Piano and Keyboard lessons from Glenn Sutton in Poway and San Diego

Blending Other Genres into Your Piano Playing Can make You More Versatile

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You have become an accomplished piano player in your chosen style of music, the one that speaks to your soul. At the same time, maybe you feel you’ve reached a plateau. You want to expand your musical vocabulary and your versatility. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to look at other genres of music, and try to play in those styles.

blues rock piano

Playing blues rock piano

Expand Your Groove

If you are a rock pianist, consider all of the different genres (particularly country and blues) that formed the background for rock and roll. Maybe you could learn a bit of honkytonk piano to spice up your work, or you could spend some time concentrating on blues scales and progressions. Ian Stewart, who started out as a member of the Rolling Stones and played piano on their tours and albums until his death in 1985, is a great example of someone who incorporated both of those styles into rock.

Jazz It Up, and Add Some Class

If your chosen style is classical, you may want to consider branching out into traditional jazz piano. The improvisational nature of jazz can be incorporated into your playing to “lighten it up” and add an element of surprise in performance. This does not mean you have to sacrifice the integrity of your playing, or that you have to change the composition of what you are playing. On the contrary, it may just make your sound more unique to you.

Likewise, if you are a jazz piano player, learning some of the classics and playing in that style for a time can open up new avenues for you when improvising later on. It may also provide a further element of class into your playing. Don’t worry; you can still improvise, just using occasional classical riffs to make your sound unique. Jazz legends as diverse as Fats Waller and Herbie Hancock both started off in classical music before making their marks in music history.

The Composition Factor

No matter what primary style you play in, if you compose music as well as performing it, learning different styles will expand your compositional abilities more than you might realize. Here’s an additional thing to consider: Maybe you play and write primarily in one genre, but become fluent in composing and playing other forms. You may now have a second musical career. You can sell some of your out-of-genre compositions to other performers and earn some extra money. Or you may find your rock-loving self in a jazz band! As you can see, it may not just round you out as a musician; it can also lead to extra potential income. You may even find a musical “new love” and decide that it’s time to switch genres completely. This happens more often than you might realize.

If you find yourself stuck in a rut, or just looking for some further inspiration, try playing and writing in another genre. The results may surprise you!

For keyboard and piano lessons contact Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664.

Services include:

  • Keyboard Lessons
  • Piano Lessons
  • Organ Instruction
  • Electric Guitar Lessons
  • Bass Guitar Lessons
  • Acoustic Guitar Lessons
  • Learning to Write Music
  • Advanced Improv Techniques
  • Performance Techniques



  • Rock
  • Classic
  • Folk
  • Jazz
  • Improv
  • Blues


  • Poway
  • San Diego
  • Rancho Bernardo
  • Rancho Penasquitos
  • Scripps Ranch
  • 4S Ranch
  • Sabre Springs