All Things Piano
Classical Piano 20%
While still popular among many older adults with strong classical roots, classical piano has seen a considerable decline in popularity among young to middle aged adult students.
One reason includes attendance at such concerts requires a very strict rule of behavior.
A person cannot applaud during the concert and even coughing is frowned upon.
Young people often find that this stifling atmosphere is unappealing and intimidating.
Classical piano technique benefits serious musicians in every style. For this reason I make it a point to include Russian technical skills training in all piano lessons.
One common complaint by students is classical sheet music reading denies them the freedom and joy of creative harmonic self expression and improvisation. These two are among the most rewarding aspects of piano study for today's musician.
One student refers to reading classical repertoire as regurgitating dead peoples music.
Rock Piano 10%
While many still enjoy listening to rock music of decades past. Piano student interest in rock has dwindled considerably while guitar student percentages are likely higher.
One reason might be that potential piano students seeking me out are already aware that my teaching goes far beyond basic 3-chord progressions.
Students seeking rock schools enjoy the less challenging theory involved and the chance to jam with live bands. Covid19 has eliminated this option.
My students who have tried rock schools found the less challenging content boring.
Of course, there are many types of rock piano, not to mention there is no shortage of Elton John piano lovers. I include this style in the pop (Modern) styles section.
Folk, Hymns and Gospel Piano 20%
These students are generally more interested in improving or spicing up their chords for a particular use such as for church groups or religious events.
Jazz, Blues & Modern 50%
To be fair, the higher % has much to do with the combination of these three distinct styles.
Modern Piano includes today's current popular repertoire & past popular repertoire of everything from rhythm & Blues to Soul to Americana to Pop hits.
It also includes new age (Jim Brickman) style open sound expressive music and creative improvisation (Playing what you hear inside) rather than reading static notes on a page.
Blues Piano will likely never go out of style, especially here in Austin.
While the blues chord progression is pretty basic, the blues itself encompasses countless individual forms of expression, nuances and more complex harmonies that can be applied. This is what makes so many every legendary blues pianists highly distinctive in style.
The ability to incorporate jazz harmonies & improvisational lines makes blues piano even more exciting to learn.
Jazz Piano is my favorite and what I am most recognized for as a teacher.
While many early jazz tunes themselves are certainly no longer "popular" in today's world, jazz harmony is a whole different matter.
Young popular artists ranging from Jacob Collier to Cory Henry to Joseph Alexander have massive Youtube followings and tour constantly. They even conduct huge master classes globally.
Some of my students are highly successful touring artists & Youtube influencers who are primarily interested in jazz theory in order to up their game.
The beauty of jazz harmony is that there is no limit to the constant discovery of new concepts that can applied to almost all other styles of music.
Because of jazz harmony, theory & improvisation, I am still just as excited to sit and explore the keys today as I was over 50 years ago when I first started piano lessons as a child.
Exploring at the piano is still the first thing I do every morning with coffee and the last thing I do every night with herbal tea before going to bed.
Just listening to past and present jazz piano legends including Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Nat King Cole, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron etc. is a lesson in itself as there are so many gems discovered each and every time.
Unlike all of the other styles jazz will always make me feel like a beginner no matter how accomplished I am because every mountain climbed merely gives a better view of two to climb & explore.