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Bel Canto Singing School or Class in Italy

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Mar 14th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Bel Canto Singing School or Class in Italy

I realize this may not be strictly a "travel" question but I know there are many resources in Fodors so I am going to try.

Plan to spend ~2 weeks in Italy next Spring, but have a hard time finding a school that offers "tourists" classes in Bel Canto singing.

Yes, there are singing schools in Italy, such as the National Academia of Santa Cecilia in Rome. These are "serious" schools for professional singers, or serious singers and usually accept "young, talented singers who want to develop their skills to be opera singers etc.". Some hold auditions for potential students before accepting them.

I am neither young nor aspiring, nor a professional singer nor want to be an opera singer. I just sing for my own enjoyment but want to learn to sing using the Bel Canto technique.

I did find a school in Lecce but the administrator (a soprano) is so condescending and hard to communicate - she would answer me once after every 2-3 attempts, that I am giving up on that school. Also it is almost like begging to go to her school that I don't find it is worth it.

My ideal location would be Rome, or Florence, or Milan, or Verona/Venice.

Does any fellow Fodorites have any leads? Thanks
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Mar 14th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Johnmango,

When I was looking for a language school in Italy, I came across a few schools that offered singing as an option but i'd be hard pushed to remember them!

I love singing too, but am not at a standard that most schools seem to be interested in.

I'll have a search and come back to you!
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Mar 14th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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how about this one:

http://www.centromachiavelli.org/ita...ng-lessons.php

I put "language and singing schools in italy" into the search engine - it came up with quite a few.

good luck!
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Mar 14th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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Thanks Annhig.

I am particularly looking for Bel Canto "natural" style of singing. You are correct, that there are quite a few schools in Italy that offer both language and singing classes. They do not however elaborate further on the singing style they teach.

Other than the school "SpiritoItaliano" in Florence, I have not been able to locate other ones. The first one I mentioned in the original post, was the school in Lecce (www.belcanto.it). Maestro Mario Canana has a glorious voice.
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Mar 14th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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They do not however elaborate further on the singing style they teach.>>

can you not e-mail them and ask them?

Here's one in Milan looks as if it offers quite a few music courses:

http://www.scuolaleonardo.com/Italia...lan.html#canto
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Mar 14th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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and another one:

http://www.dianabeckett.com/linguade...structure.html
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Mar 14th, 2013, 03:34 PM
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Thanks Annhig - you've been a great help!
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Mar 14th, 2013, 03:52 PM
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hi john - i hope so.

I haven't done a singing course in Italy but i have been to a couple of language schools in Italy and was impressed by the standard of teaching at both of them. if you can manage to organise this, I;m sure that you'll have a great time and learn a lot.

do come back and tell us how you got on.
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Mar 14th, 2013, 04:52 PM
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Well, singing the "belcanto" way is almost all in developing the correct way of breathing. I know some private voice teachers in Florence, but frankly speaking you will not make much progress in only two weeks. Most of the tourist courses are more geared to teach Italian pronunciation to students already having their singing technique developed.
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Mar 14th, 2013, 05:28 PM
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I wasn't planning to go for a 2 weeks' course and then declare myself "able" to sing Bel-Canto.

I have been taking some singing lessons here at home. My goal is to take some lessons to get more familiarity with Bel-Canto style while I am in Italy, the birthplace of Bel-Canto singing, and return there at least once a year to continue. This is a long term plan.

That is also why I do not like going to a language school that offers "singing lessons", but rather a voice teacher who is either independent, or part of a music school.

Like I said, many "serious" schools only take young, developing students, or other professional singers who want to "switch" or "learn" the Bel-Canto singing. Even the workshop quoted by Annhig, the "La Lingua del Canto" in the www.dianabeckett.com, on closer look, only accepts young students.

It is funny that if you do a search on Bel-Canto singing, there are many posts from teachers who profess to be Bel-Canto singers and said that other teachers are not. So basically it is difficult to pick out the professionals from the pretenders.
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Mar 15th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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It is funny that if you do a search on Bel-Canto singing, there are many posts from teachers who profess to be Bel-Canto singers and said that other teachers are not. So basically it is difficult to pick out the professionals from the pretenders.>>

John, I suspect that they are like the builder who looks at someone else's work and starts sucking their teeth in disapproval!

have you tried going an internet search for reviews of the ones that you have highlighted as possibles?

I think your plan is a great one, if you can find the right school!
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Mar 15th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Well, teaching singing is very much a matter of opinion. IMHO (working in an opera house since only 25 years), most singing professor really do not understand much what they are teaching and the really competent ones are few and far between. This is another reason why a short class is not going to make a big difference...
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Mar 15th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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lol, asps, you sound quite a lot like the teachers that the OP has found who don't think much of the rest.

we don't all sing as a profession, some of us do it for FUN!
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Mar 15th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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asps: you mentioned that you know of a few voice teachers in Italy (Firenze in particular).

If there is any good Bel Canto teacher who is willing to take an amateur, old and foreign student for a few weeks every year (and I would practice on my own when I return home), please let me know so that I may get in touch with him/her. My email address is [email protected]

This is not a one-time thing, but on-going.

