Exploring the Differences Between Jazz and Classical Piano

Classical pianists tend to focus on the second step: the “how”. This means that they concentrate on the technique and the personal expression they add to the piece. On the other hand, jazz pianists focus on the “what”, which implies that they are always ready to improvise and adjust the notes they play. Generally, jazz pianists like to memorize the solos of their favorite old school jazz musicians.

The classical pianist usually memorizes classical pieces, while a jazz pianist uses his ear to understand it.

Jazz piano

is a collective term for the techniques that pianists use when playing jazz. The piano has been an essential part of the jazz language since its inception, both alone and together. Its function is multifaceted, mainly due to the combined melodic and harmonic capabilities of the instrument.

For this reason, it is a significant tool for jazz musicians and composers to teach and learn jazz theory and set arrangements, regardless of their main instrument. By extension, the phrase “jazz piano” can refer to similar techniques on any keyboard instrument. A second reason why you might want to learn jazz piano is that jazz pianists can memorize hundreds of songs. While classical pianists also memorize the repertoire, they rely mainly on score memory and muscle memory.

On the other hand, jazz pianists focus on learning a collective language. In fact, by memorizing the 8 most common chord progressions in jazz music, you'll be prepared to play hundreds of jazz standards by heart. You can learn these 8 chord progressions in our course to play piano scores with seventh chords. There are a variety of professional careers you can pursue after earning a jazz piano degree at the Frost School of Music. If someone has been playing the piano for a long time, there are a lot of different skills that they might be good at depending on the type of practice and the style of piano they chose.

Along with the guitar, vibraphone, and other keyboard instruments, the piano is one of the instruments in a jazz combo that can play both individual notes and chords instead of just individual notes, as the saxophone or trumpet do. The main difference between jazz and classical music is that jazz takes advantage of improvisation more than classical music does. Mastering different chord voices, from basic to advanced ones, is the first cornerstone of learning jazz piano. The jazz piano is extremely complex and can be completely foreign to even highly talented classical pianists. The jazz piano technique uses all chords found in Western artistic music such as major, minor, augmented, decreased, seventh, seventh decreased, sixth, seventh minor, seventh minor, seventh major, fourth suspended etc. It's important to consider a variety of factors when deciding which jazz piano programs to apply to.

Later, classical music (26% romantic serialism) and later jazz (26% after bop) are more harmonically and structurally complex. The classical piano is an exciting subject that reminds me of my early days when I started learning to play the piano. Unlike traditional piano scores which precisely dictate every note, jazz pianists use arrangement techniques to “perform the main score” in a particular style. I learned the basics of playing the piano by making “classical” music so that I can read music etc., but now I play almost entirely jazz and “popular” music. If you want to personalize songs you will play this is another reason why you should learn jazz piano.