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Pop Piano Improvisation Course
(for adults & teens)
in conjunction with P.B.E.Syllabus™
Mode of coaching: one-on-one (individual)
Lesson duration: 45minutes
Lessons frequency: 1 lesson per week
Prerequisite: Zero music background
Course duration: Level 1 (2-4 months*), Level 2 (6-9 months*), Level 3 (6-9 months*), Level 4 (6-9 months*) *Subject to individual's learning pace and preferences
Students with little to zero background can enroll to P.B.E.S™ Level 1. Students with reasonable music background can enroll directly to P.B.E.S™ Level 2. Click here ► for self assessment to determine your current P.B.E.S™ Level
Please note as well that the entire course can also be fully customized upon request (without following the P.B.E.Syllabus™)
The pop piano style covers contemporary improvisation techniques that can be used for almost any song (including English, Chinese, Korean ballads, or even Japanese anime and contemporary worship). Unlike classical piano, a pop pianist takes the basic skeleton of a song and then plays and embellishes the song as he sees fit. There are so many different ways to play any specific song. Learn the true art of improvisation in pop piano, and develop your own improvisational style. Click here ► for course charges
Syllabus content for P.B.E.S™ LEVEL 1
(For complete beginners)
You will be able to play a basic song in 4 & 8 beat rhythms using single note melody and basic left hand broken chord patterns. You will also develop good coordination skills between your left and right hand.
Subject: 1:1 | Fundamentals of music notation
Subject: 1:2 | Posture and fingering
Subject: 1:3 | Use of the Sustain Pedal ......
Subject: 1:4 | Play Single Note Melody
Subject: 1:5 | Triads Part (I)
Subject: 1:6 | (1 + 3 + 5) Block Chords
Subject: 1:7 | (1 – 5 – 8) Broken Chord
Subject: 1:8 | (1 – 5 – 10) Broken Chord
Subject: 1:9 | (1 – 5 – 1 – 3 - 5) Broken Chord
Subject: 1:10 | (1 – 5 – 8) broken chord
Subject: 1:11 | End a song with C(add2)
Subject: 1:12 | Ear Training (Part 1)
Syllabus content for P.B.E.S™ LEVEL 2
You will learn to interpret basic fake sheets using intermediate improvisation techniques such as 9th notes, right hand harmonisation and two hand patterns (RH fill-ins) in 8 beat rhythms.
Subject: 2:1 | Fingering Techniques
Subject: 2:2 | Effective Use of the Sustain Pedal
Subject: 2:3 | The 9th Note
Subject: 2:4 | Basics of Chord Inversions
Subject: 2:5 | Two-Hand Patterns
Subject: 2:6 | Broken Chord Technique 1 (Broken)
Subject: 2:7 | Broken Chord Technique 2
Subject: 2:8 | Broken Chord Technique 3
Subject: 2: 9 | Basic intervals on left hand
Subject: 2:10-11 | Basic block chord variations
‘Close Playing’ and ‘Wide Playing’
Subject: 2:12-13 | Octave Displacement
Subject: 2:14-15 | Right Hand 2-Note Harmonization
Triads Part (II)
Subject: 2:16-17 | Ending with Chord Progressions
(Part 1) / Applications of Scales
Subject: 2:18-19 | Level 2 Rhythm Training
Level 2 Ear Training
Syllabus content for P.B.E.S™ LEVEL 3
You will be able to improvise your own choice of songs with different variations using advanced left hand block and broken chord patterns, along with 3 notes right hand harmonizations. You will also explore basic 16 beat rhythmic patterns in ballads and up-tempo tunes.
Subject: 3:1 | Applications of slash chords
Subject: 3:2 | Block chords variations
Subject: 3:3 | 2 note (6th interval) harmonization
& octave playing
Subject: 3:4 | Voice leading
Subject: 3:5 | Dominant 7th chords
Subject: 3:6 | Apply voice leading
Subject: 3:7 | 16th beat left hand patterns
Subject: 3:8 | Up-tempo piano styles
Subject: 3:9-10 | Formation of maj 7th
sus4 and applications
Subject: 3:11 | Fills & embellishments
(using 9th notes)
Subject: 3:12 | Running fills (using scale notes)
Subject: 3:13 | Rhythmic block chord fills
Subject: 3:14 | End a song using more
complex chord progressions
Subject: 3:15 | Level 3 Ear Training
Subject: 3:16 | (Annex B) Revision of
techniques accomplished in Level 1 & 2
Syllabus content for P.B.E.S™ LEVEL 4
You will learn a wider range of improvisation techniques in 16th beat rhythm, including basic chord substitutions and more complex fills that you can apply to your choice of songs. You will also be able to stylize your improvisation with song arranging techniques .
