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I recently purchased a digital piano and started playing again after a few years during which I only played sporadically. I'm classically trained and have a rather advanced level in classical piano. Now I'm looking into transitioning into modern styles of piano, but I'm not sure what the easiest/most logical transition would be.

In terms of musical preference, jazz comes on top, but its complexity is daunting for someone who has never really improvised or played by ear before. So I learned a few blues licks and started playing some simple blues instead, which hopefully will serve as a good intro to improvisation.

How would you rate the following in terms of factors such as difficulty to learn for a classical pianist, availability of bands/groups to play with, musical complexity (from a music theoretical perspective)?

  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Boogie-woogie
  • Rock (Rock 'n roll, progressive rock, etc.)
  • Modern pop
  • Latin (Latin jazz, salsa, etc.)
  • New Age

Is there some logical connection between these styles, so that some are "more foundational" than others? Would it be an advantage to know e.g. blues before learning all other styles? Or should one just jump in with the style that one likes the most?

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  • Presumably you can read at least fairly well. All piano styles have sheet music available, so you could start trying out all the styles with the dots. Any answers here will be personal opinion, which is generally frowned upon by this site. As for extemporising, or improvising, once you find your place, there are again many publications to use.
    – Tim
    Oct 30 '20 at 10:23
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    I tend to vote for close, since I expect answers to be mostly opinion-based; even the starting point classically trained is rather blurry. Making music is hopefully about having fun, and this is not necessarily related to how close your pre-requisites are to the "task" at hand. So yes, I assume the jump in the style one likes most approach is hard to beat.
    – guidot
    Oct 30 '20 at 10:55
  • What would be the problem if answers are opinion-based? Most other questions also have "opinion-based" answers as there is no single objective answer to questions on how to best approach learning how to play music. I'm just trying to get a sense of how these different styles connect to one another and whether it makes more sense to study one before another. Oct 30 '20 at 12:44
  • This site is designed and intended for questions that have one single answer, and it for questions that are more like surveys. If you read the help center you can see more about what questions are ideal and what aren’t. This question is also pretty broad, as it suggests answers that might review all of the genres listed. Broad questions are also not a good fit for this site. Oct 30 '20 at 13:41
  • In my opinion you'll need to learn the needed skills for whatever it is you want to do anyway, and being classically trained doesn't really matter. If there's something you can't do, start practicing. Getting a teacher might not be the worst idea ever. What do you want to do? Be a soloist or an accompanist? Do you need someone to write out your parts for you note-for-note, or be like a member of a rock group? At its simplest, a pop/rock keyboard player's job can be just hitting a new synth pad chord whenever the chord changes, and that's it. But you want to be a pianist specifically? Oct 30 '20 at 23:20