How Long Does It Take To Learn Piano?

how long does it take to learn pianoHow long does it take to learn piano? Is that really the right question to ask?

In the video below, Steve talks about what’s necessary to learn piano the fastest way possible.

He also reveals the issue is bigger than just the amount of time involved.

Take 3 minutes and watch the video below as Steve answers how long does it take to learn piano:

“How Long Does It Take To Learn Piano?” Video

5 Lessons I Learned From Piano Training

Now that you’ve taken a few minutes to watch the video above, let’s talk about how long does it take to learn piano.

I’ve asked myself this question many times. In my own piano learning journey, here’s what I found out:

1. Are You Relying Too Much On Sheet Music?

how long does it take to learn pianoBeing able to read sheet music is a very important skill. Centuries of music are documented through this format.

If you want to learn efficiently, you need to learn how to read sheet music.

However, overdependence on written music disables you.

There are a lot of pianists who can sight read and play sophisticated music.

But, they’re left powerless if you do one thing. How do you stop them from playing? Take away their sheet music.

SImply playing memorized tunes does not work in styles where playing by ear and improvisation are important.

The Pitfalls Of Sheet Music Dependency

how long does it take to learn pianoAs Steve said in the video, you can’t go too far with just learning piano from sheet music.

It’s a very slow way of learning piano.

Why? You are only developing mostly two skills with this approach.

Overdependence on sheet music only builds muscle memory and sight reading.

Here are some of the things that will cripple you when you depend too much on sheet music:

  • You automatically cut out improvisation from strict adherence to the written note.
  • The inability how harmonies, scales, and other aspects of music work out.
  • Playing any chord voicing apart from what is written becomes impossible.
  • Helplessness when the music you’re playing requires modification, like a change of key.

Sheet music dependency makes you an inflexible musician.

So you ask, “How long does it take to learn piano with written music?”

Like Steve, I’d say that it can take 20 lifetimes if you do it the wrong way. The only people in the world who I know have that much time to deal with written scores are concert pianists.

Given your hectic schedule, do you have the same luxury of time as a concert pianist?

There is a better, more efficient way of dealing with sheet music or other modes of learning. I’m going to show you how to do it in the next few tips. Read on.

2. Reminder: You Need To Master Rhythm

how long does it take to learn pianoThe most basic of musical elements is rhythm. As we know in jazz piano, it is the most essential skill to learn.

Mastering rhythm is key to learning jazz piano fast.

Didn’t Duke Ellington say, “It ain’t no thing if it ain’t got swing?” He’s right.

Only about 5% of your listeners might notice a wrong note. However, everybody notices even the slightest rhythmic mistake.

When you’re trying to learn a new tune, learn the rhythm first.

Many musicians take this advice seriously that they often play against recordings to get the rhythm right.

You will learn piano faster once your rhythm and timing are solid.

How To Learn Great Piano Rhythm

how long does it take to learn pianoStart listening to great records and simply follow along with the rhythm. Let your body respond naturally to the groove and the rhythm of the music.

Take time attend gigs and concerts featuring the best musicians. Observe how they groove to the music. Also, try to feel their groove along the way.

Once you have chosen a song to learn, start out by simply drumming your hands along the rhythm of the part you are learning.

After getting a feel for the rhythm, practice the tune on the piano with a metronome, a backing track, or the recording itself.

If you have access to other musicians, start jamming the song with them. This will help you acquire rhythmic accuracy.

As you’ve read above, rhythm is one key to faster learning. Do you want to have killer rhythm like the greats?

how long does it take to learn pianoIf you’re not sure how to develop groove like the pros, we have an entire section inside our Premium Elite Jazz Lessons Membership program that will help you.

Get instant access to this program right here.

Now that rhythm is making you learn piano faster, let’s go even further.

3. Why Music Theory Helps You Learn Piano Faster

how long does it take to learn pianoEverything in music revolves around patterns. If you understand patterns in music, you’ll definitely learn piano fast.

The best way to understand these patterns is through learning piano chord theory.

Every song ever written will use at least 2 musical elements. The study of music theory will help you discover and understand them.

