How Long Does it Take to Learn Piano?

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

If you’re thinking about taking piano lessons, you’re probably wondering how much time you’ll have to invest in it.

First of all, you’ll have to be patient and persistent, no matter what your goals are.

But the precise answer to this question depends on various factors, including your exact goal.

Although it’s not easy to determine how long it generally takes to become skilled at piano, some important factors can help you get closer to the answer. 

So, let’s take a look at everything that might affect your piano learning journey!

How Long Does it Take to Learn Piano?

One of the most important factors to consider is your ultimate goal. What does ‘learning the piano’ actually mean to you? Do you want to become a skilled pianist or do you want to learn the basics so you can play for pleasure?

But even if you only want to ‘play for pleasure’, you can do it in different ways. Even the most simple songs can (and should) be played with proper technique and accuracy.

So, even if you want to learn a couple of songs, you should master the basics first. Don’t skip lessons and essential steps, and you’ll learn how to play the piano faster than you think you can.

Sometimes you need to go slow to go fast.

Secondly, the results of your piano lessons also depend on your previous experience and your natural ability. Perhaps you’ve played an instrument as a kid and you’re familiar with music theory. Or you can learn faster because you have a good sense of rhythm.

Either way, having a natural musical talent can certainly help you learn things faster. But it all comes down to your dedication, focus, and regular practice.

The recommended piano practice time for beginners is 15-30 minutes per day. And if you really want to get better at the piano, you need to do it 5-6 times a week. If you follow this advice, you’ll be able to play simple songs in a few months.

Of course, you can also learn an easy piano song within hours. You can memorize what you need to press and play it by ear. But playing the piano well, or at least correctly, is so much more than hitting the right notes. For instance, you need to play them at the right time, and you can’t learn the rhythm and get control of your fingers so fast.

Either way, consistency is always the key to success. It’s better to play the piano every day for 15 minutes than skip your lessons and practice for hours during the weekend. You just can’t make up for missed practice, and you can’t cheat; it just doesn’t work that way.

But if you practice regularly, you should actually be able to grasp the basics rather quickly. The basics generally include the most common chords, basic rhythm, hand position, and so on. And if you want to get really good at piano, you should definitely learn how to read notes.

If you have a good learning source, learning how to play the piano is not that hard. Compared to many other instruments, it’s actually fairly easy.

It’s what comes next that’s hard. Many people give up as soon as things get a bit more challenging. But developing musicality and becoming skilled at piano takes time.

So, how long does it take to learn piano?

It will take you approximately three to four years to become an intermediate piano player. And if you want to reach advanced levels, you’ll have to practice for five to ten years. Of course, this is just a general assumption; after all, every learning path is different.

But let’s take professional piano players as an example. It takes almost ten years for a 6-year-old child who practices daily to reach professional standards. And then they need to polish their skills to actually get a chance to become a professional pianist.

On the other hand, most people want to learn the piano ‘just for fun’, or they love music and they want to develop their musicality.

Either way, finding a reliable learning source and a qualified teacher (whether it’s online or in person) is crucial. Without clear guidance and effective methods, you won’t achieve your goals, no matter how much you practice – because you also need to learn how to practice.

Set a Schedule, not a Deadline

If you’re interested in learning how to play the piano, it’s normal that you want to know how long it’s going to take. However, once you start with your lessons, it’s important that you’re not stressed about deadlines or fast results.

The thing is, learning piano should be a journey, not a destination. And if you approach it that way, everything will be easier. 

Yes, it’s important to set clear goals. But your goals should also be realistic.

And it’s just as important to create a schedule and actually stick to it. If you skip a day, it’s not the end of the world. But it’s important to develop learning habits. That’s the only way to strengthen your skills.

But at the end of the day, you should enjoy the process.

Of course, practicing scales is not always fun. But if you think about scales as something that will improve your technique and your overall performance rather than as a boring exercise you have to do, your practice time will become much more effective.

After all, there are many ways to make practicing scales fun and interesting, but we will talk about that another time.

Nevertheless, if you really want to be able to play some familiar piano pieces within a few months, you should set a schedule, not a deadline. That way, you’ll stay motivated and persistent, and you’ll be able to play the piano effortlessly sooner than you think.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the popular question ‘how long does it take to learn piano’ has multiple correct answers.

If you want to learn the basics so you can play easy, popular songs, you’ll be able to do it properly within a few months; provided you have a good learning source.

But if you want to build a solid foundation and then become an intermediate or advanced player, it will take you much more than that. With a good teacher and regular practice, you can get really good at playing piano within three to five years.

And if you have a dream of becoming a professional pianist, you have to be ready for more than ten years of dedicated practice and effort.

So, it all comes down to your ultimate goal. But regardless of what your goals are, you should approach your piano learning in the right way. Don’t rush, practice every day (even for 5 minutes), and enjoy it!

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