Jon Schmidt and The Piano Guys

by bstrekha

In class we were briefly introduced to many modernist styles. Professor Dolan mentioned that it is very difficult to study modern music in the sense that it does not follow any strict order or path. This is because of the vast modernisms that emerged during the time. Well, I would like to add one more composer to our already long list of modern composers/musicians. His name is Jon Schmidt. (He is part of the American musical group The Piano Guys. You might know the group from their YouTube channel.)

Before getting to music composed by Jon Schmidt, I would like to note that he (along with the group) also renditions existing music. Sometimes the renditions are so different from the original compositions, yet they are always recognizable. I’m not sure what exactly to call the rendition that follows. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s prepared piano, but it isn’t your tradition playing either.

Rendition: Check out “What Makes Your Beautiful” by the Piano Guys. (Yes, it is a rendition of a song by One Direction…)


“What Makes You Beautiful”:

Not only does Jon Schmidt rendition music, but he also composes. Jon Schmidt likes to call his style “New Age Classical.” I think this is a fair enough name, as his music isn’t radical like Schoenberg’s, but it isn’t your typical Mozart music either. In terms of tonality, his music is close to that of the Viennese-Classical composers. In other words, his music tends to have a tonic and a direct sense of forward motion. However, he does like to throw in a few clashes and “unnatural” accidentals.

I recommend listening to “All of Me”, “Road Trip”, and “Waterfall” on YouTube. These are original pieces composed by Schmidt.


“All of Me”: (Composed at age 17.)

“Road Trip”:

“Waterfall”: (Composed at age 19.)

I just wanted to share this music because I think it’s nice to see live musicians in our time and what their imagination leads to. Hope you enjoy.


P.S. Check out the Piano Guys in general. They have many great recordings posted on YouTube.