How long should I practice the piano?
I love this question. And, I sort of wish it didn’t exist. My piano teacher dream is that my students would find the piano irresistible and never want to stop practicing. My reality, however, is that practicing usually feels like a to-do item on someone’s list and we often need creative motivation and parameters to do it successfully.
So here are some brief guidelines to help shape how long you practice the piano:
1. You need enough time to repeat.
Whether you are working on a song, a section of a song, or some technique, repetition is the key to quick learning. So, you must allow time to play things more than once during your practice time. Two times is good; three or four times is even better.
2. Your level of focus is critical.
Twenty minutes of focused practice time is more valuable than 45 minutes of distracted or scattered practice. So, if you have a short window of time available to you at a time when you can stay focused, use that time. There is no need to wait for a full hour of time to open up (especially if it’s at the end of busy day of school or work). Focus matters more than length.
3. Allow enough time for types of playing that feel easy and relaxing.
If you are taking lessons, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy certain things more than others. A good teacher will ask you to work on a variety of music and technique to make you into a better, more well-rounded pianist. You should practice what your teacher assigns. BUT, you should also play for enjoyment. This could be old songs that you’ve mastered. Or, maybe it’s improvising or making up your own music. For a child, this could simply be making cool sounds or patterns on the keys. Whatever it is that feels free and easy, include it in your practice time.
4. Frequency matters.
The other element to the question “how long should I practice the piano?” is frequency. How often should I practice? Here is where my music teacher dream comes up again. “Every day!” I say excitedly. You will find the most progress with daily practice. Reality tells me that you (or your child) may have other things going on in life. So, at a minimum, try to practice 5 times a week.
Focused, regular practice is a win.
There is no magic number for how long you should practice the piano. But, I will give a couple general recommendations.
For my young beginners, I recommend 15-30 minutes of practice daily (if possible) or at least 5 times a week. After a student has been playing for a few years, I recommend 30-45 minutes of daily practice.
If you’re an adult, it’s likely you know how and when you work best. Take the guidelines above and come up with your own strategy.