Aside from regular performing MUSICàNTICA offers also workshops and seminars about topics strictly related with the music and the culture it represents. Moreover, other corollary activities such as puppet theater and mask making can be arranged on a contract basis with the appropriate time and budget agreements. At the moment, MUSICàNTICA offers four types of workshops for both children and adults.

Frame Drum Workshop

The tamburieddhru (tahm-booh-ree-AH-doo) is a frame drum used to lead the pizzica tarantata, an ancient form of tarantella born in the area of southern Italy known as the Salento, the peninsula forming the heel of the Italian boot. Led by the Salentine master drummer Enzo Fina, the workshop presents historical and symbolic characteristics of the drum exposing the participants to an understanding of the cultural traits, the human struggle, and the healing process that characterize the instrument. The practical aspects of drumming, the hand and body movement are then explained emphasizing the aspect of togetherness in what it can be described as a communal learning experience. MUSICàNTICA will provide for about a dozen drums. We encourage everyone to bring along a tambourine (single head drum with a frame adorned with jingles or small cymbals) in case no more of our drums are available.

Tarantella Dance Workshop

Enzo Fina teaches the steps of the tarantella according to the way he learned them while growing up in his native Salento. This type of tarantella is also known more appropriately as pizzica tarantata. The Salento is the area in which the dance was born out of the psycho-social phenomenon known as tarantismo. This was a state of prostration and deep depression due to an alleged spider bite. The victim, most often a woman, was supposed to dance for an extended length of time in order to get rid of the venom. Enzo Fina and Dr. Roberto Catalano teach and play the dance as it was performed during the therapy and show how it eventually developed into a fun, courting endeavor. In addition, they present another dance called danza scherma, a dance that simulates a skirmish with knifes, directly derived from the tarantella.

Benas Workshop

The bena, pl. benas, is a reed clarinet from the island of Sardinia (Italy). It is an instrument of ancient origins common in many Mediterranean traditional cultures. In Sardinia, this small instrument was conceived originally as a toy and only later “upgraded” to the status of self-contained musical instrument. Used by both peasants and shepherds, nevertheless, the bena keeps its toy-like essence in the way it looks and in its unpredictable sound. Dr. Catalano captures that very quality of the instrument in his teaching both children and adults how to make these pretty sounding clarinets. All that is needed in term of tools is the appropriate cane segments, which are provided, a Swiss army knife,* and a bit of patience. It takes approximately ten minutes to make a complete instrument. Children particularly appreciate this workshop because of the interesting process of making the benas but also because Enzo Fina teaches them how to make a similar instrument made out of soda straw. In doing so we successfully sought out to eliminate the danger of injuries that may be caused by the use of a sharp pocket knife.

Note: It is recommended the supervision of an adult person for all children since the use of a knife is required in order to make these instruments. Also never let the children walk or run while holding the instrument in their mouth.

Making Recylced Material Musical Instruments Workshop

In his introduction to music, Enzo Fina teaches how to make musical instruments using recycled materials. It is interesting to see meaningless trash such as paper plates, plastic bags, tooth picks, ice cream sticks, straws, and rubber bands turning into pretty pleasant sound makers. At the end of the workshop Fina leads a festive performance with these odd instruments.