How Long Will It Take to Learn (insert your instrument of choice here)?”

That’s one of the most common questions we’re asked. Beginners want to know that they’ll be able to play something in a reasonable amount of time. They’d like to know how long before they’ll be able to share their playing or singing with a few friends. I have good news! It only takes a short period of time to be able to play a song.

learn piano

10,000 Hours To Learn Music?

You’ve heard it before. It takes 10,000 hours to learn to do anything. Well, the actual research is about how long it takes to get to a professional level at something. We’d agree with the 10,000 hours idea for professionals. It takes a at least 10,000 hours to even think about becoming a professional player or singer. We’ve worked in the music industry, at a national level for the last 20+ years . All the outstanding players we worked with had worked that hard. None of them had clocked less than 10,000 hours. Most before they’d left high school.

learn guitar

300 Hours To Learn Music?

Very few of our clients are interested in working towards playing professionally. The large majority play for their own enjoyment. For most, it’s a hobby and they have careers outside of the music industry. They’d just like to be able to play the guitar with some friends around the BBQ. Some want to sing with a choir, others to play piano by themselves. At IMA, these are the people we’re extra excited about helping. We want to see more recreational music makers in Australia.

That being said, a lot of our clients like to do their hobby really well. We suggest something like 300 to 500 hours as a benchmark to work towards. Work towards this goal if you’d like to be able to play extremely well for your own enjoyment.

Just clocking 300 hours isn’t going to get you to where you want to go though. That’s where having a great music teacher comes in. You’ve got to use your time wisely and practice the right things with the right technique.

learn singing

20 Hours To Learn Music!

If you’re starting from scratch, all it takes is about 20 hours. 20 hours to be able to play a simple song. Check out this great TED Talk about 20 hours of practice. We’ve seen people clock 20 hours or more without getting to where they want. They were usually self taught. They hadn’t had the guidance to give them the correct technique to make it easy for them to learn.

How Quickly Do You Want To Get There?

So how long is it actually going to take? It’s pretty straight forward math. If you want it to take:

  • 20 days: Practice for one hour a day.
  • 40 days: Practice for half an hour a day.

What we’d recommend though is something like this:

  • 24 weeks: If you do 6 minutes a day with one half hour lesson a week, it’ll take about 18 weeks. (just over 4 months). We’re allowing for days off here. Also, all the other disruptive things that get in the way of your regular practice.

learn music

Everybody is busy. Finding an hour or half an hour per day is difficult in our busy adult lives. We suggest scheduling just 6 minutes a day. You’ll always be able to find 6 minutes somewhere in your schedule. The great thing is that your practice time may blow out into half an hour if you get lost in it. If it doesn’t, at least you’ve done your six minutes practice for the day. Why 6 miutes? We’ll cover that in an upcomming blog post.

Practising everyday is the trick. Music practice is like filling a slowly leaking bucket. If you top it up everyday, you’ll get ahead of the ‘leak’. Once you’re bucket is quite full, you hardly notice the leak at all. It’s all about getting the habits into place to do some regular practise.

Once you do that, learning music becomes a breeze.

The only thing left to do is to get started now!

IMA Music Mentoring — Brisbane’s Premier Music School.

Book an introductory music lesson and start following your musical dreams.