From your very first notes and basic understanding of the new, fascinating music language, to your first piano song where you play with both hands simultaneously I will guide you step by step. The ability to play piano for the very first time can seem very daunting to even the most passionate music lover, yet with my 30 years of tailored piano coaching experience you will feel safe and motivated from the first note.
• Basic theory concepts
• Basic Scalic Index (Major and Natural minor options)
• Various song sets that increase in right hand/melodic pitch ranges systematically
• Left hand notes are slowly introduced in conjunction with the right hand notes
• Piano songs become longer as more confidence in playing familiar pitch and rhythmic patterns are evident
• Own choice songs can also be requested for an additional fee; these songs are arranged for the individual student’s ability
• This level consists of more complex rhythmic patterns that also incorporate a wider pitch range in both hands respectively
• A more varied song choice palette exists for this level
• Scalic Index include Blues scale, various modes and harmonic and melodic scales
• More focus is given to articulation, dynamics (volume) and interpretation
• Some easier classical pieces are also included in this option
• Students can at this level explore Jazz, Gospel and Pop Piano options [links to each]
• With the advanced level option students learn about a deeper level of multi-modal integration between score reading, interpretation and improvisation
• Improvisation focuses on becoming familiar with various compositional ‘toolkits’ that we use in creating melodic, rhythmic, harmonic and structural variation, as well as to explore creating new material from scratch
• Existing pop and Jazz songs are used to explore harmonic interpretation of chord charts as well ‘voicing’ these chords between the two hands so that it sounds full and aesthetically pleasing
• Focus is also given to virtuosic performance techniques that facilitates greater speed in Scalic runs, arpeggiated passages, as well as chordal ‘voicing’
• Song options can be the student’s own choice as well as prescribed
Franco Bello fully engages with the desire for beginner to advanced level piano students to play music that they know and love. Although immense value is to be experienced with classical masters at the start of the music journey, equal enjoyment can be experienced from carefully crafted piano arrangements specifically created for beginners. These arrangements are notated music or guided music videos that assist the piano student to play pop songs at the level of the student’s current development in their music journey. To have your own piano version of your favourite pop song curated by Franco Bello, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jazz consists at its basic level out of chordal extensions, melodic improvisation as well as rhythmic permutations that all work together in a symphony of scrumptious sound. In our Jazz course we create a clear understanding of scales (major, minor, pentatonic, chromatic, blues, modes) material that serve as part of the compositional toolkit, assisting you in exploring short melodic riffs before longer melodies are improvised with. Harmonically we focus on chord extensions, combinations as well as popular diatonic and chromatic chord progressions that are found in many jazz songs. Various rhythmic patterns are also introduced and practised so that the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic strands all become a firm unit showcasing a basic understanding of a Jazz standard. In the more advanced levels we focus on improvisation and song construction.
With more and more religious gatherings opening up again, church bands are revoking the value of live music in church settings and piano/keyboard performers are interested in raising their game to the next level. With Gospel piano we focus on various chord progressions that are typical of Worship songs as well as creating voicings that will foster a neat yet sophisticated technique. Songs are dealt with on a case study basis, and the student is welcome to submit own choice Gospel songs for analyses and interpretation.
THEORY EXAMINATION BODY OPTIONS OFFERED AT FBM
Theory work can include traditional theory as well as popular music theory. Levels include Gr 1 through to Gr 8 in which we focus on key signatures, rhythmic permutations, diatonic chords, cadences, secondary dominates, modulations, analyses and music terminologies. International examination bodies we align with are Trinity, RockSchool, ABRSM as well as London College of Music.
London College of Music
Cambridge International Examinations
The IGCSE academic option is exclusively reserved as an option for students who are currently CIE students or who intend to register with an official CIE centre for the IGCSE and AS/ AL Music examinations, and who wish to receive support via this online study option. IGCSE and A Level Music courses follow a set syllabus geared at preparing students for tertiary studies in music at university level.
History of Music:
A) Unprepared Paper
B) Prepared Paper (based on set works)
A) Unprepared Paper
B) Prepared Paper (based on set works)
Trinity Theory Gr 1 - 5
Gr 1 - 5 level
• Performance Gr 1 - 5 - solo and ensemble
• Composition - 2 songs with varied styles, forms and systematic theme usage and development for solo or ensemble
• IGCSE Music is also uniquely designed to assist the novice musician to learn to read, analyse, compose and perform music (Western and World options) from entry level to advanced level.
