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Wigmore Hall As Schiff's Magic Laboratory

Sir Andras Schiff's eloquence as a teacher and profound insights as a thinker about music make his Masterclass sessions irresistible to participants and audiences alike. Through the course of this event an outstanding young musician, chosen by Sir András himself, will explore some of the repertoire featured in the previous evening's concert. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Should pianists play in many different styles?  (Read 369 times)
maplecleff1215
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« on: May 29, 2017, 08:58:31 PM »

Probably a no brainer question here, but I'm asking anyway. I've heard the terms "classical pianist" and "jazz pianist" thrown around. As of yet, I haven't played/learned strictly one style. I plan on exploring classical pieces more, but isn't it a good thing for a pianist to play a style they prefer but still know and be able to play a bit of everything? Is there a specific reason for playing strictly one style?

edit: Just now realizing that I probably should have posted this in "Student's Corner"
oops
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dogperson
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 09:32:19 PM »

Why play only one style?    In my case, TIME!   I have so much left to learn about classical that I don't feel I have time to start jazz piano, and do justice to both classical and jazz....but maybe 'someday'.   Sadly, a day job gets in the way of any diversification. 
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maplecleff1215
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 10:17:16 PM »

Why play only one style?    In my case, TIME!   I have so much left to learn about classical that I don't feel I have time to start jazz piano, and do justice to both classical and jazz....but maybe 'someday'.   Sadly, a day job gets in the way of any diversification. 

That's a good point. c: There is quite a lot to learn in each style. I suppose the one you put more time into depends on which you're more drawn to.
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j_tour
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2017, 03:17:15 AM »

No doubt it's unlikely to know everything about every kind of music.

My strong suspicion is that musicianship isn't valued in the typical diet of the American child keyboard player, perhaps because having good ears and being literate in music aren't as neatly presentable at recitals for the parents and so forth.

I'd be interested to know what proportion of concert pianists are able to do basic things, like play simple tunes by ear, while providing sensible harmonizations, solo or with any ad hoc group of other musicians, and understand the basic accompaniment styles for various kinds of popular rhythms.

I suspect any one of the people you hear on records and on stage would do just fine -- it's probably the children and the less-serious pianists who nevertheless may have an impressive technique who fall short.
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outin
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2017, 03:45:02 AM »

Of course there are so many different "styles" in what you call classical that to explore them all is enough for a lifetime.

For a child it makes sense to explore as many different things as possible. And if one plans to make a living in music the more different skills the better  But for an adult amateur who already has general knowledge of musical styles and has formed likes and interests it does not seem that  necessary. And there's also the time issue already mentioned...
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My summer projects: Scarlatti K87, K466, K109, Scriabin op74 preludes, Chopin Waltz 69-2 and Berceuse. And just exploring more music...
ted
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2017, 03:46:11 AM »

Some players have broader taste than others; I do not think people should feel forced to play or listen to anything they do not enjoy. I myself play and listen to a wide variety of idiom, but admittedly most do not, particularly professionals. For some reason I have never understood, aside from the odd exception, far more jazz, ragtime, stride and swing pianists seem able to play classical well than the other way around. The bias appears unilateral.
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"It's a caution, grandson !"  -  My grandmother's reaction to almost any issue of the day.
maplecleff1215
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2017, 05:55:37 PM »

And if one plans to make a living in music the more different skills the better  But for an adult amateur who already has general knowledge of musical styles and has formed likes and interests it does not seem that  necessary.

I've put a lot of thought into it, and I've decided not to pursue piano as a living even though I'm quite serious about learning. So that being said, I suppose there's no harm in me learning whatever different styles I may like. Even playing as a hobbyist, I strive to get to a near professional level and learn as much as I can.
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maplecleff1215
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2017, 05:57:48 PM »

For some reason I have never understood, aside from the odd exception, far more jazz, ragtime, stride and swing pianists seem able to play classical well than the other way around. The bias appears unilateral.

I don't quite understand that either. I seem to be able to play both classical and jazz just fine. But maybe that's because I'm not being trained in one particular area, nor do I have many years of experience on me.
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visitor
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2017, 07:45:22 PM »

people should learn and play styles to the extent that they enjoy/want proficiency in them and to build the skillset needed to navigate works in that style relative to their need to play them as a means of work/income and career demands.
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