Some claim that learning to play the piano is an easy task, but those who state this may not appreciate the hours of dedication and practice that must be implemented in order to create a skillset. The piano is one of the most difficult musical instruments to play yet one of the most rewarding; but how long does it really take to learn to play the piano?
There are some considerations or factors that help to determine the complexity of learning the piano. In a general way and being direct in the answer to this question, learning to play will depend on the level you want to achieve. For example, if you have prior knowledge of the piano, it may only take a month or two to play to a good standard. If you have the knowledge and the ability to read sheet music, you will have a head start on those who are novices. On the other hand, it can take you a whole year just to learn the rudiments of piano music, if you are learning with no prior knowledge or skill.
When beginning the learning process, you will complete levels and grades. After 1 year, you should be reaching level 1 after a year of dedicated study, and level 2 after another year, and so on. If you want to ease into the piano learning and play with greater dexterity and not get confused by using both hands to create melodies, it may take you more than a year. To be ‘fluent’, the average time is 10 years. It can be up to 15 years for slower learners but this is to achieve a high level of professionalism. Everything will depend on the experience you have and the dedication you put into learning. A person who spends about 10 hours a week studying the fundamentals of the piano is not going to progress as quickly as a person who spends 5 hours a day learning. As we age, we lose the ability to react as sharply and to hear as adequately. You must be aware of identifying musical patterns, and understanding what each note sounds like. As we age, this may become more complex to grasp.
One of the greatest and most common difficulties among new pianists is the skill and independence of their hands. If it is already difficult to play the piano with one hand, then adding in your second hand complicates it further. In principle, this difficulty is due to the tendency to follow a melody or to try to play a melody with both hands, something that should not be the case - but it is what often takes the longest amount of time to conquer.
While one hand carries a slow rhythm and tempo, the other will carry a faster or intermediate tempo. So dividing your motor functions in two so that both hands play different notes and melodies is very complicated. This is where the practice comes in and the time to combat this issue, all whilst reading sheet music. Gaining knowledge and experience of the chords is vital but this will be learned early on, within the first few months if you’re showing signs of competency.
Overall, the time it takes to learn a basic level of skill is a year but there are multi-faceted reasons attached. The amount of time you put into rehearsing, the number of piano lessons you have and the desire to learn. So whilst we may not be concert musicians in a matter of weeks, there is an element of passion also.