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Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ? (Read 19781 times)

Offline ruben_mcn

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Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
« on: October 03, 2010, 11:03:31 AM »
Hey Guy,
This fall I´m enrolling at a Music school but i have to decide a couple of things and I would like to hear your tougths..
So i have the option of Studyn Classical style or Jazz Style..  So far the only advantage
I can see it that on the jazz I can learn a lot of improvisation, and there is a little thing that I'm afraid on classical course cause i have a lot of friends that play/ learn classical music and music theory for long time but they can only play what is on the notation sheet... they can´t improvise or anything like that and i really what to take this course so that i can be more creative w/ the knowledge I will Get from it ... and not the oposite...

So Do you think that you can learn the same from either one or is their one that will give me better theory knowledge ?? and For instance if I study jazz will I be to play classical music ( by Sight reading ) ??

and also I´m already 19 do you think its too late to start ??

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 10:55:52 AM »
A classical pianist can generally transfer over to jazz easier than a jazz pianist to classical. Classical pianists base a lot of their strength in the piano from technique where Jazz pianists rely much more on their rhythmic understanding and scales/chord forms and progressions. I am a classical pianist and find the rhythmics nature of jazz extremely difficult to feel naturally (although we can experience Jazz improv in its written form, Kapustin is one example), serious Jazz improvisation is out of my realm for it to just come spontaneously, but I love to play cocktail lounge music which my classical abilities have allowed me easy access to and to improvise fill ins and rhythmic figures etc. I find the connection between Classical and cocktail lounge a very important one for the bridge towards more "serious" jazz work for me. Although I haven't taken this journey yet, maybe in the distant future some where.

Classical pianists have a lot of knowledge that they can apply. You eventually do not really rely on the sheet music except to transfer to you what you have to play, then you can be done with it or only require it partially depending on how your brain works. Theory is not really that important unless you want to compose, if you simply want to play you need to know how to interpret the score, that is about as much theory as you need. Your ear replaces the need for text book theory most of the time. Crafting the classical ear (from listening to many pieces with the score and understanding the musical decision making processes and options) is a good thing you learn if you study classical piano.

In the end you have to ask yourself what kind of music inspires you the most. If you lean more towards the Jazz rhythmic nature as opposed to the sheet music classical then do Jazz. Classical certainly in my opinion has more challenges and can stretch the pianist a lot more, but Jazz has that rhythmic understanding that you will never acquire no matter how much classical piano you study.

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Offline Derek

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 04:35:53 PM »
I started when I was 17. I'm an amateur so it didn't really matter when I started. I wanted to improvise, too, when I started, but I didn't like jazz. My only choice was to learn classical pieces and try to teach myself to improvise in a classical style. Through guitar lessons I learned some basics of scales and chords, and searched the internet for anybody who could do classical improv (and found some, who ended up becoming good friends and mentors). As you can see on this website, there are lots of people who do classical improv that you could ask if you wanted some advice.

So I'd say, choose the one that has the most music you enjoy; you'll be able to learn to improvise either way.

Offline ted

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 08:44:21 PM »
The only sure advice I can give is to be very wary of rejecting anything at all in music, especially at your age. You can develop certain directions more than others, maybe for professional reasons, but music is wonderful in that every aspect influences every other. I myself play about 95% my own improvisation, which is neither classical nor jazz in any accepted sense of the words. However, it has strong influences from both. I do play a small repertoire of classical and it is a precious part of my playing, as is a somewhat larger selection of stride, ragtime and swing. Increasing numbers of people are defying the traditional and silly social imperative to reject large areas of musical pleasure, and that is a very good thing. There is no need for genres to be "versus" one another at all.

So try everything, enjoy everything, and certainly listen to everything. Later on you will be very glad you did.
"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline Bob

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #4 on: October 07, 2010, 09:35:53 PM »
See if you can do both.  Or focus more on one and sit in on the other material classes.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline ruben_mcn

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 05:58:40 PM »
Thanks For the replys Guys :)

Offline keyboardclass

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #6 on: October 15, 2010, 05:22:52 PM »
Jazz is good for the keyboard harmony but the technique is usually pretty stiff.

Offline joyfulmusic

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #7 on: October 31, 2010, 05:17:34 PM »
Great question,

I'm a bit of a mongrel myself.  I played by ear til I was 16,  then started with a traditional classical teacher or two.  The teacher who introduced me to the idea of myself as a real pianist and teacher taught me at age 21.  To this day I teach the way he taught and he is "there" in everything I play.  I'm 64 now.  He played with Boston Pops, taught at New England Conservatory, etc. 

