Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Loc: New York City!
The word 'jazz' is an umbrella over so many disparate styles that it has lost meaning in the same sense that 'popular' music could mean anything or nothing.
Jazz embodies a tradition of improvisation, although most improvisations have harmonic formulae and configurations that have been fleshed out many times. If improvisation is the issue, then among the greatest public improvisors in history were Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, etc. It was a foregone conclusion that great pianists of the 18th and 19th century would improvise for their audiences.
The tradition of not improvising is comparatively recent; midway through the 20th century. Through the years I have run across various written accounts of Rachmaninoff, Hoffman, Paderewski, and others improvising as a prelude to the printed program. The irony is that improvisation is actually more in the classical tradition than so-called 'classical' piano recitals of today.
Jazz piano teachers I know are frequently more conscientious in teaching harmony and theory to their students than many classical-only teachers I have encountered. Yesterday I took on another new student who had been studying with a 'distinguished' teacher at the Mannes music conservatory here in NYC - according to this new student, her teacher refused to teach her scales because "the scales are already in the music".
From the video..."The more styles you can play, the more marketable you can be."
I can't agree with this more! They should make every freshman music major write this a thousand times.
I can't see how studying jazz can hurt your classical chops. However, Keith Jarrett said in an interview that he never got nervous playing a jazz gig until he recorded Classical. After that, he said he had some issues with nerves (not that it seemed to slow him down at all).