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Frequently Asked Questions about "Si parla, si canta"

We try to be as clear as possible on the website, but occasionally there are questions. Here are a few of the most frequently asked ...


Q: “Are there any scholarships available?”

A: The short answer is "no." If you've done research on these kinds of programs in Europe, you already know that "Si parla, si canta" is the least expensive program of its type. We try very hard to keep the tuition as low as we can. We have neither private nor corporate backing to cover any shortfalls in our budget. What we DO have is a brilliant and dedicated faculty who believe so deeply in the program that they are willing to work for a fraction of what they might be able to garner elsewhere.

All of that said, we do know that money is difficult to come by in these times. Let me share some ideas about how you might be able to get some funds for this project. Many participants have given little benefit recitals in their home towns. Churches and libraries can frequently be persuaded to donate space for such an event ... or maybe your high school alma mater. We have found that the best strategy is not to charge admission, but to put out a basket and publicize the fact that you are seeking money for an extraordinary opportunity. It's this kind of plan that often makes $100 bills appear. If you're still a student in a college, university, or conservatory, by all means inquire if that institution has a student opportunity award for summer programs. Many schools have such things, but tend to forget to publicize them. Find out if there's an Italian-American Cultural Society in your home town. Italians are thrilled when Americans want to learn their language and will often be glad to try to facilitate the process. By all means, ask your family and friends if they have frequent flyer miles they might be willing to donate to the cause. Hope this helps.


Q: “What city should I fly into in Italy?”

A: If you’re coming from the States (or anyplace else, for that matter), we recommend that you fly into Milano’s Malpensa Airport (MXP). If you’re coming from another city in Europe, the Middle East, or Asia, it might be more convenient for you to fly to Bologna, Ancona, Rimini, or Forlì.


Q:“When should I plan to arrive?”

A: IIn 2017, the program officially begins on Saturday, June 3rd. If coming from the States, you should plan to fly the night of June 2nd, arriving in Milano early Saturday morning. If you’re coming from somewhere else in Europe, you should plan to arrive in Italy sometime Saturday morning, June 3rd.

Q:“Once I’m in Italy, how do I get to Urbania?”

A: If you’re arriving in Milano on Saturday morning, June 4th, just wait at Malpensa Airport until the chartered bus arrives, either late morning or early afternoon (time to be decided). We’ll tell you where to meet up with other participants at the airport. The bus will take you directly to Urbania. If you’re arriving at another airport (Bologna, Ancona, or Forlì, for example), you’ll have to take the train to Pesaro. The same bus that will be bringing participants from the Milan Airport will stop late afternoon at the train station in Pesaro to pick you up on the way to Urbania.


Q:“What are the apartments like?”

A: All apartments are completely furnished and have fully appointed kitchens, ready for you to start cooking. Bed linens and towels are also furnished. Some apartments have clothes washers; others do not. Clothes dryers are extremely rare in Italy, so it’s doubtful there will be one in your apartment.


Q:“Are there phones in the apartments?”

A: Don’t plan on there being a phone in your apartment. There are several options for staying in touch:

· You can bring a cell phone with you that has an international plan. Most of the big carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) have such plans.

· You can buy an Italian cell phone with a SIM card that you can load with minutes VERY inexpensively.

· You can buy a phone card (called a ‘scheda’) which you can use with the public phones. These are quite inexpensive, but the public phones, themselves, can be temperamental.

· You can load ‘Skype’ onto your own laptop computer and make international calls for FREE!

· You can go to an establishment in Urbania called ‘The Internet Point’. The proprietor there, an extremely friendly and helpful English-speaking Pakistani named Muneer, has a row of computers for hire on one side of the room and a bank of international phones on the other. Calling from there is very, very cheap.


Q:“If I’ve chosen the option of living with an Italian family and I have dietary restrictions, can they accommodate me?


A: Absolutely. Just make sure we know exactly what you need early in the process.


Q:“I’m terribly allergic to cats. Will that be a problem if I’m living with a family?”

A: Not at all. Just make sure we know early in the process.


Q:“May I choose my own roommate in the apartment?”

A: Surely. If there’s someone with whom you’d like to share an apartment, just let us know. We’ll do our best to accommodate you.


Q:“I’m on medication for a chronic condition. Can I buy my medication in Urbania?”

A: There is a small hospital in Urbania and two very nice pharmacies within a couple of blocks of the language school. The people that work there are very helpful and friendly. That said, I would recommend that you bring any medication you need with you. If you need for us to make arrangements for someone to give you injections of the medication you’ve brought, that we can certainly do.



Q:“How can I find music for the ensembles I’m assigned?”

A: No worries there! “Si parla, si canta” posts ‘PDF’ files on the website of all the music we perform which you can access via a special link that is provided only to the participants. You will be able to download these files to your own computer and print whatever you need.


Q:“What kind of music should I bring to work on?”

A: In case there was any question about this, we work only on music in Italian. (There are a few exceptions to this...the American Music Concert in week number 5, being one.) Bring the songs and arias you’d like to study, both old and new. Whatever you decide to bring, bring 3 copies ... one for you, one for the pianist at your coaching, and one for the coach, him/herself. Some singers like to bring complete roles to study. Do bring that stunning piece of American Musical Theatre or American art song for those occasions when it might be appropriate.



Q:“What is the attire for the concerts?”

A: Men should bring a dark suit (or a nice sport jacket) and tie. Women should bring a gown, but remember that the venues in which we perform are typically not air-conditioned. Bring something light-weight that travels well.


Q:“How can I get to my flight back home after the program is over?”

A: We will provide a bus back to Milano after both the 4 week program and the 6 week program. It will take most of that day for you to get from Urbania to Milano on July 2nd (the 4 week program) or July 16th (the 6 week program), so you shouldn’t make plane reservations for that day. That means you’ll have to stay in a hotel in Milano on that Saturday night before your flight home on Sunday morning. Don’t worry about that yet. We know safe and inexpensive hotels there, and can help you make reservations before you depart Urbania.


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