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How long time should it take to learn a piece? (Read 613 times)

Offline slurred_beat

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How long time should it take to learn a piece?
« on: September 07, 2021, 07:27:26 PM »
Hi all, I'm wondering how long it should take to learn a new piece. Say I open a book with the Beethoven patetique, how long should it take from I start working until it is finished? Or I know different pieces are different length, but say 15 or 20 minute piece. How long should it take?

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Beethoven: Sonata 8 (Pathétique), opus 13
piano sheet music of Sonata 8 (Pathétique)


Offline brogers70

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Re: How long time should it take to learn a piece?
«Reply #1 on: September 07, 2021, 08:22:48 PM »
"There was an artist in the city of Kouroo who was disposed to strive after perfection. One day it came into his mind to make a staff. Having considered that in an imperfect work time is an ingredient, but into a perfect work time does not enter, he said to himself, It shall be perfect in all respects, though I should do nothing else in my life. He proceeded instantly to the forest for wood, being resolved that it should not be made of unsuitable material; and as he searched for and rejected stick after stick, his friends gradually deserted him, for they grew old in their works and died, but he grew not older by a moment. His singleness of purpose and resolution, and his elevated piety, endowed him, without his knowledge, with perennial youth. As he made no compromise with Time, Time kept out of his way, and only sighed at a distance because he could not overcome him. Before he had found a stock in all respects suitable the city of Kouroo was a hoary ruin, and he sat on one of its mounds to peel the stick. Before he had given it the proper shape the dynasty of the Candahars was at an end, and with the point of the stick he wrote the name of the last of that race in the sand, and then resumed his work. By the time he had smoothed and polished the staff Kalpa was no longer the pole–star; and ere he had put on the ferule and the head adorned with precious stones, Brahma had awoke and slumbered many times. But why do I stay to mention these things? When the finishing stroke was put to his work, it suddenly expanded before the eyes of the astonished artist into the fairest of all the creations of Brahma. He had made a new system in making a staff, a world with full and fair proportions; in which, though the old cities and dynasties had passed away, fairer and more glorious ones had taken their places. And now he saw by the heap of shavings still fresh at his feet, that, for him and his work, the former lapse of time had been an illusion, and that no more time had elapsed than is required for a single scintillation from the brain of Brahma to fall on and inflame the tinder of a mortal brain. The material was pure, and his art was pure; how could the result be other than wonderful?" -H.D. Thoreau

Online ranjit

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Re: How long time should it take to learn a piece?
«Reply #2 on: September 07, 2021, 10:20:31 PM »
This is one place where you need to experiment and see what works for you, based on what level you're at. I would say that for 99.9% of people, the answer will be more than a week. However, anything beyond that is hard to say. I know it is fairly common for university students (say at the Masters level) to 'learn' a Beethoven sonata in 2 weeks (not to performance standard however, just the notes). If you are a beginner, it would be surprising if you could learn it in less than several months.

Offline lelle

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Re: How long time should it take to learn a piece?
«Reply #3 on: September 09, 2021, 07:32:52 PM »
Very broad question that might be hard for people to give a specific answer to. I think, if you play pieces at your level, it should take a couple of days to be able to play the notes cleanly in a slow tempo, and maybe a week or two to play it at near full tempo assuming consistent, efficient daily practice, else it may be too difficult. But of course, it varies depending on if you are learning a 3 minute prelude or a 30 minute sonata.

Offline jimroof

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Re: How long time should it take to learn a piece?
«Reply #4 on: October 16, 2021, 01:31:52 PM »
The fact that you ask this question tells me - way longer than you hope for.

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Offline anacrusis

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Re: How long time should it take to learn a piece?
«Reply #5 on: October 16, 2021, 10:25:55 PM »
The fact that you ask this question tells me - way longer than you hope for.

I'd like to challenge that a bit. I remember being in a competition, and the winner played Liszt's sonata in b minor, among other pieces. I asked her how long it took her to learn the piece, and she said "two weeks". I think for a pianist who has mastered their craft, even shorter times are not unreasonable. But I think that's also the thing - pieces that are quick to learn will only be pieces that are at a level you have completely mastered.