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I have no background in the technicalities of music and the instruments it involves. I am, however, closely acquainted with other crafts that call on a similar use of one's faculty of aesthetics (like writing and films).

I have, just like everyone else, musical sensibilities. And it can hardly be refuted that music is as technical a subject as any, and that it requires in-depth analysis. So it doesn't look like sensibilities will take me far.

I am taking a gap year from April 2016 to May 2017 and I wish to attain a decent knowledge of music and all the things that it encompasses. Since I wish to study it only as a hobby, and don't see it as something I'd want to major in, I'd be satisfied with whatever I can get.

I'd typically want my knowledge to extend to the understanding of a few instruments (only a plus if I can play a bit on five or six different ones).

Is there an institute which offers such a course? I'm 18 and live in India. I'm willing to travel to any country. The duration should ideally be between 3-6 months, though that's not a strict rule.

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I am not sure I can recommend any institutions around here, but I can certainly recommend some of the courses offered online by Coursera, which might be useful to you in preparation for a course at a "non-virtual" establishment:

Coursera Online courses

They are actually courses put together by various universities around the world, and having done several of them myself, I can say that (at least the ones I have done) have been of a high standard and very informative.

Most of their courses can be done for free, but if you wish to come out with some sort of certification then there is a fee.

Some courses they currently have that might be relevant:

  • Modern Musician (Berklee College of Music)
  • Introduction to Classical Music (University of Michigan)
  • Survey of Music Technology (Georgia Institute of Technology)

(and several others).

PS I have no connection with Coursera at all, apart from having done a few of their courses.

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I would advise you to create your own program of studies, and take private lessons in one or two instruments at a time, with weekly lessons (45 minutes long) and plenty of daily practice. Make sure the two instruments aren't such that one would confuse you with regard to the other. For example, don't study violin and cello at the same time, because the way you hold the bow is just different enough between the two that your hand would get confused between the two.

As you get farther into this project, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you adjusted down the number of instruments you feel to be a decent minimum. You can learn so much about music be delving deeply into a particular instrument's expressive potential, and its particular repertoire of pieces.

This would be so much cheaper than spending an arm and a leg to travel somewhere far from home.

On the other hand, if you're trying to kill two birds with one stone, and you really want to spend some time somewhere new -- then just pick a place that appeals to you, and that you can afford, and look for a private teacher in that place.

Choose your private teacher(s) carefully (by observing someone else's lesson with that teacher).

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