Of course it would be great if he/she will do lessons through Skype. But honestly I am not very sure about doing ONLY singing lessons through Skype. I have taken a couple of Skype lessons with a teacher who said he was a student of Carlo Bergonzi. It is a bit difficult to hear the voice/singing through Skype.

Language is not much of a problem, as I have studied Italian for 5-6 years and generally understand daily conversation.

Thanks
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Mar 15th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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where have you learnt your italian, john?

i ask because i have been learning italian for about the same amount of time, and recently went to Rome to spend a week at a language school. is that something you've ever done?
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Mar 15th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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I started with 2 months' of beginners class at our University Extension night course just before I went to Italy for the first time back in 2003. Then I stopped for a few years and took another Intermediate (10 weeks) and after that I studied on my own, mostly.

I found a group of fellow students and we met every Wednesday to practice. From time to time I've also had private teachers but they never lasted long, a few months here and there, mainly because they are not teachers but someone who were born in Italy. With the teachers I basically practice with them because most of them do not have good command of grammar, except one teacher Rosanna in Vancouver.

Presently I no longer meet with the group because every wednesday I talk on Skype with a fellow student in New York. I find it much easier than doing these so-called "conversation exchange", "Shared Talk" etc. etc.With these exchange website you can find native-speaking Italians, but they want to practice English (not Italian) with you and you want to speak Italian, not English. In the end I find practicing with a fellow student much more rewarding.

I do have a teacher Fabrizio who lived in Toronto and we do lessons through Skype. Lessons again means chatting: we would pick a topic beforehand and just talk. He would correct my grammar or vocabularies from time to time. Presently Fabrizio is in Italy but we continue to have lessons using Skype.

Yes I have also done some classes in Italy. One time (2 weeks) at the Michealangelo Istituto in Firenze - very good school, and afterwards a 2-weeks home stay with a teacher in Montsumanno, which I didn't like because the teacher was very moody. He didn't talk much so it was always me, the student, who initiated the conversation.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 12:30 AM
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I will check in the next days with the people I know. Maybe Skype could be good for language lessons, I do not think it is a great idea for singing lessons. The point is not the noise you make, is the way you make it, the way you breath, the way you use your inner cavities. It is difficult enough to explain live, looking at the person, feeling and touching him/her.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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John, that's very interesting, particularly as the college where I do my italian conversation classes may be setting up a trip to Florence next spring for us to attend a language school there like we did in Rome this year.

there are so many language schools in Florence, it's good to get a recommendation for one.

Because our classes close down over the summer, and because i love to practice, I am trying to set up an italian circle here that would meet once a month, probably in someone's house.

good luck with finding what you are looking for!
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Mar 16th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Annhig: I know we are mixing language with singing in this Travel forum, but I am doing it anyways.

Scuola Michaelangelo is very good. When I went there they also found a home-stay for me, in an apartment literally around the corner (2 minutes walk). with a lady called Olga. She has 2 rooms to rent out to students of the school (and she sleeps in the living room!). She is very very nice and I paid room and board. That included a room and breakfast + dinner. For dinner she always made 3-4 courses dinner and I felt so stuffed that I had to beg her to lay off. She does not cook fancy, but home-style contadini (farmers) cooking. I still remember her ravioli stuffed with veal in a tomato sauce. Yummy!!

Professore Claudio Manella at Michaelangelo is very good. He wrote quite a few grammar books that are sold in bookstores across Italy (Si, L'Italiano da Soli, Italian Plus etc.), and the school also produced many CDs of audio books of different levels.

If you want to practice at home, I am not sure if you know about "Meet-up". "Meet-up" is a world-wide "group" - you can find in many many cities in the world, for people of similar interests to meet. These include book club, tennis, soccer, language such as Japanese, Italian, Spanish. Any hobbies you can name and there s probably a Meet-up group in a city for it.

Do a Google search on "meet up" and you will find it. If there is no Italian Meetup group in your city you can start one. Of course to be an organizer you have to pay the Meet-up website. I started up the Italian Meet-up in Edmonton, Alberta a few years ago and it wasn't very successful. After I disbanded another fellow re-started it, and got the sponsorship of a local Italian market, which provides the space (amnd free coffees) for the group to meet.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 08:05 AM
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Hi John,

nice idea about Meet-up. I'd never heard of it before and looking at the web, there are a few groups locally, but not many - one for IT, another for "social media" and a third for fans of Doc Martin! [I came from cornwall where it's filmed].

Here in the UK we have something similar, albeit aimed at those of mature years, called the U3A [university of the third age]. in fact a friend has suggested using it to set up an italian circle - we already have french and spanish ones in this area - so i have made contact with them to see how to go about it.

I'll let you know how I get on.

your language course sounds like the one I did the first time, in southern tuscany, except that I stayed in a hotel [not my best idea]. the other students stayed with families - most had great experiences like yours but one did not, so she felt doubly bad because the other families were so much nicer than hers. this time we all stayed in a hotel as it worked out better from an organisational point of view, but the plan next time is for us to stay with families.

it looks as if the school and where you stayed are very close to where I stayed for a few days after the course near the San Ambroglio market - I liked it round there very much.
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