This past summer, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to study abroad for three weeks and travel to Salzburg and Vienna in Austria and Venice, Italy. The trip, lead by one of our professors at Naz, is also a three credit upper level music history class. There were sixteen students from Nazareth all majoring in either music therapy, music education, or getting their BA in music.
During these three weeks, we stayed in hostels and spent about a week in each location. We visited multiple museums, archives, churches, and ate INCREDIBLE food!
My favorite memories of Salzburg were visiting the sites from the movie the Sound of Music. We saw the pavilion where sixteen-year old Liesel hides from the rain, the steps when all the kids and Maria (Julie Andrews) sings Do-A-Deer, and we attended a concert at what was the backside of the house in the movie.
In Austria, we also visited one of the places Beethoven stayed, Gustav Mahler and W.A. Mozart’s graves, and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s house he stayed in before leaving for London. These were only some my favorite parts, but each day was jam packed with new adventures and experiences.
Since this was a class after all, each of us had to research a composer and do a very informal presentation on them at a place of significance that we visited while in Europe. I had the great pleasure of learning about the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn. I did my presentation on him when we visited St. Stephens cathedral in Vienna where Haydn sang as a choir boy for most of his childhood. It was incredible learn about famous performers and composers as we visited the places they grew up, lived, and brought their music to life. It really brought what we were learning to life in a way that’s impossible in a traditional classroom.
We got to meet some famous people too! While in Venice, we personally met Arnold Schoenberg’s daughter at Schoenberg’s archive. Schoenberg was (and still is) a world famous 20th century composer and music theorist. We also met Elisabeth von Trapp, agrandchild of the real Maria and Baron von Trapp. She played songs from her music album in the space where the movie has all the von Trapp family in a singing competition.
I only touched on the bare minimum in this blog post, but this trip was an adventure I will never forget with incredible people that I became very close to. This past semester, I took another music history course and felt so much more engaged in the lectures and readings because I actually visited these places we learned about; I enjoyed the material so much more because I had such great memories associated with it. I hope every student who wants to gets to experience studying abroad. It opened my eyes to the differences and similarities in culture, people, art, architecture, music, education, and so much more.
Interested in learning more about the music history trip to Europe? Read an interview about it with former student Louise Ly.