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Playing The Piano With Different Styles

By Yann, published on 27/02/2019 Blog > Music > Piano > Learn The Piano: Finding Your Style!

Many musicians have made their careers playing music by classical superstars. Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert among others. These musicians have made the piano one of the most well-known instruments. Because of this, the piano has a reputation for being an instrument for making classical music.

Many children learn the piano from an early age, building a strong technical foundation in piano music theory and in technique such as proper posture, hand placement etc. Once these students have grasped the foundational knowledge of the piano learning process. They can use their expertise to branch out into other music styles.

It is a fact that the piano is not just for Beethoven or Chopin. While classical music is the most well-known style used on the piano, it is not the only choice available to people who play the piano today.

There is the Grand Piano, the electric piano, the Acoustic piano and the electronic keyboard and they all have their distinct sounds. While also all being suitable to branch out into new styles. Such as Jazz, Blues, Rock and even Rap. Indeed it seems weird to think of playing a pop song on a grand piano. But the piano is a fantastic instrument which is flexible enough to win with any sound.

It would be a shame to limit your first piano to just classical piano music without progressing into trying new piano styles and musical notes.

techniques such as proper posture, hand placement etc They can use their expertise to branch out into other music styles. Photo Source: Unsplash

What Do You Need To Know To Start Playing New Styles On Your Piano?

Right from the start, you should know that playing the piano takes patience and dedication. It can take years to get good at playing the piano, but the journey can be a lot of fun once you have basic knowledge of the instrument.

To become a pianist you must take lessons and learn the piano basics and focus from lesson 1. The things that your Piano teacher teaches you in the first piano lessons for a beginner will form the foundation of the knowledge you need to be an active pianist. This period of your learning the piano will require a lot of attention and memorization.

Chords which includes chord progression, Triads, quarter notes, learning to read sheet music which includes clefs and other forms of music notation, ear training, Rhythm, and hand positioning are just a few of the things that need to be mastered to allow you the freedom to express yourself eloquently with the pianos keys.

Why Learn To Play The Piano With Rhythm And Tone?

Rhythm (beat, tempo, syncopation, meter) is at the centre of music, and without it, you will, of course, hear terrible music. Rhythm is the foundation that each piece of music is built upon, and it is essential to find your rhythm. If you hope to be a musician either as a hobby or professionally because without it the music you create would not be appreciated.

The tone is also a factor in finding your musical flow as it is used to differentiate the style on the piano. Playing the piano on a significant scale with produce a joyful and unlifted sound. Playing the piano in a minor scale creates much more serious music, sad or dark tones.

If you practise often and are serious about progressing in your Piano lessons then eventually you will be able to play like any of the top musicians. Remember all musicians had to learn how to play the instrument and they all followed the same path that you are following now.

Stay motivated! Once you have found your rhythmic technique, you can move on you finding your musical style.

playing the piano takes patience and dedication It can take years to get good at playing the piano. Photo Source: Unsplash

How To Find My Musical Style?

Classical music uses a variety of instruments and creates a complex but elegant sound. While reggae music creates a relaxed regular sound, and jazz creates an eccentric beat based on improvisation.

Some Traditional Piano Styles?

The Classical Music Style

This is the traditional style of music that piano is best known for. The sound is made up of many instruments, but the piano can also be played in mesmerising solos. If you go to music school to learn to play the piano, they will teach you to play classical pieces as classical music has become the standard by which musicians learning music are measured.

Some Famous Classical Artists Are:
  • Beethoven – Well known for his Piano Concerto Number four in G Major.
  • Chopin – Well known for his Etude in E major.

Gospel Musical Style

Gospel piano is played in churches and religious stages around the world. Created in the Christian churches of the deep south of the USA, it is music fused with hymns. This style extends the chords within the songs, it also inspired many modern-day music styles such as Blues, Rock, Jazz, RnB along with many other musical styles.

Some Famous Gospel Singers Are:
  • Mahalia Jackson – Well known for her popular song Move on Up a Little Higher.
  • Aretha Franklin – the Well known for her popular song R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Some Modern Piano Styles?

