paris photo
I remember my first day of my flute lessons at the Schola Cantorum vividly. I was still adjusting to my new lifestyle in Paris and then I had new repertoire to learn right off the bat. What a way to be thrown in!
– Melissa Saternus
Bradley University

visual art and music in paris

Paris is one of the world capitals for art, music and the performing arts, and there is no shortage of ways in which a student can plug in to the local scene. Paris is an ideal place to study art because the city is the classroom. Students have access to master artworks housed in the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou Centre and other Parisian museums such as l’Orangerie, Musée Picasso, Musée Rodin, which are free to art students. Classes also take full advantage of at art-historic venues such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles, Giverny, Chartres, Vaux le Vicomte.

Modern Paris is a center for opera, jazz, classical, world and contemporary music, and France subsidizes concerts for students under 25. “Musical passports” offer students concerts at an even lower cost. Students can further inquire about this during their on-site orientation in Paris.

In addition to required French language courses, students can choose art and music electives from the following areas:

Visual art in Paris

Central College Abroad collaborates with several art academies allowing you to live in Paris as an art student during your study abroad experience. Several courses are open to students of all language levels and can be taken at no additional fee. Course work is available in the following areas:

Art history Painting
Ceramics* Photography*
Textiles *

Students interested in art opportunities must inform Central College Abroad of their interest prior to departure. Please inquire with the on-site resident director, Shelley Cavaness, for more details.

*High intermediate level of French is required.

Additional art opportunities

Additional housing options that include additional studio space are available for art students. By request only. Students must inform Central College Abroad of this request prior to departure.

Creative opportunities
Students attending art schools also have the opportunity to participate in art shows and exhibits. These are organized through the schools and instructors who are responsible for the student’s lessons.

Music lessons

Central College Abroad collaborates with La Schola Cantorum Conservatory, a world-renowned conservatory just a few minutes' walk from the Central College Abroad center in Paris. Students have the choice of 30, 45 or 60-minute lessons in French or English. Students with at least two semesters of French prior to the start of the program can take advantage of the many free conferences and workshops given in French. Music lessons are available to all Paris program students at no additional fee.

La Schola Cantorum offers the following instrumental and vocal lessons:


  • Alto
  • Guitar
  • Harp
  • Mandolin
  • Violin
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Piccolo
  • Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Harpsichord
  • Organ
  • Piano
  • Jazz piano
  • Percussion


  • Opera
  • Voice
  • Variety and jazz

Additional conservatories can also be explored (may require an audition). The on-site staff is happy to investigate additional needs and particular music requests. Please contact your Central College Abroad representative to explore your options or make a request.

Music courses

Students with at least an intermediate level of French may take courses alongside other conservatory students. Most students opt for courses in music theory or music history; however, additional courses may be available (see below). Some courses may require a prerequisite. Please confirm with Paris resident director, Shelley Cavaness.

Sample semester courses offered:

  • Analysis
  • Analysis interpretation
  • Chamber Music
  • Chorus
  • Composition
  • Counterpoint
  • Deciphering
  • Fugue
  • Guitar accompaniment
  • Harmony
  • Keyboard harmony
  • Music appreciation
  • Music for children
  • Music History
  • Orchestration
  • Operetta
  • Solfeggio
  • Solfege singing

Additional music opportunities

Practice rooms
Given that music students have special needs, in the past Central has found housing options that offer pianos and practice spaces. We request that students let us know before arrival if they have practice needs. Students enrolled at a music conservatory have options for reserving a practice room.

Students enrolled at a music conservatory have the opportunity to perform in a music ensemble. Advanced students also have the opportunity to perform in an orchestra. Such opportunities are organized at La Schola Cantorum through music lesson instructors. Students may also participate in a choir through La Schola Cantorum or the Catholic University of Paris (where language courses are taken). There are also dozens of choirs, orchestras and ensembles organized by the city of Paris that the program explores throughout the semester. Please inquire with the on-site resident director, Shelley Cavaness, for more details.