Even if the only music lesson you ever had was more than four presidential administrations ago, it’s never too late to learn and appreciate different kinds of music. Families, college students and lifelong learners flock to Europe to take advantage of its plentiful opportunities for cultural enrichment through music.
If you want more out of your trip to Europe than just a stamp in your passport, why not arrange to have a private music lesson through a university or conservatory? Most large cities have institutions of higher learning that may be able to assist you in finding a teacher. Or, before your trip, sign up to take a group class. Learn to play the Bodhrán, a traditional Irish drum, or combine a course in flamenco guitar with a Spanish language session in Seville, Spain.
Vienna, Austria, has long been a hub of musical activity in Europe, and it continues to uphold that reputation today. Even the hills are alive with it. Home to numerous world-class ensembles such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Boys’ Choir and Vienna State Opera, classical music lovers will find all kinds of ways to increase their knowledge on the subject. Start with music fundamentals at the Sound Museum, which gives patrons a chance to conduct a virtual orchestra. Then embark on a walking tour to see the many famous musical landmarks in the city, and end your day at a phenomenal Viennese ballet or orchestral performance.
Opera enthusiasts traveling to Paris will delight in visiting the fascinating Opera Library-Museum maintained by the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Peruse thousands of orchestral scores and librettos, literary manuscripts, model sets, posters, programs, costume sketches and more. The Opéra National de Paris also offers special behind-the-scenes tours if you arrange them enough in advance. And don’t forget to get your tickets to the opera, of course.
Expand your musical horizons even further by attending music festivals dedicated to jazz, fusion, heavy metal, pop, world music or any kind of music you can think of. For example, check out the largest jazz festival in the Baltics held each spring in Estonia. Do your homework before you go, and you’ll be rewarded with a gold-star experience.