Pop rock guitar course – Level I

Educational objectives

At the end of their studies for the Level I Academic Diploma in Popular Music, students must have acquired the knowledge of techniques and specific skills that will enable them to concretely fulfil their artistic ideas. Starting with the instrument, on which they will have conducted their training, they will also have acquired fundamental skills with regard to musical arrangement, concert production, which follows specific performance methods, record production, electronic media and networks. Specific care must be devoted to the acquisition of appropriate postural and emotional control techniques. Furthermore, with reference to the specificity of the individual courses, students must possess adequate skills in the area of improvisation. At the end of the Three-year course, students must have acquired a thorough knowledge of the stylistic, historical, and general aesthetic aspects of popular music, also for the important and qualifying excursions towards the languages of improvisation. It is also an educational objective of the course to acquire adequate competences in the field of computer music as well as those related to a second European Community language.



Employment prospects

The course offers the student employment opportunities in the following areas:

  • Solo instrumentalist in Pop/Rock groups and major contemporary styles
  • Instrumentalist in Pop/Rock groups and major contemporary styles
  • Instrumentalist in Pop/Rock ensembles and major contemporary styles
  • Arranger for Pop/Rock productions
  • Record production technician, sound technician for pop rock events

Three-year school system

Characterising programmes

Admission Level I

Reserved for students in possession of an upper secondary school diploma or other recognised foreign qualification or, in the case of outstanding ability and aptitude, students who will obtain the qualification by the end of the course of study.


  1. Performance of two pieces taken from the list below, one chosen by the candidate and one chosen by the commission (with accompaniment by bass/double bass, drums and any other instruments).
  2. Performance of a standard of the candidate’s choice (1 Ballad) for solo instrument or voice (in this case accompanied by another instrument).
  3. Performance of a complex piece at first sight. For harmonic instruments: with melody and chord symbols to be harmonised. For harmonic instruments: with melody and chord symbols to be harmonised. For monodic instruments: reading of melody and possible interpretation of chord symbols.
  4. Extemporaneous rhythmic reading test: sight reading of a guitar score with rhythmic and chord symbols to be performed with the instrument.
  5. Assessment of technical skills (scales, arpeggios, etc.).

List of songs to be performed with backing track or original:

1) “The wind cries Mary” (Rhythm and solo part performed by Jimi Hendrix).

2) Rock guitar solo by Steve Lukather in the song “Rosanna” by the group TOTO on the studio album.

3) Theme and rhythm part of the song “I´m buzzed” as performed by Michael Landau on the studio album.

4) Acoustic guitar part of the song “You´ve got a friend” as performed by James Taylor in recent live performances.

5) Eddie Van Halen guitar solo and basic riff of the song “Beat it” on Michael Jackson’s studio album.

6) Riff, solo and rhythm part of “Back in black” full guitar part performed by Angus Young of AC/DC on the studio album.

7) Improvisation of 12 blues bars in the keys of E, G, B-flat, D.

8) Solo and rhythm parts of the tune “Sultan of swing” as performed on the Dire Straits studio album by Mark Knopfler.

9) Acoustic guitar instrumental track “Since we met” performed by Tommy Emmanuel on the studio album.

10) Rhythm and Solo of the song “Manhattan” performed by Eric Johnson on the studio album.

The commission reserves the right to interrupt the test at any time.

The examination is graded in hundredths. Candidates with a mark of not less than 60/100 will be considered suitable.


All successful candidates in the practical test of the Admission Examinations will have to take the following further tests.

Rhythmic Theory and Musical Perception


  • Auditory recognition of short modulating rhythmic-melodic fragments.
  • Reading of a piece in the violin key, either original or taken from the repertoire.
  • Sight reading of a piece in the ancient keys original or taken from the repertoire.
  • Vocal reading of a piece of medium difficulty original or taken from the repertoire.
  • Vocal reading of a piece transposed within the limits of one tone below or one tone above.
  • Discussion on fundamental aspects of theory.

Elements of pop rock / jazz harmony


Knowledge of musical intervals

– Knowledge and application of the major scale

– Knowledge and application of minor scales

– Knowledge of international chord notation

– Basic knowledge of chord structure

– Harmonisation of the major scale (at least by triads)

Theoretical skills tests are assessed by aptitude, aptitude with one-year educational debt or non-aptitude.

The TRMP (Theory, Rhythm and Musical Perception, in Italian ‘TRPM’) educational debt requires compulsory attendance of 81 hours of lessons;

The Elements of Harmony educational debt requires 32 hours of lessons.

All students will be required to rectify their educational debts by the summer session of the current academic year, under penalty of forfeiting their studies.

Internal Propaedeutic and Pre-academic students, in order to take part in the Level I admission tests, are required to submit a new application within the same deadline as all external candidates to the Conservatoire. They are obliged to take the theory tests if they did not obtain the certificates in the previous course of studies.

Exemptions from the theory tests are provided exclusively for candidates who have certifications acquired at AFAM institutions.

For information on admissions, please visit the “Registration” page
The detailed timetable for the admission examinations will be published in a separate notice.


For information on enrolment, please visit the “Registration” page
For information on enrolment, please visit “International > Foreign Students
For information on enrolment, please visit the “Enrolment” page
For information on enrolment, please visit the “Fees” page

Enrolment in years following the first

For information on enrolment renewal, please visit the “Registration” page
The suspension and reactivation of studies is provided for Level I and II courses only, no later than 31 July of each calendar year. Students who have not exceeded 5 academic years of suspension may request the reactivation of their career. Career reactivation cannot be requested for students who have exceeded the aforementioned number of years (the academic credits obtained will be declared obsolete and no longer valid). Career reactivation is only possible if a place is available for the current academic year.

With regard to academic career reactivation fees, please refer to the Fees and Contributions Regulations for the current academic year.

For information on enrolment, please visit the “Enrolment” page
For information on enrolment, please visit the “Fees” page


The Academic Year begins on 1 November of each year and ends on 31 October of the following year. The academic calendar is issued by the Director, by resolution of the Academic Council, normally by 31 May.

Each training activity may entail different methods of conduct and interaction between students and lecturers. In particular, there may be individual face-to-face lessons, collective face-to-face lessons, practice lectures, laboratories, practical, distance and intensive activities, training courses, seminars, projects, artistic productions, reports and production of texts and hypertexts, including multimedia, guided or autonomous individual study activities, tutoring, self-assessment and other activities.


There are three sessions per academic year: summer, autumn and extraordinary.

Students are obliged to book by the deadlines indicated by the Registrar’s Office.

Final Examinations

In order to obtain the qualification for Level I and Level II courses, students who have acquired the required credits must pass the final examination consisting in the writing of the dissertation (Thesis) and the practical test useful to ascertain the achievement of the qualifying educational objectives of the course of study.
Booking the final examination must be made compulsorily on one’s ISIDATA profile under the heading ‘Examinations’.
At the same time it will be compulsory to pay the ‘Graduation fee’ (by means of Pagopa service) of €30.00 by generating the payment by MAV through the ISIDATA platform under the heading ‘Fees’.

Bookings must be received in accordance with the following deadlines:
– 31 May (summer session);
– 31 August (autumn session);
– 31 January (winter session).

Students must have completed their studies at least 10 days before the final examination.

It is compulsory to submit 1 hard copy and 1 PDF/A file of the Diploma Thesis to the secretary’s office no later than 10 days before the date of the final examination. Further hard copies (tot. 4 copies) must be handed in to the commission on the day of the final examination.
Specific provisions can be found in the “Thesis Regulations”.