Learning the piano is easier for some than for others. This is a fact of life, and some people have talent while others will have to rely more on hardcore practice than anything else.
Let’s just assume that you are not a piano prodigy that can just sit down and start pounding out Mozart.
How long is it going to take you to learn basic piano skills and technique? There are various steps and factors to be taken into account, so let’s take a look at each one.
Learning Notes, Keyboard Layout, and Sheet Music
The first step you will need to take to learn basic piano is to learn the different notes on the musical scale are, the layout of the keyboard, and how to read sheet music. If you plan on being a great piano player, these are the first essentials you will need to master.
Of course, if you expect to play anything with skill, you need to be able to tell what the different notes are and which keys on the keyboard coincide with specific notes. You will therefore also need to learn about the different octaves which your piano can play.
In order to play music from a sheet, you will also need to learn about the staff, particularly the treble clef and bass clef, as well as how to read sheet music in terms of the musical scale, tempo, and more. For a beginner who studies and practices every single day, learning this should take no longer than 2 weeks.
Learning Piano Technique and Building Dexterity
The next step in the piano learning journey, after you have mastered sheet music, is to learn the right piano technique, as well as build finger dexterity and muscle memory. Surprisingly, playing the piano is quite taxing on the fingers. For newbies, it can quickly cause fatigue.
Therefore, it will take some time to build up manual dexterity and the stamina to play for any prolonged period. Moreover, after a while of playing, you should have enough muscle memory to automatically play notes and chords without having to think about it. This all comes through practice.
Next, you will also have to learn what the proper hand placement is, as well as which fingers to use to play specific notes and chords. Most people would define basic piano technique as being able to play all 12 scales at 90 beats per minute.
Remember that you will also need to master using both hands in unison, as both hands are used to play separate chords and notes, and this will look different for the right hand and the left. Developing solid positioning, speed, technique, and finger strength will take a few months, especially when it comes to using both hands in unison.
Most people will start by learning with their dominant hand first, which for some may take 1 week and it may take others 1 month. To learn proper 2 hand technique, it will take longer, especially because your other hand, the non-dominant one, is going to be weaker and slower. Learning to play with both hands in unison, depending on your level of talent, can take anywhere from 2 to 5 months.
The Time it Takes to Learn to Play Full Songs
This one is a bit hard to define. How long it takes you to learn to play basic piano songs will depend on two things — your own skill and ability, as well as the difficulty of the song in question.
For most people, for basic piano songs, it’s going to take between 4 and 7 months to play some simple tunes. Of course, if you are a true beginner, it will probably take longer to learn a Mozart piece, potentially a full year or more.
However, you can speed up this process by ensuring that you have mastered all the basics and have substantially built up your technique and dexterity. Most people can learn simple songs within a few months of starting.
Playing by Ear
Playing by ear is another tricky one. Some people can start playing by ear within a couple months of starting their piano journey, while others never master it. This really depends on your own ability to differentiate between notes in songs, as well as your ability to match those notes to those on your keyboard.
It All Depends on How Much You Practice
Of course, how fast you master basic piano is all about how often you practice. If you are truly dedicated and you want to become a professional, practicing for at least 1 hour per day is recommended. Some people may spend up to 4 hours per day training.
In all reality, to learn basic piano, it should not take you longer than 1 full year. Of course, the more you practice, the faster you will learn and the better you will get.