How long does it take to learn piano?

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

Learning to play the piano is not an impossible task. It can be done slowly, yet surely with much patience and even more passion for the instrument.

Learning to play the piano takes much dedication and effort, but it is well worth it in the end if you truly love playing music! To become skilled at playing piano, there are many things that need to be considered.

You will need to practice different aspects of learning how to play piano repeatedly until you have mastered these various techniques enough to make them automatic, which enables you to play quickly and efficiently without putting too much thought into what you are doing.

While lessons are a great way to learn where certain notes are on the keyboard as well as reading sheet music, they do not help one improve their technique or improvisational skills. In order to improve these various techniques, you need to practice.

Every piano player has had a teacher tell them this at some point or another, so it is important to remember that practicing will be the key factor in becoming a good pianist.

Where should you start?

There are many things you can do to learn piano and gain some valuable experience. The best place to start would be learning the notes on the keyboard and how they layout. You will want to know all of them so that way, your fingers always land on a correct key no matter what it is that you are playing.

This means knowing both sharps (#) and flats (b). It's important to remember if a note has a sharp, it is raised one key higher than its natural version, meaning there is a black key in between each key on your keyboard. While if a note has a flat, it is lowered one key lower than its natural version, meaning there are two white keys in between each key on the keyboard.

This is important because you never want to be playing the wrong note, which could happen if you're not sure what notes are where! It's best to become comfortable knowing both sharps and flats as well as memorizing your natural notes (A-G).

Once you know all of these things by heart, do not simply rely on them when practicing however, try to use this information only when necessary. Keep yourself from getting too reliant on sheet music because at some point or another you will have to improvise or work with music that does not have written symbols for certain notes.

What affects how fast you learn?

There are many factors that can affect how quickly and efficiently you learn to play the piano. Some people learn at a faster pace than others, and in reality, it is nearly impossible to determine just how long it will take you until after learning has begun. However, there are some factors that may help you decide just how much time and dedication will be required in order for you to become skilled at playing the piano.

First of all, age will play a role in your ability to fully grasp the concept of reading sheet music and learning where each note is on the keyboard. While children can certainly learn these things as well, they often find it difficult to sit still enough in order for them to focus on what should be doing at any given time.

However, once one has learned how to read sheet music and can play small portions of songs on the piano, they will be able to begin practicing the techniques required to really get good at playing.

Learning how to read sheet music involves looking at a series of symbols in order to play a song in its proper form. This is often difficult for children because their concentration span is not long enough or they are unable to follow along with all of the instructions provided within the piece of sheet music.

When learning about reading sheet music, however, it is best if you break down each symbol into its most basic components in order for you to understand exactly what you are doing when interpreting them into actual notes that are played on your piano.

Talent is another factor that separates people when they are learning how to play the piano. Some have a natural ability when it comes to music and just need a little guidance in order to progress quickly, while others must work twice as hard in order to achieve the same level of playing.

For those who do not have a natural talent for learning different techniques in pianistic playing, it is even more important that you practice these various skills repetitively until they become second nature to you. While some people learn faster than others, nobody plays at an optimal level without putting in the time and effort needed to get good at playing certain pieces of music or complete songs.

One of the most important things that affect your progression throughout the process of learning how to play the piano is simply how much time and effort you are willing to put into practice each day. While some people do not enjoy playing the piano, once they start it can quickly become an addiction that makes them want to practice for longer periods of time every day.

Oftentimes, those who do fall in love with learning to play the piano can spend hours upon hours at a time working towards becoming skilled enough to attempt the repertoire of greats such as Mozart or Beethoven.

The ability to read music is also very important in determining how fast you learn to play. Some people are able to pick up on the various symbols presented within sheet music and they are able to read them quickly enough that they can meet the performer's demands before their time is gone.

Others progress much more slowly, but once they have mastered reading sheet music there are few things they can not do when it comes to playing piano pieces or even whole songs on their own.

How long may it take?

In general, it will take a novice student of the piano at least one year in order to learn how to play from reading sheet music and playing tedious exercises. At this point, your teacher may begin teaching you what is called scales. Scales are short, repetitive patterns that help in preparation for the skills needed in order to play certain pieces quickly and efficiently.

After learning these scales and practicing them repeatedly in different ways for about six months, you should be able to begin playing actual songs with ease. This process can take anywhere between three and five years before a student becomes comfortable enough with their own abilities in order to become successful when moving on towards more difficult repertoire such as Mozart or Beethoven sonatas or concertos.  

What is your final goal?

One of the most important factors in learning how to play the piano is deciding your final goal for why you want to learn this specific skill. For instance, if it is because you are taking a specific music class that requires you to do so, then your teacher can help guide you towards what things will be taught throughout the process and when they should occur.

However, if your goal is simply to become better at playing songs that you enjoy listening to all the time, then it may take longer before you actually begin trying out advanced repertoire due to the fact that nobody said you have to push yourself further than what makes you feel comfortable.

If you want to play like a professional:

This means practicing at least one hour per day. It takes about 8-10 years before you can make a living as a professional pianist.  

If you want to play for your church:

You will need basic knowledge of scales and chords. You may not need a teacher if that is all you want to do! It takes about three years before you can play for services in an average church worship band. If you are going to be playing classical piano, it may take longer until you have the ability to read music well enough on your own, so it is suggested that you find a private instructor if possible.

What if you are taking lessons?

As mentioned above, your teacher can help you set up a daily practice schedule that allows you to progress further than what you could do on your own without the guidance of somebody who is more experienced than yourself.

Assuming that, at the beginning of each year, for between six and eight weeks, he or she sets aside time every week for a review of previous material as well as learning new skills and techniques along with practicing exercises designed to improve finger dexterity and allowing you to try out various pieces of music, you will be able to learn a great deal of material throughout your lessons.

If you practice every day after school or on weekends, you should also see progress being made rather rapidly.

Piano songs that will improve your skills

  • Fur Elise (Beethoven)
  • Minuet in G (Bach)

These pieces will help you with your scales and chords. They will also improve your ability to read sheet music. However, these pieces may not be as 'fun' as some of the other songs that you listen to on a regular basis.

After learning many different types of songs for fun, try picking up one or two classical pieces like those mentioned above and using them as daily practice because they are very important in preparing you to play a more difficult repertoire!

  • Ode to Joy (Schiller)

This piece requires knowledge of chord progressions and instrumentation such as the harpsichord. Beethoven used this song frequently throughout his compositions so it will be helpful in your musicianship and appreciation of classical music.

  • Fur Elise (Beethoven)

This piece is very famous and it is important that you learn this song as one of your first pieces if not already accomplished. It is a good representation of most classical composers because the melodies are very simple yet can sound so beautiful and engaging!

  • Canon in D (Pachelbel)

This song will help you with contrapuntal writing and chord progressions not commonly found in popular songs such as this one!    

Conclusion

This question is almost impossible to answer because there are so many variables. However, if you continue with your lessons and practice at least one hour per day after school or on weekends, by the end of three years you will be able to play for services in an average church worship band.

If you decide that classical piano is what you want to do, it could take longer before you actually begin trying out advanced repertoire due to the fact that nobody said you have to push yourself further than what makes you feel comfortable. The main thing is that you should not get discouraged and give up! We hope this article helps answer some of your questions and enjoy playing the keyboard!