Jazz Music Style

Jazz was inspired by the gospel style of music and was created with the piano as an integral part of the music. Jazz is a fusion of fantastic technique which uses a steady melody and complete improvization which creates a different tune altogether. The hands do not work together in the typical way with Jazz which presents an exciting challenge for musicians who like to be creative.

Some Famous Jazz Music Composers Are:
  • Art Tatum – Well known for his song get happy.
  • Miles Davis – He is well known for his work Kind of blue and bitches brew.

Blues Music Style

Created in the late 19th century, in the South of the USA. Blues piano was inspired by gospel music as many musical styles were. The music uses the minor and major pentatonic scales heavily and adds extra notes in places which gives it the unique sound. The chord is the focus of the blues sound by using chord progression as the foundation for the songs. Typical instruments for Blues are the harmonica, the guitar and of course the piano. Some famous blues music composers are:

  • Pinetop Perkins received a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to music. Best known for his appearance in the blues brothers and his song how long blues.
  • Albert Ammons Became famous in the 1930s for his contribution to jazz piano he also branched out into a Blues Jazz fusion music called Boogie Woogie. Known for his song Swanee River.
  • Skip James used a fingerpicking technique to create his own unique style. He could play the piano, guitar and write his own music. Known for his album the devil got my woman.
  • Memphis Slim rose to fame by working with a number of bands as a singer, composer and pianist. He is best known for his song Every Day I Have the Blues.
  • Otis Span was as singer and pianist who rose to fame with a type of blue called the Chicago blues. He is known for his songs; it must have been the devil.
Subgenres And Other Noteworthy Styles
  1. Boogie Woogie as mentioned above is a blend of jazz and blues piano music. While blues is more an expression of sadness Boogie Woogie was dance music. It was adopted into other styles such as country and western music and also expanded into Chicago blues and west coast blues.
  2. Country and western was inspired by gospel and blues rhythmic styles with a mix of local folk music. It has a simple progression of chords with an upbeat melody.
  3. New age piano uses polychords (when two chords played simultaneously) and has less chord variety than other styles.
  4. Ragtime piano uses an irregular rhythm which stressed beats that has similarities to Jazz and may even predate that genre.

Piano is flexible enough to win with any sound the piano is a fantastic instrument. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Most Unconventional Piano Styles

While playing blues or jazz music may seem like an odd match of music to hear when you are learning how to play the piano. You should accept that those styles can also sound great when performed well by someone who has mastered the piano. Pianists have no limitations when it comes to musical style, all music has its challenges whether it is a Chopin or Coldplay song.

Reggaeton Style Of Music

Reggaeton was born in Puerto Rico in the 90s, It is a fusion of Caribbean reggae as the name suggests mixed with Latin American music, Jamaican Dancehall music and hip hop music. Over the years it has become very popular in Latin American countries such as Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and due to its catchy beats, it is becoming more well known worldwide. The lyrics which are almost always exclusively in Spanish talk about hip hop culture with a similar subject matter as rap and hip hop.

Daddy Yankee, a Puerto Rico DJ, is said to be the king of Reggaeton and coined the term in 94 for one of his albums.

Some Songs To Try When Learning Piano:
  1. Learn how to play “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi. Click Here
  2. Learn how to play “El Amante” by Nicky Jam. Click Here

Other Unconventional Styles For The Piano

  1. RnB style of music. Learn how to play “Halo” by Beyoncé. Click Here
  2. Rap and Hip Hop styles of music Learn how to play “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Click Here
  3. Electronic style of music. Learn how to play “Bangarang” by Skrillex. Click Here
  4. Reggae style of music. Learn how to play “One Love” by Bob Marley. Click Here

Thinking of the piano first when thinking of composing a reggae song or a rap song may seem controversial, but all style works well with the piano. It evens bring with it a uniqueness to the music that is pleasant and new.

Additionally playing new sounds on the piano is a new challenge for you as it is not often thought of as a flexible instrument. Thinking outside the box will get you closer to playing like Mozart or Bob Marley. When learning the piano, whatever style you choose, just play and enjoy the process. Explore your creativity to make beautiful music.

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