The Jazz Way vs. The Rock Way

There are two main approaches to music, and while somewhat oversimplifying it, we can refer to them as “The Jazz Way” and “The Rock Way.” (We can also call them “The Classical Way” and “The Folk Way.”)

In The Jazz Way, musicians have a steep learning curve to climb.
In The Rock Way, musicians can begin jamming right away.

In The Jazz Way, musicians spend years learning the basic repertoire.
In The Rock Way, the songs are usually simple to learn.

In The Jazz Way, you need to memorize complex chord progressions.
In The Rock Way, most songs only use the I, IV, and V chords.

In The Jazz Way, there are countless scales and soloing techniques to master.
In The Rock Way, you can get a lot of mileage from the basic blues scale.

The “upside” of The Jazz Way is that the music is incredibly stimulating on many levels, because there’s always more to learn and be challenged by. The “downside” is that many jazz musicians unfortunately don’t enjoy their own playing enough, because they feel they always need to “be better.”

The “upside” of The Rock Way is that most rock musicians have an incredible amount of fun, right from the very beginning. The “downside” is that many rock musicians don’t expand their musical knowledge enough to reach their true musical potential.

You and I, however, deserve to have the best of both worlds.

Thoroughly enjoy playing the music you love, and also keep your curiosity alive by learning new techniques, harmonies, and musical styles. Rock and pop musicians who do this include Bob Dylan, Eddie Van Halen, Rick Wakeman, David Bowie, and Jordan Rudess. Jazz musicians include Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and Keith Jarrett. If they can do it, you can too. It’s more about interest and following your curiosity than about innate ability.

If you want to hear some jazz bossa nova piano playing, check this out:

Chega De Saudade

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

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