The best method to learn the piano that Zach Evans tested over the years teaching students is to break up your practice into 3 sections. Improve your technique, learn how to play by ear, and finally, learn to play songs. If you practice around 40 minutes each day and if you stick to this routine for a minimum of 6 months you’ll get the desired result!
Read on and you will find a detailed step-by-step game plan to learn all of these different aspects of the piano in the time you can afford.
How long does it take to learn piano technique?
I define solid technique as being able to play all 12 Major Scales at 90 bpm, sixteenth notes. With this level of technique, you have the finger strength, dexterity, and coordination to play most songs.
It takes about 12 weeks to get there. If you practice 10 minutes a day for 5 to 6 days per week. This doesn’t mean you can skip 5 days and practice an hour on the last day. Anybody who has played the piano knows that doesn’t count.
Also, you’ll need to practice using “Accelerated Learning Techniques” if you want to have a rock-solid technique in 12 weeks. Just playing scales over and over won’t get you results as fast as you´d like. I have four lessons on accelerated learning for piano in my free course, Become a Piano Superhuman.
Can you really get a solid technique in only 12 weeks? Yes, yes you can. I’ll address exactly why a bit later in this blog post.
How long does it take to learn how to play by ear?
If you want to master learning a pop song by ear in about 10 minutes, follow these steps:
First, just like with technique, you have to practice 10 minutes a day, 5 to 6 days per week.
Second, and I learned this the hard way, you have to use systematic exercises and drills, you can’t just wing it.
You can find play-by-ear drills in this free course. In college, I took a class that used some of these drills and I learned so much faster. Within the semester I was playing songs by ear.
If you can already play songs hands together it’ll take you about 4 months to get good at playing the piano by ear. If you’re a complete beginner and you’ve never played a song hands together before, it’ll take you about 6 months because you’ll need to learn some other skills first.
How long does it take to learn songs on piano?
It takes about 6 months until someone who hears you play a song says “Wow, you’re good at piano.” You’d need to practice about 20 minutes a day, 5 to 6 days per week. You’ll need to break your songs into sections and really focus on the difficult sections that need extra work. Don’t spend half your practice sessions playing the easy parts you already know – this won’t get you the results you want in 6 months.
What are the most common mistakes?
Before I move on and show you a specific game plan for learning piano I have to address those who think it’s “too good to be true” to learn piano this fast. After working with so many students, I know the amazing results that can be achieved with focused, consistent practice. However, the biggest mistake people make is: they don’t follow the little details.
So many students come into my lesson, show me their scales, and they’re not where they’re supposed to be. They say they’ve practised 20 minutes per day, 6 days per week, but when I dig deeper, I always find something out. You know what that is? That they didn’t follow the details. They really practised 3 days instead of 6 days and didn’t realize how many days they had skipped.
Another thing that happens a lot is that people don’t actually use a stopwatch to time their practice sessions. I used to do the same thing and over time those 10-minute practice sessions shrunk to 6 or 7 minutes. It’s not the same.
If you stay consistent and really time it out, you’ll get the results I’ve been sharing with you in this blog post.
Something else people say is that “everybody’s different.” Yes, that’s true, but they aren’t that different. Even if someone is a bit slower to pick up different aspects of learning piano they still won’t be that far behind over time if they’re practising consistently, focusing on the parts they don’t already know. Maybe they’ll be a month or two behind, but it won’t take them twice as long to learn.
For you, it might take a little longer or shorter, but it’ll be about the same amount of time as I’ve mentioned.
The step-by-step learning plan
If you took 6 months to learn piano, spent 10 minutes a day on scales, 10 minutes a day on play-by-ear drills, and 20 minutes a day on songs, you would:
- Have a solid technique
- Be able to play by ear
- Be able to play songs where people would say, “Wow, you’re really good at piano”
A total of 40 minutes a day for 6 months. That’s all it takes.
Don’t have 40 minutes a day? Let’s say you only have 20 minutes. Maybe you spend 3 months just focused on technique and playing by ear. Another three months you may focus on playing songs. Then, you’ll cycle through both again and in about a year you’ll be good at all 3.
Remember, it’s all about the details, using the right techniques, drills, and strategies to accelerate your practice. Consistent practice is only good if you’re practising the right way. So make sure you’re focusing and drilling in good habits each and every practice session.
Jellynote decided to interview Zach Evans, a piano teacher specialising in teaching adult learners, to share his experience with learning the piano. He’s taught over 200,000 people through his free Piano Superhuman online course. You can sign up for free on his website here.
This article was originally posted on Zach´s website.