Many musicians, no matter beginner or advances, ask themselves that question: “what style of music should I play?”
Communicating with recognized musicians during many years, I finally came to a conclusion. In fact, one could know one certain style very well and then a bit of other known styles.
My first musical education was strict: if you studied classical guitar, then it should be only that. In case, if someone saw you playing rock or blues, you immediately fell in their eyes and earning back your “classical” reputation was almost impossible. But that was many years ago…
Nowadays, I regularly practice jazz, bossa-nova and blues standards; I improvise and compose (in fact, both are the same thing!). All that I also teach to my students, as good as I can and share information.
What I like about jazz, is that it gives an opportunity for your imagination to fly. At the same time, you have also the needed support (what is so crucial in the beginning!) – you have a from and boundaries. For example, usually a jazz standard, let’s say if there are two guitarists, is played as next: one plays the theme and at the same time second gives an accompaniment (chords), then the first one starts improvising, while second still plays the same chords s/he played for the theme. Then the roles change: first player plays the chords and the second – improvises. Then the piece can be finished with the theme.
Usually, when you have played dozen of standards like that, improvised, you might feel a temptation to create your own music and that’s how you become a composer! 🙂
Composing helps you to get deeper into understanding what does the composer feel and what does it cost – to create a good piece. By improvising you can get to know better your instrument and become close friends with it. When you create an instant piece, improvise, there is nothing between you two. You jump into adventure and see where it brings you. Read more about improvisation online and improve it gradually and regularly.
(I have a dream to go onstage and play an improvised piece – one that I will compose right on that moment, not prepared in advance.)
To conclude, I would like to point out, that any style of music is limited with instruments, rhythms and pitches. Some people make out of those things “pop” music, others – “rock”, thirds – “classical” etc. If it is well done – it’s good! I think, that it is important to be a specialist in one certain style, because then you can develop that style and be a worthy representative and teach it to other. Being a specialist helps to preserve traditions, cherish them and give further to the next generation. There is not enough time to learn everything, but there is always time for the most important…
Study different music and styles on your instrument. Pick what you like the most and become really good in it. Good luck!