Is it essential to learn to play classical music first before embarking on playing jazz?

9002 is it essential to learn to play classical music first before embarking on playing jazz

It is not a requirement to learn classical music prior to studying jazz. However, classical music training can provide a strong foundation for jazz study.

Classical music training can impart fundamental skills such as music theory, ear training, and sight-reading that are essential for any musician to have. These skills can be applied to any style of music, including jazz. Additionally, classical music often emphasizes strict adherence to musical notation, which can help develop discipline and attention to detail.

Jazz, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on improvisation and self-expression. It is often performed in small groups and encourages experimentation and creativity. Jazz musicians often draw on a wide range of musical influences, including blues, gospel, and Latin music, in addition to classical music.

It is important to note that some jazz musicians do have classical training, while others come from entirely different musical backgrounds. Many successful jazz musicians have never studied classical music, but have instead honed their skills through years of playing and performing in various musical contexts.

In conclusion, while classical music training can be beneficial for aspiring jazz musicians, it is not a necessary pre-requisite for success in the genre. Ultimately, the most important factor for success in any musical style is a dedication to practice and a willingness to experiment and grow as a musician.


  • “The Jazz Piano Book” by Mark Levine
  • “The Oxford Companion to Jazz” edited by Bill Kirchner