How Long Does It Take to Learn the Piano?

Learn to play the piano

Learn to play the piano

Learning to play the piano isn’t an exact art. While you can purchase a ‘fast pass’ course when you want to drive a car, there are fewer shortcuts to passing your Grade 1 exam.

However, some people do pass faster than others, and there are a number of reasons for that. If you want to learn the piano quickly, see if you can tick any of these boxes.

Past Experience

If you can already play an instrument, you have a considerable head start when learning the piano. If you can sight-read music, you will pick up the piano very quickly in the beginning. One of the things beginners find hardest is translating the notes into finger movements, and it takes a while before this comes easily. People who can read music may still need finger numbers, though; knowing where to place your hands will be a new skill.

When you learn to play, you’ll have to pick up the treble clef (for your right hand) and bass clef (for your left). It can take a while for a flautist to read bass clef, or a bassoonist to read treble, but your experience in moving your eyes and reading ahead will give you a considerable advantage.

Practice Time

You can perfect your playing style very quickly when you have lots of time to practice. If you’re having lessons, you’ll be expected to put in between 1 and 3 hours per week, as a rule. More is great, if you can manage it, but don’t feel you have to practice every single day, or cram in time the day before a lesson. Quick-learning students space out their practice, and they allow themselves three or four nights off each week to avoid getting fatigued.

If you find practicing difficult – perhaps you can’t practice late at night – consider buying a silent piano. These instruments behave like regular pianos, but you can optionally switch off the analogue mechanism and plug in headphones to hear a digital version instead.

Practice playing the piano regularly

Practice playing the piano regularly


Few piano players like to learn scales in the beginning. When you want to perfect your exam piece, the scales can seem like a waste of time. But there’s a reason to practice them. Scales help to improve your dexterity, and that helps you reach notes reliably and strike them accurately every time.

Scales help you to practice with each hand separately, which is a great way to build strength in your weaker hand.


The most important piece in the puzzle is a great teacher; someone who understands your strengths and weaknesses and knows how to direct and inspire you. If you don’t believe in your teacher, you’ll quickly lose interest, and that will bring your progress to a halt.

Part of liking your teacher is enjoying the pieces you’ve been assigned. If you want to play classical but your teacher has asked you to play ‘Take Five’, just tell them it’s not the right direction for you personally.

More Advice

Want to learn piano quickly and progress through your first exam? Speak to us about lessons today. We’re here to help you choose your perfect instrument so you can kick off your hobby today.

Image Credit (top image) : Flavio~ via Flickr Lower image: Pawel Loj via Flickr