Students on the Florence Program take three courses, one of which may be taken in music, for which they earn five credits per term. Students may study music for the entire year, the fall semester, or the spring semester (enrollment in the spring is limited). All students must consult and receive approval to study music before arriving in Florence. Students must consult and be approved by Chester Biscardi, director of the Sarah Lawrence Music program, and Cristina Anzilotti, director of the Florence program.

A music course consists of at least three components:

  • Individual Instruction
    nstrumental performance, composition, or voice.
  • Music History
    Instructor: Alberto Batisti
    Teatro GoldoniAs the heart of the Renaissance and the birthplace of many of the greatest musicians and composers in history, Italy has been central to the creation and development of what we now call today, "classical music." Beginning with Monteverdi, this course will investigate the origins of 16th Century music and chart its evolution to the Baroque, through the classical period to Romanticism, and onto some of the great giants of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Verdi and Puccini. We will focus both on progression of instrumental music as well as the evolution of the musical instrument, and the beginnings of opera and its growth and maturity throughout history. Special attention will be given to the concert and opera season in Florence during the academic year, and students will be required to attend the operas, symphonies, and concertos at the Opera di Firenze, Teatro della Pergola, Teatro Goldoni and Accademia del Fortepiano.
  • Theory
    Instructor: Kamran Khacheh
    Three levels are offered in theory. First two levels are one hour each, with 20 minutes alone with each student to work on keyboard techniques, keyboard harmony, and sight-reading. This is a way for students to connect more personally with their professor and help them understand European teaching style and the importance of the work. The European style emphasizes the importance of a solid theoretical foundation which takes time and discipline to develop.

Student playing violinAffiliate institutions include the following:

  • Scuola di Musica di Fiesole
    Principle courses of study: Voice; Piano; Guitar; Strings; Woodwinds; Brass; Keyboard and Percussion Instruments; Musicology; Early Music; Chamber Music; Orchestra.
  • Scuola di Musica di Sesto Fiorentino
    Principal Instruments or Voice: Piano, Harp, Guitar – Classical and Electric, Flute, Recorder, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Contrabass, Voice and Vocal Technique, Percussion (Drum Set and Electric Keyboard), Accordion.

    Supporting courses: Theory and Solfege, Harmony, Music History, Keyboard Harmony, Composition and Musical Analysis, Chamber Music Ensembles, Wind Ensembles
  • CAM- Centro Attività Musicali
    Individual Instruction: piano and electric keyboards; electric and acoustic guitar; electric bass guitar; vocal technique; saxophone and electronic saxophone; clarinet; flute; trumpet; accordion; violin; vibraphone; percussion [ethnic, Latin American, frame/hand drums (Tamburello)

    Theory and Musical Literature:
    • Ear Training: education and development of the musical ear in a melodic sense. The course includes the study of theory and the literature of music (levels 1 and2)
    • Rhythm Training: education and development of the musical ear in a rhythmic sense. The course includes the study of theory and the literature of music (levels 1and 2)
    • Harmony and Improvisational Technique: levels 1 and 2; a third year is for those advanced students who meet occasionally (every two to three weeks) to focus on arranging
    Jazz History and Guided Listening; varies, e.g., a seven week course on Jazz & Drums, The History and Evolution of Jazz as told by a Jazz Percussionist; or a one day seminar on The Brazilian Guitar
    Chamber Music; various levels. Music for small groups (jazz and latin combos, funk, blues, pop and rock bands, popular and ethnic musics)
    Vocal Ensemble; varied options depending on enrollment
    Percussion Workshop
    Drumming Jazz Style; advanced level; from swing to free jazz
    Training of Interpretation
  • Tempo Reale—Individual instruction in electro acoustic and computer music

Student singingStudents may also take part in choruses at the Accademia San Felice, the Duomo, and Santa Croce and the University of Florence. Occasionally, at the discretion of the Director of the Sarah Lawrence College Music Program and the Director in Florence, advanced students of music may study instrumental performance, theory, and history independently with members of the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini, the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, or the Orchestra Regionale Toscana.

Students should familiarize themselves with the differences in musical notation systems between the United States and Europe. There are numerous Web sites that compare musical terms in different languages. We recommend the following:http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/.

Students will audition and be interviewed for individual instruction at the specific institutions to which they are applying when they arrive in Florence. Instrumentalists and vocalists will perform a piece of their own choosing for placement purposes. They may be asked to play a technical exercise as well. They should also be prepared to take diagnostic tests in solfège and theory and harmony, including sight-reading, sight-singing and dictation. Each candidate will be placed at a level of study corresponding to his or her abilities. All students applying to the music program in Florence must be approved by and receive initial guidance from the Director of the Sarah Lawrence College Music Program. Final programs will be arranged and approved by the Director in Florence.

Student playing pianoStudents will be able to practice at the Sarah Lawrence College Program Center in the Palazzo Spinelli until 6 p.m.
Music students are provided with free tickets for all major operas and concerts available in the Florence area during their stay. Students are required to attend six operas and/or concerts per semester. Musical activities and places of interest include:

Internships may be available at Teatro della Pergola (theater, concerts, opera, ballet), Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori Amici del Fortepiano (original keyboard instruments, restoration, concerts), Teatro Comunale (opera, concerts, ballet), and Tempo Reale (electroacoustic and computer music).