IES center where all the classes were taught and the location couldn't have been better. The city center and Duomo (cathedral) are located about a 10-minute walk from the center. We began Italian courses after two weeks of arriving. It was an intensive so the information being taught was dense and somewhat familiar. I would recommend taking some Italian before visiting Italy. I had one semester and have been singing in it for years so I had a basic understanding of how everyday language was used. I enjoyed Signora Francalanza's Italian lessons. About a month in is when we got to select classes. I was in the music program and I had great options. I ended up going with History of Italian Opera, voice lessons, and an art history course on Leonardo Da Vinci. I thoroughly enjoyed each of these and really loved studying with the voice teacher: Patrizia Zanardi. I would go back again just to study with her. She was absolutely incredible and if you are serious about studying voice while abroad, she is the teacher for you. I sang several arias throughout the semester and got to sing at the place where Verdi is buried in Milan. UNREAL. Also, the art history Professor Regonelli was an absolute joy to be around. For that class we got to go see the Last Supper at the end of the semester. It was incredible being able to learn about a masterpiece and then walk literally 5 minutes to see it in person. I will never forget her class. Throughout the semester, I traveled a decent amount. I visited Ibiza, Florence, Venice, Lugano (Switzerland), Rome, Athens, Paris, Frankfurt. There are so many opportunities to do so because many times there are three-day weekends. As a music major, I was able to go see 4 different shows at La Scala (one of the world's finest opera houses) all thanks to a professor who was able to get us free tickets. The director of the program is extremely personable and was so happy and eager to listen and help whenever. I asked if it would be possible to join a local choir during the semester and he put me in touch with the local Jazz School. I worked with 20 local singers and Maestro Giorgio Ubaldi and performed in several concerts throughout the semester. With the group I sang at an expo for healthy living and in one of Milan's premier auditoriums as an opener for a famous Italian singer. It was absolutely one of the highlights of my semester and I made 20 new friends and colleagues along the way. There is so much that can be said about Milan, and I am so incredibly blessed to have lived here for a semester. I will be back someday. It is home to me. There's nothing better than being able to immerse yourself in a different culture and soak up all the beauty that this world has to offer. I still keep in touch with my IES friends, both from the states and from Italy. I can't thank the IES staff enough for making it the best experience of my life so far!!!

What would you improve about this program?
I would recommend coming with a friend. It was a beautiful experience to come from my university alone, but having someone you know will make travelling and making new friends way easier. The program really is spectacular.
Default avatar
Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Abroad Experience

I had an absolutely amazing experience abroad. I lived with a host family and learned Italian while traveling Europe and Italy. I played lots of violin and learned from an incredible teacher who taught me everything I needed to know. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in Italian culture and experience music from a different worldview. Italians are amazing people and the administration at IES abroad is extremely equipped to handle just about anything.

What would you improve about this program?
The academics aren't very strong, so if you're looking for a program with strong academics don't choose this one. For me going abroad was about learning a language and diversifying my perspective, not about getting a good education, that's something I can do at my home school.
Default avatar
Cortlin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Time of Knowledge

As vocalist who is pursuing a career in performance, I could not have chosen a better program. Not only was the staff incredibly supportive but they were also very experienced in their field. With this combination, I did nothing but flourish as a musician. IES provided me the opportunity to study with professors who taught at the Conservatorio di Milano, in addition to a professor who had a residency at a local theatre and another professor who has had several books published in the field of musicology. This only encouraged me to embrace the Italian culture further and to appreciate the pure art in Italy.

By studying music in the historic city of Milan, I was able to walk the same streets of Verdi and Puccini while also having access to La Scala allowing me to the opportunity see some of opera’s best performers, including Leo Nucci and Placido Domingo. Furthermore, in the city of Milan lies several hidden treasures including: Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” and Casa Verdi. While the academic and local experience was astounding, the program allowed students to have long weekends so that we could travel around Europe if we desired. This permitted me to see some of the countries I’ve only dreamed of seeing : various parts of Italy, Germany, and Greece.

