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What's harder to learn, classical or jazz


CP

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Personally, I think jazz is harder to learn musically, because of all the theory (chords, progressions, voicings, improv). However, I think that classical is harder technically. I believe that if you can play classical, you can play just about anything.
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It's a toss up. Most good jazz players have had some classical backround. Chick,Herbie and so on.

I knew a jazz teacher once who thought you could teach jazz theory withot knowing classical. But you still need the technique and scales the mechanics of playing. This takes you back to classical.

Q:What do you call a truck with nothing in the bed,nothing on the hitch, and room for more than three people in the cab? A:"A car"....
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please excuse my spacial thinking, but if you're committed to learning, you can play both proficiently to some degree. i'm a classical pianist and play rock etc but had no idea of jazz; so i got myself some books and listened to heaps of jazz and i can play it to a good standard. i suppose i'm also saying what tenthplanet did - if you can play classical, you can play anything.
"Consider how much coffee you're drinking - it's probably not enough."
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I'll risk the flames and pronounce Jazz as the more difficult.

 

Classical music performance is a recipe of:

 

Skill

Technique

and interpretation

 

Jazz is a recipe of:

 

Skill

Technique

interpretation

imagination

inspiration

spontaneous ability

and an undifinable grasp of something as of yet unamed.

 

Carl

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IMHO there are certain aspects of playing in any genre that simply can't be taught or acquired through study. Some artists just have a seemingly natural talent. A special few are exceptionally gifted in even more than one genre but that's exceedingly rare.

 

That's not to say the these gifted folks don't have to practice hard or apply themselves but that those without this natural aptitude might never aquire it no matter how hard they try. Therefore as to whether jazz or classical is harder to learn I'd say neither can be 'learned' past a certain point but rather both require an equally enormous amount of practice and dicipline for those who have the inherent musical ability to go pass that point.

 

Also I've known some great classical players who just didn't have the jazz feel and visa versa.

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Originally posted by d&dmusic:

I'll ask it from the other side :

 

Which is harder to teach ?

 

That could tell you which is harder to learn.

 

BTW, why did you want to know ?

 

Just curious.

 

Been taking lessons for about a year in both classical and jazz ( more jazz than anything else). I just found that I grasped jazz easier than classical. However, everyone I spoke to, told me that classical is easier to study. I just wondered if it was me. This is not to say that studying jazz is easy.

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In classical, note choices are rigorously enforced. In jazz, you play pretty much what you like, so you're not likely to be forced to play something that doesn't fall under your fingers. So if you're talking about mastering a catalog of popular pieces in each idiom, jazz might be easier to learn, because it's more adaptable to an individual's style.

 

In reality, however, the question of which is easier to learn comes down to an individual's predispositions. You'll learn more easily the idiom that you enjoy more and that you understand more fully. Some people just don't "get" improvisation regardless of how the idea is presented. Other people can't tolerate inflexible, note for note arrangements. If you want to play jazz, but you don't bone up on theory, you'll be lost. Ditto if you want to be a concert pianist but your interpretation skills are lousy.

 

As a practical matter, you'd have to figure in the qualtity of instruction, as well. Take two young pianists with comparable levels of natural musical skill. Give one a good jazz teacher and a lousy classical teacher; reverse it for the other student. You don't have to be a genius to figure out how their going to turn out.

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Originally posted by Krakit:

I'll risk the flames and pronounce Jazz as the more difficult.

 

Classical music performance is a recipe of:

 

Skill

Technique

and interpretation

 

Jazz is a recipe of:

 

Skill

Technique

interpretation

imagination

inspiration

spontaneous ability

and an undifinable grasp of something as of yet unamed.

 

Carl

 

Yes, I agree, but, you know, classical music used to have all of the elements in your jazz recipe. Beethoven was a monster improviser, arguably the best ever.* Mozart was exceptional as well. Bach, too. In fact, the two and three part inventions which everyone learns by heart these days were actually intended to be instructive: they're improvisational ideas. Before the 19th century, you weren't considered a decent musician unless you could improvise.

 

All that survives today are cadenzas in concertos(well, that and the ramblings of a few church organists), and many of today's players are using previously written versions. It's a crying shame, really. Classical musicians aren't near the caliber that they were in the past. Jazz musicians have picked up the banner.

 

Because of that, I'd say classical is easier to learn. We've removed a major requirement. I think classical composition is arguably the toughest of all, though.

 

------

 

*The guy once failed to finish a piano sonata that was commissioned by one of his more reliable benefactors. So, at the recital he plays the first two movements from sheet music and then improvises the third. The third movement brings down the house. The crowd demanded he play it again. So he did. Note for note.

 

Wow.

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Originally posted by Postman:

 

Yes, I agree, but, you know, classical music used to have all of the elements in your jazz recipe. Beethoven was a monster improviser, arguably the best ever.* Mozart was exceptional as well. Bach, too. In fact, the two and three part inventions which everyone learns by heart these days were actually intended to be instructive: they're improvisational ideas. Before the 19th century, you weren't considered a decent musician unless you could improvise.

As much as I hate to defend jazz(sorry, I didn't mean for it to sound so cruel-I love listening to it but don't like playing it)-classical musician hear, it must be said. George Gerswhin(sp...?)was also known as a hell of an improvisor too. That said, also(on the classical side)notable is Chopin. Well anyway, I haven't played lots of jazz, but I think it really depends on the player. I really don't think I have it "in me" to play jazz with the right feeling, and I'm sure a couple of jazz players feel the same about classical-two different types of feelings and fingerings and chords and such.

"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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Originally posted by surfjazz:

jazz is easier...chopin is far more complicated than corea...

 

you gotta love chopin ;) ! but getting into the differences between classical and romantic type music is a whole other book altogether. romantic is my strong point because it's best played not as strictly and more abstract and complicated. classical is complicated, yes, but there are many extra things that you must include to make it classical, and everything must be precise, most importantly.

"Bach is ever new"-Glenn Gould
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They're equally hard to learn, but jazz is easier to perform.

 

Classical music performers usually play in front of people who have memorized every note that they are supposed to play, and have very narrow opinions of how those notes are supposed to be played.

 

Jazz performance is technically demanding, but the performer has many choices open to them, and there is less fear of failure.

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The most challenging classical music is more technically difficult than the most challenging jazz music, in my opinion. However, jazz can be more demanding of the composer and player, especially with improvisation requiring quick thinking both in and "outside the box".

 

Classical players should learn enough jazz to swing, realizing that the metronome click at the center of the note is not all there is to the beat. Jazz players should explore the depths of the classical literature especially for long form arranging ideas.

 

Every really good player eventually winds up playing jazz anyway.

 

Chris

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Anybody see the Brown family siblings on 60 Minutes last Wednesday? The 5 brothers and sisters

(3 girls and 2 boys) have now been all accepted into Julliard as piano majors. This was the first such case in the school's history. Their parents started them on the piano at 3 years old. Presently the oldest is 22 and the youngest is 17. In a word they all sounded... astonishing !!!!

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