An Interview With Sivamani & Louiz Banks


When we last met you, faithful reader, we regaled you with Shresht’s adventures at the Furtados School of Music. But that is not all. Our intrepid writer got an interview with Sivamani & Louiz Banks. We like to call it : 


AN INTERVIEW WITH LOUIZ BANKS AND SIVAMANI

Q) What is your take on Furtados as a music institution?

Louiz Banks: Now see, I’ve always been an admirer of the Furtados School of Music. It’s great of them for introducing this concept to India and I can assure you it isn’t an easy task. It is a feat applaud-worthy. They are providing world class facilities, be it the instruments or the teachers. They’ve moved in strength from a tiny school to this huge brand. I’ve noticed they have a very systematic curriculum and the syllabus is highly interesting. All I can say is, any child that comes here is in good hands.

Sivamani: We are very lucky to live in the age where Furtados is providing the best of music education and excellent quality of instruments and they will go a long way.

Q) What would you advise today’s budding musicians?

Louiz Banks: Children, you need to grow and evolve and make the most of the facilities being offered. You’ll are getting an opportunity to learn with good teachers and are closely connected to good instruments. A cycle will get developed with the flow.

Sivamani: Other than commitment and ample of practice, you do not need anything else. You need to focus on the lessons and duly reciprocate.

Q) Given the ongoing trend of heavy western influence in modern day music, should composers stick to this or revisit our Indian culture?

Louiz Banks: Absolutely! They should adapt it in their music for the Indian systems. Adapt western training into Indian ragas and create a new style of music and develop this further to pave the path of future of Indian music.

Sivamani: Look at musicians like Louiz Banks and Neeladri Kumar! They are fusion musicians and they’ve raised the bar of Indian music. I, myself, believe in very basic folk drumming and like to keep my idea of fusion simple. Composers should definitely explore this trend.


And to get down to the brass tacks: Here is the list of programmes that FSM offers: 

A customized programme has been developed by Rowan J. Parker, a music examiner at the Rockschool of London who holds over 25 years of musical experience. Their brochure enlists the following details: 


DRUMS AND GUITAR

A progressively designed programme specially created in the UK for Furtados, which inspires solo and band performance for music lovers of all ages.

HEARTS AND VOICES

Choir project and singing classes for all age groups. Songs are taught across numerous genres including popular, western classical, folk, songs for festive occasions and some treats from across the world (sung in their original languages).

PIANO

For the first time in India, an international Piano learning curriculum with an interactive aid for children for age 4 onwards.

Children of age 4 onwards: Children’s Music Journey – 3 year programme
Children of age 10 onwards: Piano Suite Premier – 5 year programme.


The Children’s Music Journey programme (also known as the musicianship programme) makes use of the Kodály method of teaching through interactive software. The Kodály Method uses pictures, movable-do, rhythm symbols and syllables to develop musical skills and concepts in very young children.
It teaches the child to understand a steady beat and pitch through singing.
Held in group classes of children of ages 4+, it is a 3 year programme. Along with the FSM tutor, the child is taught music by various animated historical composers such as Beethoven, Bach and Mozart.
 
The Piano Suite Premier programme, aimed at children of ages 9+, also makes use of integrated software which teaches the student to play the piano using visual and audio feedback. This programme provides an edge to the students who have mastered the aforementioned course since they already know their fundamentals.

Another fantastic initiative of FSM is their “Let’s Talk Music” programme. Targeted at adults, the art of music appreciation is taught through informal seminars, group discussions and educational insights into music.

Ryan Lewis, senior mentor at FSM, told us, “Furtados School of Music aims at providing the best of both worlds – traditional as well as modern music. Our method of teaching was originally practiced in Europe and now we’ve brought it to India. Our courses provide exciting prospects and all of us are willing to put in as much time and effort required to provide highest of quality. We make use of advanced computer software integrated with singing to spread music education.”

Rowan adds, “Designing the curriculum for FSM is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it has been a privilege and great honour. There is nothing like this anywhere. We have a full time bottom-up integrated course with unique features. I say integrated because all the instruments, namely the guitar, drums and piano, can be played together. I’ve trained the teachers myself and we are providing great facilities.”

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