International Travel For Study

International Travel For Study

Philip Arkinstall
Melbourne, Australia

International Travel For Study

Question:

Hey Phil, as both a clarinetist and professional musician in general, what are your thoughts on international travel for study? Do you feel it's a necessity for students/aspiring musicians to travel as a part of their studies? Do you have any recommendations on places to go? Institutions to apply for? Or are we coming to a time where perhaps it is better to go and seek out a specific teacher, not necessarily a specific postgraduate program. Thanks!

Answer:

It's a good question that you ask. There are many reasons to consider studying abroad, perhaps specially as a post-grad, if you can scrape together the required funding. 

In Berlin every second person seems to have an instrument strapped to their back, is on the way to play in or see a concert or, at the very least, has a firm respect for, knowledge of and opinion on classical music. Perhaps the AFL is the equivalent for us Aussies! (Victorians) When you're there you breathe it in and if that environment is in any way detrimental to you I'd be surprised! 

As a French system clarinetist however you may feel better off visiting a city where they mostly play on the same clarinet (Germany and Austria play their own design of clarinet , quite different from the French). Switzerland, Italy and the UK each seem open to foreign students and whilst maybe not on par with Germany in terms of classical culture still have plenty to offer . The USA has many good music schools - I've just visited Colburn in LA where the students live on campus and have expert teachers, high competition and not much else to do besides strive for excellence. 

All that may sound intimidating but I've heard from many international teachers how impressed they are at Australians' ability to learn quickly. Certainly going to a specific teacher either here or abroad will also work well if you really go all out with it. Commit totally to a program of learning and study and limit distractions. I hope this helps!