Why Study the Italian Language if you are a
Professional or Amateur Musician?

by Janice Tucker Rhoda

Just like stringed instruments, I am convinced it is never too late to begin studying a new language and become very proficient at it.

Why is Italian easier for people who know English? There are hundreds of Italian words similar to English words. They are called COGNATES. Some cognates are exactly the same. Of course the pronunciation is different.

banana = banana
banca = bank
bicicletta = bicycle
broccoli = broccoli
caffé = coffee
capitale = capital
cinema = cinema
congratulazioni! = congratulations!
costume = costume
dizionario = dictionary
dottore = doctor
eccetera = etcettera
ecc. = etc.
elefante = elephant
frutta = fruit
garage = garage
immediatamente = immediately
importante = important
intelligente = intelligent
matematica = mathematics
musica = music
ordinario = ordinary
paradiso = paradise
pasta = pasta
pilota = pilot
pizza = pizza
professore = professor
radio = radio
romantico = romantic
rosa = rose
spaghetti = spaghetti
stazione = station
studente = student
televisione = television
tigre = tiger
treno = train
zero = zero

Perhaps some of the following words and phrases are familiar to you?

uno = one
due = two
tre = three
quattro = four
cinque = five
sei = six
sette = seven
otto = eight
nove = nine
dieci = ten

Ciao = Hi or Good Bye
Arrivederci = Good Bye
A presto! = See you later!

Come stai? = How are you?
Sto bene, e tu? = I'm fine, and you?

Buona giornata! = Have a nice day!
Buon giorno = Good morning, Good day
Buon pomeriggio = Good afternoon
Buona sera = Good evening
Buona notte = Good night

Grazie = Thank you
Mille grazie = Many thanks
Grazie infinite = Thank you very much
Prego = You're welcome
Di niente = It was nothing
Per favore = Please

Italian is the primary language used in the music of professional and amateur musicians. We learn Italian from the very first day of playing our instruments. Studying Italian is mandatory for professional opera singers, conductors and musicologists.

Musicians know hundreds of Italian words:

allegro = cheerful
appassionato = passionate
chitarra = guitar
con fuoco = with fire
contrabasso = contrabass, double bass
energico = energetic
espressivo = expressively
furioso = furious
lentamente = slowly
lento = slow
meno = less
musica = music
non troppo = not too much
pianoforte = piano
piú = more
poco = little
presto! = quick!
quasi = almost
senza = without
tempo = time
tranquillamente = calmly
viola = viola
violino = violin
violoncello = cello
vivace = lively

Perhaps you have already taken a beginner adult Italian group course and would like to practice your pronunciation, expand your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, and begin speaking more fluently with a patient listener and thoughtful responder. It takes practice and excellent materials along with proper guidance from a supportive, knowledgeable teacher. Perfect the skills you already have in a more personal setting geared towards you.

Analogous to studying stringed instruments in a group setting to begin with, I highly recommend moving on to private Italian lessons. Conversational Italian courses are highly motivating, as are musical ensembles for string players and all musicians.

In addition to being a String Teacher, I was Teacher Trained and Certified to be an Italian teacher in Florence, Italy. I have enjoyed tutoring beginning and intermediate level students in the Italian language. Of course, with my lifelong devotion to the ABCs of Strings and Complete Technique method series I no longer have time to teach Italian.

Sonia Parravano is an excellent Italian teacher for children and adults at Dante Alighieri Society and Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Massachusetts, USA. Perhaps an adult center in your area offers Italian classes.

Try studying the beautiful language of Italian. It will increase your knowledge of musical terms along with learning this language. It is so well worth the effort for musicians at all levels.

Best wishes to all! = I Migliori Auguri a Tutti!

Janice Tucker Rhoda
Author of ABCs of Strings and Complete Technique
Published by Carl Fischer Music

Article: Why Study the Italian Language if you are a Professional or Amateur Musician?
Copyright © September 30, 2010
by Janice Tucker Rhoda
Inspired by my Italian teachers in Massachusetts USA and Florence Italy, and all the professional and amateur musicians I have met.