Weekly course sections are:
A. Music Theory
B. Ear Training and Listening (including Orchestral Introduction)
C. History Of Music
D. World Music
Weekly assignments and assessments are provided via designed workbooks together with a minimum of 2 x Zoom check-in sessions weekly. Please reach out to Franco Bello here for more information in regards to the format and fees for both academic options.
CIE MUSIC EXAMINATIONS
A Level Music
This academic option is exclusively reserved as an option for students who are currently CIE students or who intend to register with an official CIE centre for the IGCSE and AS/ AL Music examinations, and who wish to receive support via this online study option. IGCSE and A Level Music courses follow a set syllabus geared at preparing students for tertiary studies in music at university level.
A Level is constituted out of two sections: AS Music (1st part) and A Level Music (2nd part)
AS Music (1st part) consists of:
Section A: Baroque set works
Section B: Modern set works
Section C: Music in culture and its connective significance
Composition (2 contrasting pieces amounting to 2 minutes in duration each)
Performance (6-10 minute performance)
A Level Music (2nd part) consists of:
Any two of the following:
• Extended performance - 15-20 minute performance with 1000-1500-word research report
• Extended composition - 6-8 minute composition with 1000-1500-word research report
• Investigating Music - 2500-3000-word essay as well as a c.500-word reflective essay
A Level Music is divided into two separate components that are taken over a period of 18 months normally. AS Level Music lays the foundation with classical music case studies and research content, together with either a performance portfolio or a composition portfolio. The last 6-months option is normally a research report on a specific topic of the student’s choosing which together forms the total grade of the A Level Music course.
Weekly course sections are:
A. General Research (History of Music)
B. Case Study Research (Prescribed works)
C. Orchestral Studies
D. Performance OR Composition
Weekly assignments and assessments are provided via designed workbooks together with a minimum of 2 x Zoom check-in sessions weekly. Please reach out to Franco Bello for more information in regards to the format and fees for both academic options.
FRANCO BELLO MUSIC'S GAP YEAR
Students are coached in either classical piano, pop piano, piano for producers or voice. In these coaching sessions we cover the basics of piano (or vocal) technique, reading notation as well as chord charts with a special focus on interpretation. Students choose after the initial beginner’s course which option they wish to explore further:
a) Classical Piano
b) Pop Piano
c) Piano for Producers
d) Jazz Piano
At the end of the GAP Year course, students should aim to realistically have reached a Grade 2 Level at least, yet ideally a Grade 3 Level is desirable for entrance into a tertiary preparatory programme.
Understanding how music works in both classical/traditional as well as contemporary streams is essential for further study and career options. Being able to read music, interpret jazz chord sheets as well as being able to improvise in a variety of genres - showcasing the understanding of the elements specific to a style of music - is required skills at this stage of the learning experience. Theory forms the basis of understanding and performance is the practical application of this understanding.
Either traditional music theory (Trinity Grades 1 through 5) and/or pop music theory (LCM Grade 1 through 5) are worked through with a set of past papers to test the student’s grasp of each grade’s content before continuing to the next grade level.
C] History of Music
History makes us who we are and we need to know where we come from in order to appreciate where we are and to gauge an effective trajectory for the future.
History studies start with a focus on Baroque (1600-1750), Classical (1750-1830), Romantic (1830-1900), Modern (1900-1950) and Contemporary (1950-present), and then continues to popular music studies including Jazz (Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall), Broadway (Bernstein, Sondheim, Lloyd-Weber), Film (Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry, John Williams, Hans Zimmer) and Rock (Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, U2, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers).
Students are expected to do a fair amount of self-study in terms of listening when it comes to this part of the course as lesson time will not be sufficient to both explore the historic content as well as the various listening components.
D] Ear Training:
Listening well and being able to analyse the various pitch, duration, dynamic and timbrel elements of a song purely by its sonic properties is a skill that needs to be developed systematically and strategically.
Ear training takes the shape of both identifying musical patterns (pitch, then added to duration and then cumulatively enhanced) as well as dictation in which the student will be expected to write down a specific rhythmic-melodic pattern accurately only after two to three lasting sessions.
