October 6

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Piano Music Snobbery

By declan@decplaypiano.com

October 6, 2020


Music Snobbery with Different piano music styles

There is sometimes an element of snobbery in piano music whereby some teachers consider classical music to be superior to other forms of popular music, folk, jazz etc

From my point of view as someone who has been trained classically and has also played for many years in pop bands, the skill of playing music is totally unrelated to the the type of music being played .

For example playing a blues piano piece with a very simple three chord structure can be more complicated than a classical piece, if the player ad-libs complex rhythms and runs. To write down advanced blues piano style in notation would result in very complicated sheet music. Teaching the same music using patterns around which they could improvise however, can enable a very advanced and impressive style of playing, much quicker than by traditional teaching methods. This is evidenced in several styles of music for example traditional Irish music, which usually does not involve reading any traditional notational at all, yet often incorporates very complex and advanced playing styles.

Surely the most important outcome from playing the piano, is that a player has fun and the audience enjoy the music. In my view it is not important how technically a difficult a piece is, more ‘how good it sounds’. For example in my view it would not be ‘better music’ if the player was blindfolded with one hand behind their back – although this would be technically more difficult than if the same player was not blindfolded and use both hands. 

Similarly I do not think it is important to place undue emphasis on how somebody holds their hand in relation to the keyboard, or focus too much on posture etc .. as everyone can have their own style, just as singers and dancers can have a non-traditional style which is appreciated by the audience. It is far important to be comfortable in whatever posture you wish to adopt. Placing an emphasis on technical skills and posture can kill one of the two key elements in progressing your skills ie having fun.

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