My best advice is to request introductory lessons in each genre.  Enjoy the process!  Making piano a part of your life is great at any age.  I started a man at age 84.  He had two hearing aides and a little electronic piece of crap he played on.  His lessons were a ball.

John Holt wrote a book, "Never Too Late".  He learned to play the cello at 50.  Interesting book about his mental processes and observations.  He was an educator and well known for his work with special needs children.  He debunks the limitations of age very well.

The only difficulty that I encounter with adults is their emotional shyness at being a beginner.  After a few weeks, I often see the adults functioning just like the children do (complete with tongue sticking out when trying to get a new rhythm).  Super achievers are the toughest sell for the pace of learning.

I'd go for a teacher who is comfortable in both genres.  I grow weary of musicans who are proud they can't read music and the other end of musicians who feel superior to everyone.  I start all my students off with a combination of traditional music and the circle of 5ths.

I wish you great joy at the piano.

Offline ruben_mcn

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 12:33:10 PM »
Thanks a lot for the kind words :) that was really motivating..

Offline keyofc

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 12:57:16 AM »

Although classical music is wonderful,
I am partial to jazz.

What do you like to listen to?
What moves you?

You are confined to the sheet music in classical - even if you memorize it.
Although you are free to interpret it within those confines...but there is no improvisation in it.

 Do you want to be creative and play jazz?
Or do you love classical and want to be creative learning how to compose classical
music?  You sound like someone who wants to compose.

If you really love jazz, I would go straight for it .
Don't take the long way around.  Jazz may look easy, but it's not.
The only reason classical looks harder - is there are more graphical representations
of music on classical sheet music.  When it comes to the ear - just as many notes may be played.

I took the long way around - and though I have great respect for classical music - I wish someone had encouraged me to start with jazz.
Good luck whatever you do!

Offline countrymath

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #10 on: December 01, 2010, 03:58:18 PM »
I started when I was 17. I'm an amateur so it didn't really matter when I started. I wanted to improvise, too, when I started, but I didn't like jazz. My only choice was to learn classical pieces and try to teach myself to improvise in a classical style. Through guitar lessons I learned some basics of scales and chords, and searched the internet for anybody who could do classical improv (and found some, who ended up becoming good friends and mentors). As you can see on this website, there are lots of people who do classical improv that you could ask if you wanted some advice.

So I'd say, choose the one that has the most music you enjoy; you'll be able to learn to improvise either way.

Im desperate to learn classical improvisation.

Im intermediate begginer. Who can help me?
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Offline frizzle

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ? Improvisation ?
«Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 03:41:07 AM »
If you want to improvise in a different way, take a look on Music for people http://www.musicforpeople.org/

I'm a "rythmicienne" Jaques-Dalcroze and a pianist. In my formation (classical formation), we improvise a lot and in different style. You will find more information on the web on this too. I suggest you to look the Dalcroze school in USA.

Last year, I took a workshop with Louise Montello (in NYC) where the improvisation is a big part of the approach called Performance Wellness (how to deal with the stress of performance). She wrote some books (Essential musical intelligence) and give workshops around the world.

I teach at cégep (school grade just before University in Québec, Canada) : ear training, analysis and writing. I teach piano too and my student (children and adults) improvise and compose. It's so amazing how the body movement become so natural, how they are so expressive when they improvise and how they listen, really listen music. I'm sure that Bach, Beethoven and all the great composers improvised. Today, when we talk about improvisation, we think jazz. But there is a lot of way to improvise. And it's simple! But the traditionnal school of music have lost this approach.

An example  for you : with my young students, in the first lesson, we take a look on the keyboard and the "motif", You know 3 black keys and 2 black... It's usefull to find every note. It's a visual guide. AND this is the pentatonic mode !! So, we improvise on the black keys to create some "chinese" music. Some times we play together like a duet, sometimes, they play alone. Jazz use this mode too!

With an adult, (who had 8 lessons with another teacher before to come with me), I show her the dorian mode : play D to D only on the white key. The left hand play D and A and the right hand improvise a melody. Listen carefully. It's sound like early music. There is a lot of mode who can inspire you and bring you in other space (other country) or other times. You can find a list of mode on the web. Try it and remember : the key is in the listening. Listen the sound,the music, listen your feeling, your "impulsion" (in french). And ENJOY !