Examples of these musical elements are:

  • Chords/harmony
  • Melodies
  • Scales
  • Time signature/meter
  • Dynamics
  • Timbres
  • Rhythms.

Now how does music theory answer the question, “How long does it take to learn piano?”

When you understand how musical elements work together, you’ll understand how to make music with the piano fast.

In fact, the piano is the best instrument for learning music theory.

Why The Piano Is Great For Learning Music Theory

how long does it take to learn pianoWhen you learn music theory with the piano, you can easily visualize how musical elements and patterns work.

The piano keyboard is a great visual tool to see chords, scales, and other elements in action.

Here are some examples:

  • If you look at the black keys, you’ll instantly get the Gb pentatonic scale.
  • All of the white keys form a C major scale.
  • Playing an E major triad plus the 9th and #11th in root position reveals proper hand positioning and fingering in reference to the keyboard.

How Music Theory Shortens The Piano Learning Curve

how long does it take to learn pianoLet’s take a practical example of how music theory works to shorten your piano learning curve:

The majority of the jazz tunes in existence have the ii – V – I chord progression. If you understand what a ii – V – I means, you can recognize that pattern in many songs.

If you know how to apply and play that pattern, you’ve effectively cut down your learning time.

Learning music theory on the piano allows you to hear, see, and feel how music theory works.

It’s simply a multisensory experience that will speed up learning.

The only way you’ll understand what those means is through the study of music theory.

Let’s get deeper into a more specific aspect of music theory in jazz: jazz harmony quick chords.

4. I Studied Jazz Harmony For 10 Years. Here’s What Happened

how long does it take to learn pianoIn my pursuit of learning jazz, studying jazz harmony was a given.

In my study of jazz harmony, I learned about how chords work, especially for playing piano.

I was able to understand how I can use chords in any song I’m learning.

Because I know jazz harmony, I discovered that I could learn any song I wanted to play really fast.

There were many times when I sat in with other bands with little or no knowledge of their songs but I was able to play them.

Not only was I able to use jazz chords for comping, learning jazz harmony enabled me to understand, write, and improvise sweet music.

Therefore, knowledge of jazz harmony and music theory enables me to play well, even if the repertoire changes every week.

With all of these tips, how long does it take to learn piano? It’s much shorter than what you’d expect.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a more effective way of learning piano.

Whether you do it by ear or through sheet music, these learning techniques work every time.

A Comprehensive Course To Learn Jazz Harmony And Improvisation

how long does it take to learn pianoAnother thing about jazz harmony is that it sounds really sophisticated.

In fact, keyboard master David Garfield filmed a whole system that shows you how to  grab the hippest chord voicings from any scale and every note.

If you want to see how this jazz legend gets such amazing sounding chords , we have 11 chapters inside the Jazz Improvisation Super System where David shows you how.

Get instant access to this course here.

5. How To Learn Piano Without Frustration

how long does it take to learn pianoAre you worn out from confusing information about how to learn piano? Do you find learning the piano frustrating?

The good news is we have the most comprehensive method for learning jazz piano on the web: the Premium Elite Jazz Lessons Membership program.

If you want the fastest way to learn jazz piano, play the best standards, and improvise powerful solos, this is the program for you.

how long does it take to learn pianoInside Premium Membership, you’ll discover:

Now, let’s try answering that question again. How long does it take to learn piano?

Like Steve said in the video, it’s only a few months if you know where to put your focus in. That’s exactly why we created the Premium Elite Jazz Lessons Membership program. To dramatically cut down on your learning time.

That way you can have more fun at the piano, learn one of the greatest styles of music of all time (jazz and blues), and learn to play the best songs in the world.

I hope that I have successfully revealed to you where to put your time into learning piano. When you work hard and smart, I’m sure you’ll learn really fast.

Did you find this article useful? Want to add more tips that I may not have mentioned? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Thank you so much for your time. I’m always here to support you in your piano journey.

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Mark A. Galang, OTRP, MAM-MT(c)

Mark Galang is one of our contributors at He loves teaching all styles of music especially jazz, blues, rock, classical, and Christian music. Mark is also a licensed occupational therapist in the Philippines that combines music therapy intervention with occupational therapy.