CCM Music Education students perform in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris during a study abroad trip.

Summer Memories: Music Education Students Study Abroad in Europe

As part of the first music education study abroad trip, a group of 20 adventurous CCM students traveled to Europe to study in the countries where Western art music was born last summer.

Associate Professor of Music Education Eva Floyd hopes to organize a second study abroad trip in spring 2018. The first trip led the students to Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg and Paris on the 12-day adventure to deepen their appreciation and understanding of music. Students participated in master classes, performed in historic venues, attended concerts and visited cities in which some of classical music’s greatest composers lived and worked.

“When you see the places where Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were born, lived or worked, it makes the music seem more human,” Floyd said, adding that half of the students had previously never travelled internationally.

Supported by grants from UC International and the Tangeman Sacred Music Center, this was the first study abroad trip for a CCM music education class, according to Floyd.

Traveling to the cities in which these great composers created masterpieces gave new life to their art and added personal dimension to music beyond what can be taught in a classroom.

Similar to learning a foreign language, music literacy is strengthened through studies as well as experience. The act of engaging with a culture first hand is a crucial step towards fluency. Likewise, studying and experiencing music in the countries of its origin encourages a broader understanding of music and music education.

Program participant Taylor Limbert, a junior in vocal music education, reflected on his experience with the program:

“Actually talking with and learning from and performing for people from other cultures was so enriching and I’m so glad I had that opportunity. I had been to Europe before last summer’s trip but this trip was by far the most important in my personal journey as an educator and a person.”

Students in front of Esterhazy Palace in Austria, home one of Haydn’s most important patrons.

Students in front of Esterhazy Palace in Austria, home one of Haydn’s most important patrons.

Students observed music classes of a variety of grades and levels and participated in workshops at the Kodaly Institute in Hungary and the Orff Institute in Salzburg. They had previously studied the famous “Kodaly approach” to music education“seeing it in person made them realize the full potential of music education,” Floyd said.

As part of the program students were able to walk in the figurative footsteps of classical giants. They visited Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria — home to one of Haydn’s most important patrons. Students also toured Liszt’s and Kodaly’s residences in Budapest, Beethoven’s and Haydn’s residences in Vienna and Mozart’s birth home and family residence in Salzburg. Participants also heard concerts while traveling through these historic cities, including the famous Vienna Boys Choir.

Not only did the students visit cultural landmarks, they also had the opportunity to perform in some of the most historically significant and recognizable venues such as the Kodaly Institute in Hungary, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Mondsee Cathedral outside Salzburg and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

“It is a privilege to see and walk through historic cathedrals,” Floyd said. “To make music in such a space allows you to take a piece of it home in your heart.”

Floyd prepared the group’s choral repertoire and organized a choral conducting master class with Peter Erdei, professor at the Liszt Academy and Kodaly Institute, for both CCM and Kodaly Institute students.

“The interchange between students from all corners of the globe was very exciting and proved to be a rich experience for all,” said Floyd, who studied in Hungary for two years before joining CCM faculty.

“The experience is so much more than just learning content and traveling. It helps you learn about yourself. It is very beneficial to get out of your comfort zone, and to be an outsider with language and culture. This helps you empathize with others and find confidence within yourself.”

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Story by CCM graduate student Charlotte Kies

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Starling Chamber Orchestra’s Josh Halpern Takes Top Honors at MTNA Senior String Competition

Congratulations to Josh Halpern, who won top honors at the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Senior String Competition.

Halpern, 17, is a junior at Oakwood High School. He is principal cellist of the Starling Chamber Orchestra, part of CCM’s pre-college program for advanced strings students. At Starling, Halpern is also a member of The Polaris String Quartet, which performed in Salzburg, Austria last month and will compete in the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in South Bend, Indiana this month.

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CCM Prep’s Starling Preparatory String Project Visits Austria

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Earlier this month, a string quartet of teenagers from Cincinnati’s Starling Program (Jenny Lee and Billy Fang, violins; Demi Fang, viola; Josh Halpern, cello; and 13-year old violin virtuoso Isabella Geis) traveled to Salzburg, Austria. They played a concert at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg on April 10 with young pianists from Salzburg: 11 year old Marie Decker, and adjunct faculty member Johannes Wilhelm. The program included a piano concerto by Haydn, virtuoso works for violin and for piano, Dvorak’s American String Quartet, as well as Dvorak’s entire piano quintet. The identical program had been performed on March 7 in CCM’s Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.

CCM’s Starling Program and the Leopold Mozart Academy of the University Mozarteum plan to continue this transatlantic collaboration of their young artists.

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