How long does it take to learn the piano?

How long does it take to learn the piano?

So you have decided to start learning the piano, and now you wonder how long it is going to take you? Here, you'll find out how to have the best start on 88 keys!
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What to bear in mind when starting to learn the piano

  • Your results will sound like your practice routine
    This is probably one of the most important rules when learning to play the piano. The more conscientious and musically expressively you practice from the beginning, the better your results will be. If you think it is enough of a challenge to make your fingers reproduce the melody please consider that habits (like monotonous playing) are very hard to drop. So concentrate on playing expressively from the get-go.
  • "All in" from the beginning
    When learning to drive you had to learn to coordinate the pedals, the steering wheel, traffic signs, traffic rules and match your reaction to all that was happening around you. It was overwhelming at first! Learning to play the piano can be a bit like that. Pay attention to instructions like "piano" or "crescendo" (increase loudness) right from the start. Fingerings are like cheat sheets and will help a lot when you practice.
  • Integrate practice into your everyday life
    It is not ideal from a continuity point of view to practice every sunday for three hours and ignore your instrument for the rest of the week. It is much better to practice daily. This lets you connect more easily to where you have left off the day before. 15 minutes per day after your evening meal (or whenever your daily routine allows) will add up to 1,75 hours pure piano exercise time per week. If you can do more daily, do more.
  • Learn what you really want to play
    There are basics that you just have to learn (play simple melodies, chords, and a couple of scales). But as soon as you are able to practice shorter pieces, choose songs you really like. Motivation is important - and the more you play pieces you really enjoy the more likely it is that you will persist with learning the piano.

It won't take you long to learn the piano if you have a positive mindset

  • Musical note
    Realistic goals
    If people give up the piano after a short time it is often due to a lack of motivation. They have probably had unclear expectations of what "playing the piano" means. Plan realistic milestones you can reach within short periods of time. This will motivate you to keep practicing.
  • Musical note
    Positive self-reflection
    Many teenagers and adults are much more self-critical than children. Kids are enjoying the skills they have instead of focusing on what they lack. Try to be aware of what you have already mastered: You can play a scale. You can play the chords to your favorite song. Great, keep going!
  • Musical note
    Practice is self-care
    After work, you rush to shop for the groceries, then do the laundry, then practice the piano? Stop it! Playing the piano should not become yet another chore. Try to see playing the piano as a self-care opportunity. You are focusing on doing something for yourself, something that makes you happy (more intelligent, more creative, more empathic,...)!

How long does it take to learn the piano? Examples for a daily practice of about 20 minutes.

  1. 1

    After one month

    • Correct back and hand posture
    • Read sheet music
    • Play C major scale with each hand (and correct fingering
    • Play with both hands
    • Play intervals
  2. 2

    After 2 months

    • Play chords and cadences
    • Play an easy piece with both hands
    • Play expressively - more quietly, more loudly,...
  3. 3

    After 3 months

    • Simple piano pieces (easy rhythm, calm left hand)
    • Use the pedal
    • Play expressively

It takes this long until you can play this genre on the piano

  • Pop
    After a few weeks you should be able to play melodies of your favorite Pop songs. You might even be able to play a few tones with your left hands.
  • Classical
    Classical music for piano can mean a lot. It includes simple minuets as well as difficult pieces by Chopin. After a few months you will be able to play your first pieces of Classical music (probably by W. A. Mozart or J.S. Bach).
  • Jazz
    To play Jazz on the piano you should have some repertoire "under your belt". Jazz is all about freely embellishing and improvising to the music - much more than about learning the exact notation. The latter would probably only take up about a third of your practice time. To start on Jazz, you should probably have played the piano for about a year.

Frequently asked questions

  • Why does it take so long to play the piano?
    Playing the piano requires coordination. To learn coordination, we have to repeat sequences, and repeat them again. Like when first learning to drive a car, we have to translate signs into simultaneous, coordinated actions of hands, eyes, feet, and ears. Do not frustrate yourself by setting unreachable goals. Take baby steps.
  • How can I start?
    You'll find many piano learning methods online. They'll often differ slightly in their approach. Just try a few (free trials are usually available) and stay with the one that best suits you. If you don't want to bother with much web research you can just start by practicing scales. We also recommend you read sheet music from day 1. You`ll want to be able to do it in the future (trust us!), and starting out doing it until it feels natural will save you a lot of time.
  • How long do I have to practice in order to be able to play the piano?
    As long as you like, is the natural answer. Even though this might seem vague it's true. If you have fun, continue learning. If you really don't enjoy it on a particular day, don't force yourself. It is generally best to make practicing a daily habit - perhaps for a lifetime, who knows?