Piano Lessons Blog - Classical vs. Pop: What's the Best Way to Learn Piano?

Classical vs. Pop: What's the Best Way to Learn Piano?

Karmel Larson

Sometimes prospective piano parents come to us and ask what the "best" way is for their child to learn piano - classical music or pop music? Many piano teachers take only one approach or the other, and every student's needs will be a little bit different. But here at the Piano Academy, we say . . . why not learn BOTH?

Learning to play classical music is definitely different than learning to play pop songs, but each style can teach a piano student some great things! Here are some of the concepts you could learn from each type of music - no matter what type of music your end goals include.

Classical piano music is usually intended for a more serious audience and includes music written anywhere from 400 years ago to today. (That's a very simple definition, of course. Click here to get into more detail.) Focusing some of your study on classical music can help you learn the following:

Great technique (the ability to play physically difficult passages with ease)
Note-reading, rhythms, and musical symbols
Performance skills
How to work with other musicians
Music theory and structure

Pop music, on the other hand, is the type of music you'd usually hear on the radio. Most pop music is performed by a band and singers, but can be arranged for piano students to learn. Pop music can be especially helpful for learning things like:

Playing by chord symbols
Improvisation skills
Complicated or syncopated rhythms
How to read multiple lines of music at once

If you want to be a classical musician, then learning pop music will make you more fluent in several aspects of your playing. If you want to be a pop musician, then classical music is the place to start! You'll be able to read music well and play even the tricky technical spots. And of course, no matter what type of music you're reading, the more you read, the better your sight-reading will be.

Last but not least, if you can do both types of music, then you can create awesome mash-ups like this one by the piano duo Anderson and Roe:

So if you've always wanted to learn that Mozart Sonata, OR if you're dying to learn to play that hit you just heard on the radio, let us know! We'd be happy to help you reach your musical goals, and maybe learn a few extra things along the way.

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