Classical and jazz piano are two distinct styles of playing the instrument, each with its own unique characteristics. Classical pianists focus on the “how” of playing, emphasizing technique and personal expression. Jazz pianists, on the other hand, focus on the “what”, meaning they are always prepared to improvise and adapt the notes they play. Classical pianists usually memorize classical pieces, while jazz pianists often use their ear to understand a song.
The main difference between classical and
jazz pianois that classical music focuses more on interpreting the repertoire exactly as a composer has written it down. Jazz, however, is known for its complexity and improvisation. It is also part of the rhythm section, rather than being the absolute protagonist as in classical music. Improvisation and swing are two of the most important things to master in jazz.
When it comes to learning the piano, a chord approach can be used for both classical and jazz styles. Practicing different families of seventh chords will open up your fingers and ears to the basic chords used in jazz piano styles. Scales are also fundamental to jazz piano, so it is important to take the time to understand how each one sounds and works. It is possible to combine classical piano, pop, and jazz approaches when teaching a student.
Some bebop pianists had a strong classical background, while others had grown up in the unique tradition of jazz piano. Understanding the names and locations of the piano keys, basic major and minor scales, triads, and seventh chords will be of great help in both jazz and classical.In order to learn jazz piano, it is important to start with some basic jazz chords that are pleasant and easy to improvise. Songs like “Fly Me to the Moon” are perfect for beginners interested in listening to some basic jazz chords. After mastering triad chords and how they are used, it is time to learn seventh chords and elementary jazz piano techniques.The stride piano is not much different from certain Liszt or Brahms piano music which make similar use of chords and octaves.
Very well versed pianists can combine classical piano, pop, and jazz approaches when teaching a student from different perspectives.In conclusion, while there are many similarities between classical and jazz piano, there are also some key differences. Classical music focuses more on interpreting a piece exactly as a composer has written it down while jazz emphasizes improvisation and swing. Understanding the names and locations of the piano keys, basic major and minor scales, triads, seventh chords, and scales will help you master both styles.