As the fourth largest city in Austria, nestled along the northern boundary of the Alps, Austria enjoys picturesque views across the River Salzach and a history that stretches back to around the fifth century BC. An educational visit to Salzburg is a great introduction to this UNESCO World Heritage Site to learn about the history. The name of the city is derived from the term ‘Salt Castle’, which relates to the large salt barges that were tolled in the eighth century for travelling along the river, for example. However, aside from the fascinating history of Salzburg, there is also a very important aspect that makes it attractive to students – its musical heritage. Salzburg is a music lover’s paradise; students can visit the place where Mozart was born, followed by a trip to the International Mozart Foundation, take in a show at the Jazzit Jazz club, and view some of the locations where The Sound of Music was filmed.
Mozart– Anyone who appreciates classical music will gain a valuable insight from Salzburg to see the way the city relates to its native son, Mozart. A trip to here will be musically very educational; visit Mozart’s birthplace, on Getreidegasse 9, when you arrive in the city and experience one of the most visited museums in the world. Here, you will find the new permanent exhibit that shows Mozart’s life and circumstance while he was growing up. On the third floor of the museum, the individual members of Mozart’s family are introduced and their connections to Mozart’s career are explored. From here, head to Makartplatz 8, the place where Mozart lived from 1773 to 1781. While the building was mostly destroyed during World War II, it has been faithfully reconstructed and now showcases original documents and portraits that tell the family history.
Jazzit – Officially known as “Jazzit-Jazz at the Theater” and located at Elisabethstrasse 11, an educational visit to Salzburg should not overlook the popular forms of music that have also thrived in this city. Jazzit has been running jazz-based culture clubs in various venues around the city since its inception in 1981. In 2001 it was given a permanent home in the basement of the former Austrian Communist Party’s “Volxheim”. You can book tickets to see the concerts that are held weekly and have featured such jazz greats as Henry Threadgill, Cecil Taylor, and Steve Coleman. If you have time, you should plan to see some of the new talent that Jazzit is known for spotting and supporting with their own record label, the Jazzit:Edition, before heading off.
Musicals – Love it or hate it, it cannot be denied that The Sound of Music is one of the most famous musicals of all time. Based on the memoirs of Maria von Trapp, it started as a Broadway show in 1959 and was adapted to film in 1965. While in Salzburg, an excursion to see the Mirabell Castle will be fun as well as educational. Visit the gardens to see where Maria and the children sang Do-Re-Mi, and perhaps try a rendition yourselves; then head over to the ‘Sound of Music’ pavilion in the gardens of Hellbrunn Caslte (Fürstenweg 37) to see where ‘I am 16 going on 17’ was filmed and see what musical inspiration this brings!