The brains of jazz and classical pianists are NOT the same

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We are all told as a child that playing at a young age helps you become more intelligent and excel in school. This is due to musicians brains working differently. 

In my experience playing with and talking to different musicians, both have very different approaches to playing music. Where classically trained musicians are generally very good music readers, jazz musicians are able to create ideas quicker and tend to stay away from playing the same thing. But either way, both types of musicians are thinking ahead of what they are playing so they could express what they want to play. 

The article talks about this and although both types of pianists use the same fingers, the planning approach is really what is different between the styles. The article says:

“Regardless of the style, pianists, in principle, first have to know what they are going to play—meaning the keys they have to press—and, subsequently, how to play—meaning the fingers they should use. It is the weighting of both planning steps which is influenced by the genre of the music”

Classical pianists think about how they are going to play the music, when jazz musicians think about what they are going to play. I think that this is due to the amount of information the music has. Classical music has dynamics, notes, repeats, and a limited harmonization on it. A lot of schools base their music theory courses on classical music because there are so many rules and it teaches you the rules of harmony.

Jazz musicians are given a lead sheet with the melody and chords, and it is up to the musicians to decide on how to interpret it. They are given the option to add on extensions to chords, reharmonizes the piece, and embellish the melody as they choose. Classical music is written how it is and there is a lot of limitation on how you could interpret it, for the music is written to be played a certain way. 

The article states a good point though, that if you want to understand and play music to your fullest, you should be diverse in multiple styles.
It says “To obtain a bigger picture, we have to search for the smallest common denominator of several genres”, Sammler explains. “Similar to research in language: To recognize the universal mechanisms of processing language we also cannot limit our research to German”.

No style is better than another because most of music taste is opinionated. Music is language after all and the more you know about it the easier it is to communicate it, which means you could communicate with a more diverse crowd.

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