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How Long Does It Take To Learn To Play Piano For Adults?

How long does it take adults to learn how to play the piano?

The real answer to this question, unfortunately, is “it depends.” Your piano education will continue as long as you play; there is no clear conclusion to it. Even the best concert pianists are still developing their skills. For the same reason that kids pick up languages more quickly than adults—namely, that their brains are more malleable—I will say that this process happens much more quickly for kids than it does for adults. That’s not to say that adults can’t become competent at their craft; you just might need more patience.

To give you a general idea of what your level will be after a certain period of time, however, here it is. The figures reflect a beginner adult who has never played the piano or any other musical instrument before.

Learning The Piano: Is It Difficult?

Is learning the piano simple? It is undoubtedly the most difficult instrument to master. This is due to the fact that it necessitates excellent coordination and multitasking abilities. One rhythmic formula must be sung with one hand while a different one must be sung with the other. It almost seems like you have to write with different things in each hand.

You need to dedicate a few years of your life to mastering this rhythmic coordination, along with the necessary muscle memory, agility, and playing at various speeds. Comparatively speaking, the piano takes longer than other instruments to master. 

However, it all depends on the level you want to reach. Since the first levels of the piano are typically simple to master, it is actually simple to learn the piano at this stage. From the advanced stage on, everything becomes significantly more complicated. See more about How Hard Is It To Learn To Play The Harmonica?

How Long Does It Take To Learn Piano As An Adult?

Again, attempting to quantify this is very difficult. It depends on a variety of elements, including your rate of learning, your musical background, and how much free time you have for practice. If, for instance, you are a Grade 8 violinist, you will be able to learn the piano very quickly to the point where it might only take you two years to reach the same level. Expect to play for at least five years if you’re a complete beginner before you reach the same level.

The kind of instruction you are receiving will also affect how long it takes. You will learn quickly if you are working with a great, knowledgeable teacher who can spot and correct your errors very quickly while also prescribing repertoire that you are interested in and that will aid in your development. Your personal development will be much slower if you are working with a teacher who is not as invested in it or who lacks the necessary expertise to teach complete beginners (and from my experience, very few teachers possess these qualities).

Finding the teaching style that works best for you is a crucial piece of advice in this case. A knowledgeable instructor who is aware of the typical pitfalls that beginners encounter is ideal. In contrast, many instructors claim to have experience instructing beginners when in fact they do not and would be much better suited to instructing advanced or intermediate level students. 

You might think about using a piano learning app or just trying to teach yourself if you can’t afford or don’t have time for a teacher. You can improve with a piano learning app, but be aware that it will take longer than working with an expert teacher. There is still hope if you can’t go to a teacher; just be aware that it might take you longer because not everyone can afford or has the time for it.

Beginner Piano Player

A beginner pianist should possess a strong sense of rhythm, a working knowledge of all piano keys, and a foundational understanding of music theory. To learn the fundamentals of the piano, become comfortable with it, multitask, and learn the fundamentals of music theory—such as the note values—it takes about a month. If you don’t practice as frequently, lack rhythm, and have poor motor coordination, it could also take you up to six months.

You will also pick up fundamental skills at this stage, such as how to hold yourself and move your hands correctly, how to play at a slow tempo while using both hands, and how to learn songs on the piano. A novice pianist should be able to play simple songs, for instance this one:

Intermediate Piano Player

Similar to a beginner, an intermediate pianist should be able to play with both hands at a faster tempo and have started using the piano pedals. These pedals have effects like sustain or pianissimo that change the songs. A player at this skill level ought to be able to learn songs longer than those of a beginner.

Since the legs are now also involved in singing along with the hands, the playing is faster, and the singer can perform simple songs without a partiture, an intermediate pianist should naturally have better rhythm and motor skill coordination. The player can now distinguish between major and minor chords simply by hearing them, and they can concentrate on taking short piano lessons.

A regular pianist needs two to three months to progress to the intermediate level as they improve their speed, coordination, and understanding of other fundamental music theory ideas. Songs like this one, for instance, should be playable by an intermediate musician:

Advanced Piano Player

An advanced pianist should have excellent multitasking skills, be able to sing even faster, be able to deal with tempo changes, and know more advanced music theory.

The average person can perform flawlessly in bands and orchestras at this level, which takes two to three years to reach. Most people won’t be able to perform at a level even higher than this unless they want to become virtuosos.

The hardest part of becoming an advanced player is honing your rhythm skills, such as playing one rhythmic formula with one hand while using the other to play a different one. Advanced players also practice songs at faster tempos, play without music sheets, develop their hearing, and all of this takes years. Here is a lovely, challenging song that a proficient pianist should be able to play with ease:

Expert Piano Player

Expert pianists are capable of playing in piano orchestras and concerts because they have attained the highest levels of piano proficiency and music theory education. They can analyze any song simply by listening to it, inferring the techniques used in singing as well as the notes, chords, tempo, and pretty much anything else. They also have excellent coordination and rhythm.