IES Milan: Music and Innovation was the perfect program for me. It was the perfect blend of educational, motivational, and helped me to grow even in ways that I can't explain. If you have the chance to study with this program I highly recommend it.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel the language course was very helpful, I believe that they should find a balance of grammar and vocabulary. There was more of an emphasis on the grammar, which is important, but I felt that know more vocabulary earlier on could have been beneficial during my time in Italy.
Default avatar
Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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)

The one thing I did not expect when I went abroad is that my life would change forever; no joke! Now that I'm back, I know that all cappuccinos are not treated equal and you should never pay 1 euro 40 for one, that wifi is important and you should check if restaurants who advertise it actually have it before you sit down, and that you only stir bechamel in a clock-wise motion or else you'll ruin it (per my homestay dad). Back in America, I see life though a different, more relaxed lense and that's all because I went abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
My program could have been improved by warning students that they would be getting the FULL Italian experience, meaning relaxed deadlines and no rushing around for something a student may see as a priority.
Default avatar
Angie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Part of the Family

My favorite part about being abroad was staying with my host family. La mia mamma, il mio papa, e la mia sorella. They were wonderful! Even now, back at school, I find my mind wondering about their actions. Oh, I bet papa is cleaning about the house right now, and mamma is worrying over another lost object, while mia sorella is singing the tunes from Moulin Rouge...I was a part of a family, a sister, daughter, and a friend.
When things didn't go my way (travel plans), my mamma would tell me 'we must change fate!" and suggest to me other places to visit, help me purchase my tickets and send me off with a smile. When I missed my family, they made me dinners inspired by my family's traditional meals, gave me sweets to 'sweeten' my life. We sang songs around the dinner table, worked on my Italian as I helped with their english-- As they attended my performances, I attended the 50th anniversary part for i nonni. I was home.
Even now, at my American home, I still think and miss my Italian home and family.

I often shared stories with the other homestay students and we had come to one conclusion: IES offers amazing homestays and kind families. In Italy, I found a family, friends, and a cat (the Family Cat, Tigro). In Italy I had found a purpose and the continuation of my childhood dream.

If you long for a feeling of home, to learn more than you have ever imagined, then I highly suggest being a homestay student in Milano.

As for the courses, 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.

What would you improve about this program?
Better communication between staff and students.
Default avatar
Nana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Milan

I stayed at a home stay family- a family of three. There was the mother, the 15 year old daughter and the 22 year old daughter. Although Carlotta, the 22 year old daughter was very busy with work, school, and internships, when she had little time to see and talk to me, she was a very sweet and nice person. I am glad that I was able to bond with someone that was Italian and around my age since that was what I wanted to do most. However, Virginia, the 15 year old teenage girl was who I connected with the most. She loved Japanese culture and since I am Japanese, we were able to exchange cultural information and differences with each other. I would speak Italian with her on a daily basis (although the mother wanted me to speak English to her) while other times, I would sit down with her and teach her some Japanese grammar and vocabulary. Virginia also showed me different cultures of Japan and that I had not known before, such as different anime television shows and dance moves. However, the person that I appreciate the most is my home stay mother. Whether it was eating cheese and drinking wine at 10 pm or taking me to the supermarket to show me that you need a 25 cent euro to be able to use the carts, she truly treated me like her daughter during my stay at her home. These are what I liked best about my accommodation. The times that I spent with my home stay family is something that I will never forget and is something that I will appreciate for the rest of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
I would ask for there to be more flexibility in the program.
Default avatar
Alyssa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Abroad Milano Music

IES Abroad Milan was an amazing experience. I truly feel like a know Milan and every part of it after leaving. It has become my city, I can use their public transportation, interact with locals, and feel at home. The academic feel was very different from my home university, but still, Milan was the perfect place to study abroad. There was a great balance in historical and cultural experiences and more modern experiences, with it being the fashion capital of the world. I could have lived in Milan forever, the advisors and my apartment location were great.

What would you improve about this program?
The program definitely needs help in balancing its program views and making sure they are the same standards as the teachers. Sometimes the teachers did not understand that we are here to experience culture and travel and learn, and not be stuck doing hours and hours over the weekends doing homework. The schedule could also be much more flexible so students could have more time to travel elsewhere in Europe.