This question can seem naive but it needs to be taken seriously. On the internet it is the most asked question about the piano. Or about the drums. Or about any instrument. People want to know how long it takes before they can play.
The answer is not easy for two simple reasons:
1: what do you want to play? Do you want to modestly be able to read notes on sheet music, prepare it for a few days and give a concert of sorts to your friends and family? Do you want to master the arcane of improvisation or the monuments of classical music? Do you want to transcribe onto the keyboard the boiling melodies in your head? Or do you want to accompany yourself with different arrangements while singing “a la” Elton John or Billy Joel?
Each of these question will gather a hundred different answers. Those answers will define the goal of the student. And each of these goal will require a certain amount of time and effort on the piano. Which brings on the second moving part: the discipline, the tenacity, the amount of time the student can deliver on a daily/weekly basis to climb that mountain.
So we now need to state the second reason why it is not easy to provide an answer to this question: How long does it take to learn the piano?
2: How much time can you dedicate to the craft? Every one is different on that topic. A few minutes per month is not the same as a few hours per day.
But I’ll tell you this: If you come to my studio as a brand new beginner, you will probably do your first song during the first lesson. Are you interested? Ah! You are?! Good! Because now, let me introduce to you the third part of the answer to the question: the fun! That’s the non-moving part. If you thought of the question it’s not because you have a precise idea of what type of piano player you want to become, after all, you are not an expert, you do not know the possibilities, but because you thought playing the piano would be fun. Keep that! Keep it tight and close. If you have a teacher, make sure you remind him or her what kind of fun you are looking for in your studies. Some students love the scales, some love to mess around and find their style in improvisation, some love deciphering the notes written on the chart, some love working on the phrasing, some love describing the mood of their heart on the keys. There are a million different student, meaning there are a million ways of having fun with the piano.
I help everyone in their journey. I help them answer the question: How long does it take to learn the piano? This is all very personal. So I do individual lessons. It is a good question. I hope to see you soon in my studio, or, these days, on Skype.