After about eight years of piano lessons as a child/teenager, it’s safe to say I’ve encountered a wide variety of music styles. My poor piano teacher is still talking about how the only thing I wanted to play was every-single-song-from-Anastasia – and I am really grateful that she allowed me to learn the pieces I wanted, yet she still encouraged me to study classical music, as well.
I’ve never attained a mastery of classical piano, but I do have a fairly decent knowledge of composers and movements and styles. Looking back, I have a great appreciation for all of the CD’s my teachers loaned me and the recital pieces I heard other students play. The way I see it is, the more exposure a person has to a certain style, the easier it will be for them to recognize – and learn themselves. At least, that’s how it worked for me, but I learn music partly by ear, so maybe it’s not the same for all?