IES Abroad Milan - Music: Tradition & Innovation
92% Rating
(9 Reviews)

IES Abroad Milan - Music: Tradition & Innovation

Whether you’re fluent in Italian or you can only say ciao, you’ll be welcomed with open arms by the IES Abroad Milan Center staff. At the Center, you will find a program with a full range of opportunities for instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, and performance majors, in partnership with both the Civica Scuola di Musica, the Conservatorio G. Verdi, and the Milano Classica Chamber Orchestra (spring only).

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!

Program Type
Subject Areas
Art History
Cultural Studies
International Business
Degree Level
Academic Year
Host Family
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details:

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 6.7
  • Support 8.2
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 9 of 9
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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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

How can this program be improved?
Better communication between staff and students.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

How can this program be improved?
I would ask for there to be more flexibility in the program.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

How can this program be improved?
Communication about what courses were available before I got to Milan was unfortunately sub-par, but things became clear after I arrived.
Yes, I recommend
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Milan is an incredible city, especially for a musician. IES makes sure you will not miss out on any of the amazing musical opportunities that the city has to offer. Participating in this program is one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to expand their musical horizons.

Yes, I recommend
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Milano Primavera 2014

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.

How can this program be improved?
I think the Milan program suffers from a lack of funding. The housing options are incredible, as well as the location, but the center itself is pretty low-tech, with the printers and wifi are functional about 60% of the time. These shortcomings are not the fault of the staff, however, and are certainly not something that would stop me from returning.
Yes, I recommend

About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...