How Long Does It Take To Learn The Piano?

If you’re considering starting, or you’ve recently started learning the piano, congratulations! You’ve probably already realized that there’s a huge learning curve when you’re learning a new skill like music.

So how long does it take to learn the piano? Are you too old to learn the piano? Read on to find out.

Why Learn to Play the Piano?

How Long Does It Take To Learn The Piano?

There are many benefits of learning an instrument. Studies have shown that kids develop neurophysiological distinction when they’re learning to play [1]. This helps them with literacy skills, improving their academic results.

And for adults, playing music is like a workout for our brain. Scientists have watched multiple parts of the brain light up at once when people have played music while connected to scanners.

Playing music also increases the activity and volume in the brain’s Corpus callosum [2]. This allows messages to get across both sides of the brain faster, increasing problem-solving abilities.

Even patients recovering from strokes have seen a significant improvement after beginning to learn an instrument [3].

How Long Does it Take to Learn the Piano?

First, you need to consider the question. What do you mean by “How long does it take to learn the Piano?” Are you aiming to play one song? Two songs? Would you like to be able to play Mozart or Bach?

Would you like to be able to pick up a piece of music and easily play it? Maybe you want to play for weddings or you’d like to play at church.

Once you’ve thought about your goals, you can then better understand how much time and effort you will need to put in to reach them.

The 10,000 Hour Myth

For people who are passionate about music, it can completely take over their lives.

You may have heard about the 10,000-hour rule. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he says it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice before you can consider yourself to be a master in a particular field.

Gladwell came to this conclusion after studying the lives of some of the most successful people in the world. A good example is the Berlin violinists. In 1990, psychologists studied these violin students, asking them how many hours they had practiced over their entire careers.

All of these violinists began playing at around the age of five. By the time they were eight, some were practicing more than others. And by the time they were twenty, the best performers had averaged 10,000 hours of practice. Compare this to the average performers who had only completed around 4,000 hours worth of practice.

Most scientists now believe that this rule is a myth [4]. Musicians who have won major music competitions usually have closer to 25,000 hours worth of practice. But disregarding the number of hours, there are too many variables to consider.

The idea of “10,000 hours to greatness” can now be summed up as “lots and lots of practice.” But the type of practice you do is important as well.

Practice Makes Perfect

Learning is a gradual process, and skills evolve slowly. Playing the piano is like any other skill, and you’ll have highs and lows as you learn.

One of the most important considerations is how much time you have to devote to practice.

It’s important to regularly set aside time for practice. This will allow you to concentrate solely on playing, making it easier for you to learn.

Choosing the Right Teacher

When asking “How long does it take to learn the piano?”, you’ll need to think about choosing the right teacher. A great teacher will stoke your passion for music, support you, and make you excited about learning more.

Here are some questions to consider when choosing a teacher:

  • Can you easily talk to the teacher and ask questions?
  • Do they respond to you in a way that resonates?
  • What qualities are important to you in a teacher? Does that person have them?
  • Does the teacher understand how you learn?
  • Does the teacher move at a pace that works for you?
  • Do they seem enthusiastic and passionate about the piano?
  • Are they motivating and positive?

Learning One Piece of Music

If there’s only one piece of music that you want to learn, you can learn it pretty quickly if you apply yourself. There are many different video tutorials that will teach you that one piece by rote.

That means that you’re simply copying the finger movements of the player online. If you’re just trying to learn a particular song, or you want to see if you would enjoy playing the piano, this is a quick way to learn.

Reading Music

If you want to be able to play the piano with a level of skill, you’ll need to learn to read music.

There are around 48 notes to learn on the page in relation to your piano. If you’re regularly practicing and hitting the notes on the page with your fingers, you could read basic music within around 6 months.

Most people don’t put in the amount of practice that they need to though, so you could be looking at around two years instead. It all depends on how often you practice.

If you want to be able to read intermediate music on sight, this takes longer. You can expect to add at least another six years after you’ve learned to read beginner music.

Advanced Music

If you want to play advanced music like Rachmaninoff or Liszt, you can expect to be learning for ten years. Kids often pick up skills like playing the piano much easier than adults. This is why you often see eight-year-old prodigies. But if you consider that they’ve often been playing since they were two, it’s easy to see why they’re so good.

Adults generally have less time to practice, and our minds aren’t quite as sponge-like compared to when we were kids.


Hopefully, that information answers the question “How long does it take to learn the piano?”

For many people, it’s disheartening to think about how much practice they’ll need to do before they become competent or master the piano.

But it’s important to remember that you’ll be meeting goals along the way. If you really enjoy the piano, the process of learning will also be fun and exciting.

Are you looking for a beginner piano? Check out our reviews here.

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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