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The 2 Styles of New Age Piano Playing

Believe it or not, there is actually a hard and a soft way to play New Age piano. Two different "schools" or styles that have made their appearance in the last 20 years or so.

The first style made popular by George Winston introduces a more percussive "hard" sound. Created mostly be a left-hand ostinato, this style is very chord-oriented and paints a background of textures while the right-hand is free to improvise a melody. The reason that I say this style is a hard sounding one is that when compared with someone like David Lanz, the difference is readily apparent.

Lanz goes for a softer, more melodic approach. This isn't to say that either of these artists has never played in different ways, it's just that their signature sound is different.

As an example, look at the piece "Rainforest." It is a percussive piece made up of a left-hand ostinato pattern. Now the piece "Ocean Dreams" is softer with the melody actually taking center stage.

It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with both styles. When I first started playing, I identified mostly with the "Winston" style but find myself leaning more towards a softer style now. I really like the pianist John Herberman off of the Solitude's label. His playing is exquisite and very emotional.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit now and get a FREE piano lesson!