In the music industry often professional producers and artists are required to single out a specific melodic line played by a bass guitar or a drummer or to change the vocal line of the alto backing singer to fit in with the overarching harmonic pattern. All these scenarios require a developed set of aural skills that doesn’t always come naturally but needs often to be nurtured and curated.
E] Orchestral and Sonic studies
Part of creating music and arranging music consists solely in the textural and timbral fields, I.e. the understanding of how certain orchestral and acoustic sounds work together and which sounds go well and which do not and why. Sonic studies include the exploration of synthetic sounds and the various manipulation techniques that accompany software programs. Apple’s Logic is the program Franco Bello uses yet by and large similarities in various programs will make it easy to still apply distortion, reverb, panning, celesta, chorus etc to midi/sound files to explore sonic changes and the various cultural codes associated with each.
This course is an introductory course only in order to form a basis for both orchestral and digital music composition.
F] Research Techniques
Various research techniques are required when writing an academic opinion piece on for example comparing Bach’s role in the Baroque era as a global leader and innovator vs Handel’s globe-trotting networking ability. Both citing sources accurately as well as creating one’s own opinion and creating the evidence for this requires practise and an awareness of structural lay-out and content strategy. In this course aspect we practise writing various content pieces that vary from pure evidence citations to more broad spectrum opinion pieces in order to create skill in conveying informed opinions that are accurately cited in an academic context.
G] Improvisation Techniques:
One of the most crucial skills as a musician nowadays is to be able to effectively improvise a melody, as well as harmonic content as current production requirements ask of musicians to compete and in fact be more aesthetically pleasing than YouTube loops, free software loops or even AI loops. This skill is based on a deep understanding of harmonic patterns, keys as well as modal scales, cadences and harmonic rhythm, tempo and musical style gestures . In this course we focus on becoming familiar with the basics of keys, modes and commonly used harmonic patterns by using case studies and exploring our own options. Then we explore unusual patterns and find anchors that help to create musical files in the mind that can be used at the drop of a hat. Then melodic riffs are extended into 4-bar phrases and then eventually into 8-bar melodies which then are harmonised in traditional ways as well as unusual (including chromatic options) harmonic patterns.
For each of us being creative is something that we either love or feel quite nervous about. For musicians, often many of us feel that we are just performers, and we leave the creative process to other more talented, naturally creative artists. And sometimes as creative artists we feel that our song writing has become stale and that we need some fresh ideas or just a solid reminder again of various harmonic options available to our creative process.
The intention of this course is to create a safe space wherein you can explore your creative side and see where it leads.
As you create your lyric set, we will match it to a backing track to ensure you are in sync with it in terms of rhythm and rhyme. At this point you can either use a free instrumental track (select one option from the Bonus Section, or peruse YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.) or you could also join me for 1-on-1 coaching and we can use the basics of GarageBand that I will show you in these sessions and that will assist with a few basic harmonies that you can use, if you wish.
Join me now as we explore your own hidden creative self that can serve you so well in many other aspects of your life. As our lives become more focused on survival, being connected to our creativity can really and truly push our abilities through the ceiling into thriving and imagining a better life for ourselves and our families. And what is songwriting but one form of creative playfulness?
Franco Bello Music Workshops
About Franco Bello Music Workshops
• will be conducted over 4 sessions,
• will be 40-minutes long and consist out of creating a clear understanding of the basics of each module
• will consist of an introduction, exposition of new material, practising new material, applying it to a case study/set song in groups and then presenting the group work, after which the challenges and key points will be highlighted in conclusion.
• a practice song will be issued at the end of each lesson so students can apply their skills and prepare for the next workshop session.
• at the end of the 4-week workshop students will perform one of the 4 set songs and apply the various skills covered in the workshop course in order to complete the workshop course.
• upon completion of the course each student will receive a certificate of completion from Franco Bello Music.
Upcoming Workshops 2023:
1. Beginner Jazz Basics 1-0-1 (February 6, 13, 20, 27)
2. Beginner Ballad Songwriting 1-0-1 (March 6, 13, 20, 27)
3. Pop Piano Basics 1-0-1 (April 3, 17, 24)