Robert Estrin - piano expert

How Long Should it Take to Learn a Piece of Music?

Useful tips for all musicians

In this video, Robert gives you helpful tips for learning a new piece of music.

Released on February 10, 2021

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to, I'm Robert Estrin. The question today is how long should it take you to learn a piece of music? This is a great question and I know that there's a lot of people out there who I encounter all the time, who feel really committed to the piano and passionate about it. And they want to be able to learn a piece and they say, "I don't care if this takes me a year to learn, I just really want to learn it." And in many instances, this is not necessarily the best approach. Let me explain. In the amount of time that it would take in that year to learn one piece of music or maybe two pieces of music. Imagine instead, you focus on pieces that you can master in maybe a couple of weeks, a week, two weeks, three weeks, and you build up a repertoire of pieces you can play on a high level.

Each one successfully and going a little bit more difficult than each one, just gradations of difficulty and expanding not only the difficulty, but the style, the range, the mood, the period, all different aspects of music that you assimilate into your technique and into your head and into your hands. And guess what? After a year, that piece that maybe would have taken you a year might only take you three weeks or two weeks or four weeks. So that's the secret is finding music on your level. Now there are certainly exceptions to what I've just said. For example, maybe you're a pretty serious pianist and you've just always wanted to study a monumental work like the Brahms Handel Variations, or the Beethoven Hammerklavier Sonata, the Liszt B Minor Sonata. Are you going to learn that in two or three weeks? No, not likely.

That could take you months to really learn and maybe up to a year to get on a performance level, a major concerto or something of that nature. But even if you were learning such a work, I would strongly recommend that in parallel you'll also work on other formative pieces along the way. So at the end of the year, you don't have just that one piece, but maybe you have a dozen or more pieces that you've learned over the course of the year, including that one really long-term piece that you've always wanted to learn that's going to take you months to learn.

Always be assimilating new music of different styles, different techniques, and you will grow as a musician far faster and greater than just focusing on one or two pieces that you really want to learn. You will actually be able to learn those pieces far sooner and get them at a higher level if you have progressive repertoire that you're always mastering on the piano. I hope this is helpful for you and don't find this discouraging. This is actually the fastest way that you're going to be able to learn that piece you've always wanted learn. Again I'm Robert Estrin. I do teach lessons privately with video chat. And my Patreon subscribers get to ask all kinds of questions that I make videos on, so you can consider joining my Patreon. Thanks for all you subscribers here at YouTube. We'll see you next time. Again I'm Robert Estrin at
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

William Clarke on February 10, 2021 @2:21 pm PST
It entirely depends on when and at what age you start. The younger the better. I started age eight years with a very experienced teacher. Classical music only and as the years progressed, so did the level of difficulty. After five years I became profficient at playing most classical composers in any key or time signature. I would say that five years under a very good teacher would be minimum time span
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