Subject: 4:1 | ii-V-I progressions and
substitute triads in improvisation
Subject: 4:2 | Usage of voicings
Subject: 4:3 | 3-note/4-note right
Subject: 4:4 | End songs with
advanced chord progressions
Subject: 4:5 | Advanced 16th beat
left and right hand patterns
Subject: 4:6 | Improvising with
pentatonic & blues scale
Subject: 4:7 | Motifs as a source of improvisation
Subject: 4:8 | Creating an introduction
with key modulation
Subject: 4:9 | Compound time (12/8)
Subject: 4:10 | Basic jazz theory applicable in Pop
Subject: 4:11 | Level 4 Rhythm Training
and Ear Training
Subject: 4:12 | Left hand approach notes
Subject: 4:13 | Advanced forms
of Pop reharmonization
Subject: 4:14 | Swing, Bossa Nova,
Reggae,Rock & Roll style and other rhythms
Subject: 4:15 | (Annex C)Revision of
techniques accomplished in Level 1 & 2 & 3
P.B.E.S™ ADVANCED (Optional):
The P.B.E.S™ advanced is a long term 1-to-1 fully tailored, private study program under an assigned advanced instructor. Students who have completed the Pop Piano Improvisation Course (P.B.E.S Level 1 to 4) can apply for this program.
You will acquire the most advanced improvisation techniques used by musicians in the industry. You will learn multiple case studies of songs, both as a soloist as well as an accompanist, in a whole gamut of styles used in popular music worldwide. You will also develop the ability to improvise at will, and a good ear for picking up music by ear.
Upon enrolling into the Pop Piano Improvisation course, you will receive the following, exclusive to PBE students only:
1) P.B.E.S™ Student Edition Textbook (for your current P.B.E.S™ Level)
2) P.B.E.S™ Song Excerpts Black Booklet
3) Login ID and Password for P.B.E.I.S™ Online Student Portal
4) Whatsapp Newsfeed
5) Admission to PBE Club where you can enjoy the free usage of the practice studios, discounts on musical instruments & invitations to social events including jam nights / recitals etc.
The option to change your instructor as and when necessary and should you need to do so:
We have lived up to our promise that we will never be offended should you make this decision. Never. As our primary business is providing services to the public, individuals that accept these services do have different chemistry.
It can be due to any reason that may not necessarily be negative, for example the differences in characteristics - whether animated or soft spoken, musical influences, language barriers or simply the matter of not being able to 'click' with another character. We know how tough it is for students to voice out their inner concerns, which is why sometimes we do repeatedly ask them and in the most causal manner to provide a sense of ease. Many may view this as an insult to the instructors or even to the school, so as team instructors, we might be more concerned than you are, if you do not allow us to substitute your instructor, should another work much better for you. There are no politics at our school, as our deep-rooted culture and belief act as reminders that it is impossible for anyone to be pleased in this world, through positive thinking. In retrospect, this really is one of the perks of joining a music school, because you are not bound by just one instructor (should things not work out).
As a team of instructors together, we can testify that no attitude issues are present.
It is a peculiar way to deliver a message to say that we are a friendly team of such, but the truth is that musicians on a more general scope, are infamously known for their eccentricity, sometimes even on an accidental and negative manner (though this is some-what controversial).
We are musicians and we know how our brains are wired and backed by numerous scientific studies and it is proven that we think differently. However so, we want to highlight that this is no excuse for musicians to behave with such attitude. We cannot deny still that on a certain level, we are displaying a certain preconception towards such 'musicians' as well. We can confidently say that over the past 15 years, we have grown, not just as a business but in the way that we think. There is always the saying that it is a different 'ball-game' when it comes to teaching and, in our opinion, that 'ball-game' is not just merely a casual term to use and so we have taken it to another level. We have trained within ourselves, the important of developing good people and team work skills. To an extent, we have studied it and implemented it at PBE and we believe that it is the key to success, in almost whatever you choose to do in life and not just in teaching music - for example, in order to understand our students, their goals and their life-styles. To a certain extent, we must also know when it does or does not matter, if the student practices at all. Our students are our direct customers and as service providers, we are accustomed to adapting our mode of delivery to suit our customer's needs.
We want you to play the songs you listen to. Not 'Mary had a little Lamb'.
It cannot be further stressed how important it is, to learn and play something that you would prefer. Aside from the daunting drilling and Hanon finger exercises, which we cannot deny are beneficial to every pianist - ultimately you should be playing the songs of your choice.
This is your life, your music and your choice. Even as a complete beginner, we have a solution in place. Out of the billions of pop songs, we have carefully filtered out the easiest songs for learning purposes. And for the more modern popular songs, we have used excerpts from sections which are easy for beginners. While you, as a student, have the opportunity to learn the songs of your choice, it is also our responsibility to ensure that the song is suitable for learning. The problem, however, arises when a student learns a song that is too difficult for him or her current playing level. It becomes very demoralising and it is really a big problem, because you will misinterpret learning music as that difficult.