Music is essentially the same in every period and style. Study music theory and you’ll find the same chord progressions (tonal movement in music) throughout all western music. It’s all built on the same foundation.
Examine The Music Of The Past
Think about the great songs in our past. In order to compose Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin had to be intimately familiar with the nuances of jazz while also being well versed in the classics of the 17th and 18th centuries. Even pop music today is a mixture of classic rock riffs, hip hop beats, and simple repeatable short lyrical lines borrowed from rhythm and blues. All music is related in some way, taking bits of pieces of one another to form something new.
There is value in learning several Styles Of Music
There is no harm in admitting that styles outside of your comfort zone can be a bit difficult, but they add value to musical makeup. If you are a classical musician, learning to improvise by studying jazz could be helpful in understanding the direction and paths that music takes.
If you play Rock Guitar, then consider playing some solo classical transcriptions. There are great transcriptions available for guitar and they often find their way into rock and roll. Years ago there was a move called “Crossroads”. My favorite scene is a guitar dual between the actor Ralph Macchio and the guitar icon Steve Vai. The video below is a combo of Rock, Blues and Classical. The classical part is Paganini – Caprice Number 5 by the way. You have to watch until the end:).
Styles Of Music
Improvisation is based upon learning where music is going and adding impromptu notes to ornament the chords being played. Even if you never become a seasoned improvisational player, practicing improv will help develop rhythm, timing and understanding of progress throughout a piece. Playing out of your comfort zone is a task that should be added to your practice time. To practice improvisation ask your teacher to choose three or four notes, per chord, inside of a chord heavy song and play these notes in any rhythm that comes to mind, doesn’t matter how outlandish. Have fun and try as many combinations as possible.