Since a pianist must be able to memorize an hour’s worth of music and play continuously for 40 minutes or so without stopping, it typically takes ten years of piano study to reach the expert level. As a result, coordination, muscle memory, speed, and endurance are constantly improved. An example of a song for a professional-level pianist is as follows:

Professional Piano Player

Professional pianists are the crème de la crème, mastering every aspect of the piano, and music theory, and possessing insane coordination, muscle memory, speed, agility, and everything else related.

To perform at a professional level on the piano, you need about 15 years of experience. It takes so much because you train your resistance, playing for longer periods of time, and your brain is trained to be able to remember two hours of concert material. Any genre of music should be playable flawlessly by professionals.

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The Importance Of A Piano Teacher

No matter where you are in your piano learning, having a teacher is extremely beneficial. Everything is greatly influenced by piano teachers.

Things like your interpretation of the music, creating beneficial lesson plans, assisting you in finding a way to practice music at home, and much more. On your quest to achieve your musical objectives, consider them as a helpful road map.

Your learning speed is the factor that piano instructors have the biggest influence on. So that you don’t spend countless hours practicing the piano, a good piano teacher will show you efficient methods of doing so.

It’s really not typical to practice that much at the lower levels of skill, except for professional pianists who choose to spend a lot of time on their repertoire. I mean, sure, if you want to, that’s fine, but not if you’re doing it because you don’t know what’s going on.

Your chances of being successful at the piano will be seriously hampered by a bad teacher. I wrote a short guide on how to choose a piano teacher; it’ll help you tremendously in this regard.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that, when it comes to teachers, I’ve been on both sides of the argument. Fortunately, a few of my early instructors were top-notch and provided me with a solid foundation.

Teachers of the piano influence students’ development on both a technical and an encouragement level. Instead of having negative feelings about a skill because it isn’t perfect, you should be confident in your ability to play the piano.

The goal should be to put in diligent effort and improve over time. That mindset will be forced upon you by a good teacher. See more about How Long Does It Take To Learn The Ukulele?

Can I Learn The Piano On My Own?

Without a doubt, yes is the answer to this. I was primarily self-taught up until the age of fourteen or fifteen, if not earlier. I had a good ear for music and could play piano chords fairly quickly. I could theoretically “play” the piano.

Nevertheless, I had no knowledge of music theory. I had no prior experience with learning to read music. I wouldn’t have known what to do with a piece of music if you had placed it in front of me. This is a very serious issue. Now, I could have easily gone online and taught myself how to read music. Eventually, I would have been able to pick it up. If I had a teacher, it would have gone more quickly and easily.

Without a doubt, you can use YouTube videos or apps like Flowkey and Simply Piano to learn. You won’t suffer any consequences from doing this. However, there are some things a teacher can point out or explain to you that will speed up your learning. A teacher who can assist you will make the process much more effective. Without a teacher, you will eventually run into a problem that you are unable to solve and won’t know who to turn to for help.

It’s not just true for players at the beginning or intermediate levels. Almost anyone can relate to this; I recall having certain issues while I was in college. Perhaps there is some awkward fingering or a challenging chord voicing somewhere. Having a teacher nearby to direct me was always very beneficial. See more about How To Learn To Play Mandolin For Beginners?

How Challenging Is Learning The Piano On Your Own?

When playing the piano alone, it’s simple to reach the intermediate or even advanced levels. However, if you want to advance further, you will undoubtedly need to conduct extensive research, gather knowledge, and receive guidance because once you reach the advanced level, youtube videos and the internet won’t be sufficient.

Only through books and with a professional by your side can you learn these things. Up until this point, learning the piano on your own wasn’t too difficult because the majority of what you needed could be found online. To see improvements, practice scales, become familiar with fundamental music theory, learn easy songs, and advance as you see fit, it is crucial to establish a daily practice habit and play the piano. 

How Much Time Is Needed To Learn An Instrument?

Depending on your skills, you can learn to play any instrument in about half a year or less. However, this time period only encompasses the fundamentals and straightforward music.

It should take you two to four years to advance to any instrument’s advanced stage, depending on a number of factors, including the instrument you want to learn, your natural abilities, and how much time and effort you put into it.

For instance, it would take you half a year to learn how to play the drums, but you would need to practice frequently. In terms of the violin, it’s the same time period. You can pick up the fundamentals of playing the guitar in as little as six months. 


If someone takes longer to learn the piano, they shouldn’t give up. The journey is where the fun is!  Try to think of your piano study as something you’re doing for a lifetime of musical fulfillment and enjoyment, not just to get to a certain level of skill. For me, nothing compares to being able to sit down at the piano at the end of a busy day and play a favorite piece. If you’ve always wanted to learn the piano, please get started right away! With the help of our Hoffman Academy lessons, you can begin learning the piano for nothing. Although it might seem like a long road now, you’ll look back in five or ten years and be so glad you started that journey.

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