Offline presto agitato

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #12 on: January 15, 2011, 03:38:22 AM »
Hey Guy,
This fall I´m enrolling at a Music school but i have to decide a couple of things and I would like to hear your tougths..
So i have the option of Studyn Classical style or Jazz Style..  So far the only advantage
I can see it that on the jazz I can learn a lot of improvisation, and there is a little thing that I'm afraid on classical course cause i have a lot of friends that play/ learn classical music and music theory for long time but they can only play what is on the notation sheet... they can´t improvise or anything like that and i really what to take this course so that i can be more creative w/ the knowledge I will Get from it ... and not the oposite...
 

Keith Jarrett is one of the best (if not the best) jazz pianist ever and he is classically trained.
He has recorded major classical works (Goldberg variations, Well Tempered Clavier, Mozart concertos etc) and he has been the only pianist who has won The Polar Music Prize (Nobel Prize in music).

I suggest that you see this video:


The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--

Offline ingunite

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #13 on: January 25, 2011, 04:01:33 PM »
If I may offer an analogy comparing the two genres... Pardon the extreme simplification of the issue. 
In the art of dance, sooner or later all serious dance students need to choose whether to become classical ballet dancers or devote themselves to modern dance.
As a rule of thumb, whoever chooses classical ballet training, can later transfer to modern dance studies with relatively few hiccups. Modern dancers, on the other hand usually find it next to impossible to switch to classical ballet due to their technical limitations.
I guess the same basic principle could apply to classical versus jazz piano.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 10:26:26 AM »
Classical: learn more theory, more proper instructions

jazz: learn more about chord progressions, greater improvisers

thats what I notice.
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Offline Derek

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #15 on: October 25, 2011, 03:58:27 PM »
Jazz is a specific style. Baroque is a specific style. Classical is a specific style. Romantic is a specific style. And so on. What classical pianists do is "spread themselves too thin," and learn how past composers' fingers moved from five or six different eras. It is a lot of work. So much work, it crowds out improvisation (in most cases). The reason jazz succeeds is that it is focused on a specific style, with a specific vocabulary of harmony, melody, rhythm and technique, so the task is simpler.

However, this does not mean improvisation cannot fit into classical. But we must be willing to either focus on a specific style or no style at all (in other words, find our own individual style), and possibly make some sacrifices on how broad our classical repertoire of pieces is. Until the overall attitude towards what being a "good pianist" is changes, I believe classical pianists will continue to "spread themselves too thin" with learning how dozens of different people moved their fingers, rather than learning how their own fingers can move in a new way.

Another way to put it is classical piano playing today is more or less a museum profession, it is not a creative profession. The point is to become experts at a wide variety of musical history, by a wide variety of people. The point is not to create something new. People always think "composition" when thinking about classical music, but this is only because people are accustomed to striving with great misery and discomfort to learn difficult ways of moving their fingers that are in many cases not natural.

To change the classical world back into a creative one, we must remove the artificial distinctions between styles, remove the extremely high performance standards (as the ONLY criterion for "good musician"), and remove the endlessly recycled vanity and pride amongst modern classical composers.  I think it is already happening, it is only a matter of time before this becomes true.

Those were just some personal thoughts, from an amateur who thinks a lot in isolation. My thinking is influenced by my profession, software engineering. My entire job is based around battling complexity and making things simpler. So, I believe the reason improvisation stopped happening in classical is simply that the task of being a "classical pianist" became too demanding and too complex after a while.

Offline pianoplayjl

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #16 on: October 25, 2011, 08:53:32 PM »
I agree.
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Offline jazzydanz

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #17 on: July 24, 2013, 06:08:57 PM »
Wow,

This is such a wonderful question......  jazz vs classical.....

I started when I was 5 with classical piano and didn't even really touch jazz until I was in High School.

I have always felt like my classical background has helped my finger technique immensely.  I don't think I would have the facility, speed or touch that I have without the years spent playing classical piano. 

However, there is absolutely no reason that a person can't do both at the same time.  Unless you simply don't have enough time.  I would recommend starting with classical piano to train your fingers.  And then venturing into jazz piano.  With classical you will train your fingers.  With jazz, you will get inside music theory in a way you never will with classical.

My two cents

Dan
http://www.danzemelman.com

Offline ajspiano

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #18 on: July 25, 2013, 01:17:11 AM »
With classical you will train your fingers.  With jazz, you will get inside music theory in a way you never will with classical.

Speaking as someone who has done a good amount of both - what on earth makes you think that you'll learn more about theory in jazz than classical?

