The 5 Most Popular Styles of Piano Music for Returning Players

Nov 1, 2022

Getting back into playing piano with the help of an online piano learning app like Clefer is a fun and fulfilling challenge, especially when you have a series of songs to choose from to get you practicing!

Clefer makes its name as one of the best apps to learn piano online because the app is all about rounding out your skills, helping returning musicians like yourself hone your note reading, rhythm reading, finger dexterity, chord training skills and more. But it’s not just having a solid understanding of technique that makes a great pianist. Confidently playing a variety of musical styles builds a pianist’s repertoire and further boosts their abilities at the piano bench. So, let’s discover what are the 5 most popular styles of piano music for returning players.


Developed in the 18th century to be played in royal courts across Europe, classical music is one of the most popular and difficult styles of piano music to play and is considered foundational when learning. Often, when people think of piano, they think of classical music and the names synonymous with it, specifically, Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, which is understandable given they are recognized as the fathers of the genre.


One of the next most popular musical styles for piano players is jazz. Emerging at the end of the 1800s and rising in popularity throughout the early to mid-1900s in the U.S. thanks to pioneers like Earl Hines, jazz breaks from the classical tradition by using its own principles, techniques, rhythms, and harmonies.

U.S. cities such as Chicago, New Orleans and New York would birth the early jazz scene during the 1920s when jazz innovators like Scott Joplin, Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton rose to fame popularizing jazz’s unique compositions based on ragtime, boogie-woogie, improvisation, and bee-bop harmonies. While one of the easier genres to learn, the use of random improvisation makes it a tough style to truly master.

Rhythm & Blues

Rhythm and Blues (or R&B) piano is also a popular style of piano music that came out of the U.S. in the 1950s. Heavily influenced by other genres like jazz and gospel and blues, R&B piano is also heavily based on musical improvisation along with the repetition of notes, rhythms, and verse compositions. So, similar to jazz, it can be easier to learn but harder to excel at unless you have a good musical ear.

Popular rhythm and blues pianists include Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and John Legend.


With a focus on suspended chords, notes and repeated compositions, gospel is another popular style of piano. Taking a lot of its inspiration from blues and jazz, gospel music is a genre played in the Christian religion. It was popularized in the U.S. in the 20th century thanks to Thomas A. Dorsey, who is widely regarded as the father of gospel music and who coined the term “gospel”.

Other widely known gospel pianists include Cory Henry, Gordon Mote and Lucy Smith Collier.


Pop-rock piano is the newest popular style of piano music, originating in the mid-20th century and becoming more popular as the years went by. Composed of the improvisation seen in jazz and mixing in electronic components, pop-rock piano pulls inspiration from jazz, classical and blues and gives a modern twist. Those looking to innovate and experiment with their piano skills will have a lot of fun with this style.

Well-known musicians like Elton John, Billy Joel, Little Richard, Carole King and Freddy Mercury are just some of the many skilled pianists known for their pop-rock piano compositions.

Build your technique with the help of Clefer!

Looking to try a new song or perfect a favorite? Then look no further than Clefer. With a library of songs to choose from, Clefer always has something new to challenge your skills as you master the keys.

Download Clefer now for free and start learning piano online!



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