There tends to be a general avoidance of teaching much practical theory in a classical context before reaching an extraordinarily advanced level because no one (nearly no one) openly teaches improvisation in that style. In jazz, improvisation is the standard practice and in order to replicate the style the theory comes in to play very early on.

..That doesn't mean that classical music is devoid of theory, or that theory can not be learnt and practically used in that context. In fact, really the context is not jazz or classical its just music, and whether or not you either play exactly the notes you're told or you decide on your own.

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #19 on: September 20, 2013, 05:50:34 PM »

However, this does not mean improvisation cannot fit into classical. But we must be willing to either focus on a specific style or no style at all (in other words, find our own individual style), and possibly make some sacrifices on how broad our classical repertoire of pieces is. Until the overall attitude towards what being a "good pianist" is changes, I believe classical pianists will continue to "spread themselves too thin" with learning how dozens of different people moved their fingers, rather than learning how their own fingers can move in a new way.

Another way to put it is classical piano playing today is more or less a museum profession, it is not a creative profession. The point is to become experts at a wide variety of musical history, by a wide variety of people. The point is not to create something new. People always think "composition" when thinking about classical music, but this is only because people are accustomed to striving with great misery and discomfort to learn difficult ways of moving their fingers that are in many cases not natural.

To change the classical world back into a creative one, we must remove the artificial distinctions between styles, remove the extremely high performance standards (as the ONLY criterion for "good musician"), and remove the endlessly recycled vanity and pride amongst modern classical composers.  I think it is already happening, it is only a matter of time before this becomes true.

Those were just some personal thoughts, from an amateur who thinks a lot in isolation. My thinking is influenced by my profession, software engineering. My entire job is based around battling complexity and making things simpler. So, I believe the reason improvisation stopped happening in classical is simply that the task of being a "classical pianist" became too demanding and too complex after a while.

 :) bump...... brilliant post!

Offline lorcar

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #20 on: September 25, 2013, 03:45:30 PM »
A classical pianist can generally transfer over to jazz

I love to play cocktail lounge music which my classical abilities have allowed me easy access to and to improvise fill ins and rhythmic figures etc. I find the connection between Classical and cocktail lounge a very important one for the bridge towards more "serious" jazz work for me.

Classical pianists have a lot of knowledge that they can apply.

Theory is not really that important unless you want to compose

nice post, thanks

MaY I ask you what kind of knowledge is most useful to "cocktail improvisation"? I started taking piano lessons (classical) again at 38yo, after 20+ years of interruption, and in the meantime I also discovered jazz and Thelonious Monk.
Although my dream is to play bach and schubert, I do believe "play" means "NO SCORE", so improvisation (even at cocktail level) is definitely in my long term objectives. Simply I dont know what to study/read in order to go there in the future.

Thanks in advance

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #21 on: September 25, 2013, 05:36:40 PM »


I do believe "play" means "NO SCORE"



Today my girlfriend and I are performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony arranged for two pianos by Franz Liszt.

It is 104 pages long, and every single one of those pages contains musical and technical difficulties that would make your blood run cold if you saw the score!

Are you suggesting we cannot 'play' it unless we memorize it?

I'm concerned.... we already booked the page turners for tonight! Is our interpretation not going to be good enough because we're playing it with the music?

Would you prefer if the Vienna Philharmonic played everything from memory? Would the music be better?


Offline lorcar

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 06:37:25 AM »


Are you suggesting we cannot 'play' it unless we memorize it?

 not going to be good enough because we're playing it with the music?

Would you prefer if the Vienna Philharmonic played everything from memory? Would the music be better?



you deliberately misunderstood what I meant.  :-)
no chance to play that without score obviously. And for sure that's music 110%.

What I meant is that for me playing means somehow improvising, i.e. no score. I am not saying no score like memorizing, but no score like this



I mean if a friend says "let's go play something together" I am sure he doesnt mean "let's execute that symphony" but he means "let's have fun with music together and see what it comes out"


Offline awesom_o

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #23 on: September 26, 2013, 06:45:52 AM »
For me the answer to that question would be 'it depends on which friend'  ;)

I have some friends I jam  with..... other friends I play with.....some friends I rehearse with....

Offline lorcar

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #24 on: September 26, 2013, 08:00:50 AM »
ok, I see you are trying to train wreck
the question in case you missed it, is "how do you learn to jam"?

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Classical vs. Jazz Instruction... ?
«Reply #25 on: September 26, 2013, 01:04:54 PM »
Work on the blues in all keys. Get down with the basic boogie and stride patterns.  There are endless variations that you can work on to spice things up.

You don't learn to jam. You just jam!