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I know this probably highly relative to overall technique/knowledge, and the length of the pieces, but I’ve always been torn with the question, “should I be learning this right now?”

There are some pieces I’ve spent 60+ hours on and others a couple hours with those times needed for similar accuracies in performance.

When getting to something like Chopin’s etudes, some of Liszt’s works, and more difficult arrangements in general, what would be some estimated efficient times to take to learn the pieces for those who have learned them or similarly difficult pieces. Memorization could be a variable in this situation but maybe it would be best to keep it out?

I know theoretically anyone can a learn a piece well above their level by spending extra time, which is what I wasted a lot of time doing when I first started, but I unfortunatey have to be more efficient with my time nowadays.

Too poor for a teacher and I like you all more anyway.

Last edited by Jovin; 05/17/21 05:56 PM.
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I've had a similar thought myself. At the end of the day you are the captain of your own ship. You alone can judge what is worth your time.

My goal when I first started playing piano 2 years ago was to learn "What a Wonderful World. " I know there are versions I could play now but I'm holding back. When I decide to give it a go I'm in it until the end.

If you are more frustrated than please by progress, it's probably the wrong piece for you at that time. Just my assessment with life in general.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
I've had a similar thought myself. At the end of the day you are the captain of your own ship. You alone can judge what is worth your time.

My goal when I first started playing piano 2 years ago was to learn "What a Wonderful World. " I know there are versions I could play now but I'm holding back. When I decide to give it a go I'm in it until the end.

If you are more frustrated than please by progress, it's probably the wrong piece for you at that time. Just my assessment with life in general.


y problem with that method is that I never really get frustrated, like ever while at the piano. If I have a part that is really giving me trouble I will take a break and play/do something else for a bit and come back to it and complete it.

Also depends on the type of song with me. I’m really comfortable with arpeggios on either hand, but jumps in songs, especially bigger ones will net me more slow practice times on those specific sections.

There has to be something to go off of to at least cut open the surface of the answer to this question. Thank you for your reply ♥️

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Since we don't know your skill level we don't have enough information about how long it should take you to learn a Chopin Etude. And some of the Etudes are much harder than others and could take even a top virtuoso a long time to master. Similarly, "some of Liszt's works" is far too vague since those pieces differ greatly in difficulty and length.

If you tell us some of the recent pieces you feel you have learned to a good level that would help. It would also be good for you to give some examples of specific pieces and about how many hours it took for you to learn them to your satisfaction.

To get a general idea of a work's difficulty I would use one of the standard rating systems although I don't know if any of them take the length of the piece into account.

My guess is for some very advanced and lengthy pieces it's not that unusual for someone to spend the 60+ hours you mentioned. That's only two hours/day for a month. If you feel you have to be more efficient with your time now, you may have to select somewhat easier pieces in terms of length and/or technical difficulty. Only you can decide how much time you're willing to spend on a piece.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Since we don't know your skill level we don't have enough information about how long it should take you to learn a Chopin Etude. And some of the Etudes are much harder than others and could take even a top virtuoso a long time to master. Similarly, "some of Liszt's works" is far too vague since those pieces differ greatly in difficulty and length.

If you tell us some of the recent pieces you feel you have learned to a good level that would help. It would also be good for you to give some examples of specific pieces and about how many hours it took for you to learn them to your satisfaction.

To get a general idea of a work's difficulty I would use one of the standard rating systems although I don't know if any of them take the length of the piece into account.

My guess is for some very advanced and lengthy pieces it's not that unusual for someone to spend the 60+ hours you mentioned. That's only two hours/day for a month. If you feel you have to be more efficient with your time now, you may have to select somewhat easier pieces in terms of length and/or technical difficulty. Only you can decide how much time you're willing to spend on a piece.

Okay so for references, some pieces and estimated completion times.

River flows in you took about 2 hours to play without note mistakes. Not necessarily notations but the actual notes.

This piece took about 3 hours, although I rearranged it


This piece took around 20 hours, most of it being on the second section. First section I was done with within the first few hours.




This piece I’m working on now and will probably be finished in another 10-15 hours. I’m about 10 hours in now. I can play it but the speed is not quite there yet.




This piece took me a weekend, but not sure how many hours I spent. This one was easy because I would always practice techniques that were in the song very early in my playing.






I can get them relatively consistent with those times I assume. I played some of them consecutively in this random video I posted. About 20 mins





Composition wise, I am at this level. I wrote this piece and was able to play it in about 2-3 hours. 3 minutes


Last edited by Jovin; 05/17/21 07:59 PM.
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Originally Posted by Jovin
I know this probably highly relative to overall technique/knowledge, and the length of the pieces, but I’ve always been torn with the question, “should I be learning this right now?”

There are some pieces I’ve spent 60+ hours on and others a couple hours with those times needed for similar accuracies in performance.

When getting to something like Chopin’s etudes, some of Liszt’s works, and more difficult arrangements in general, what would be some estimated efficient times to take to learn the pieces for those who have learned them or similarly difficult pieces. Memorization could be a variable in this situation but maybe it would be best to keep it out?

I know theoretically anyone can a learn a piece well above their level by spending extra time, which is what I wasted a lot of time doing when I first started, but I unfortunatey have to be more efficient with my time nowadays.
If you are still enjoying learning the piece - any piece (as long as it's not a 'song' wink ) - why not keep at it? You can always ditch it at any time (and pick it up from said ditch and clean it up for another go later).

One thing amateurs have in their favor is that they can choose to learn any piece they want, for as long as they want - even if they never "complete' it - with no time pressure to have it mastered. Concert pianists may keep plugging away at a piece for years before they even think of putting it on their concert program - and some pieces fall by the wayside and never get performed, just because they never felt totally comfortable with them.

In the past decade, I've performed pieces that I learnt within a few weeks, as well as pieces that I first started learning when I was a student (a century ago) and only actually mastered them in my old age, after picking them up again and spending another year or three on their intricacies. Do I count the hours I spent on learning them? No, I don't have a clock that's able to do that (just as I don't own a functioning metronome). Life is too short to count hours when I could be practicing purposefully and with intent......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I don't see anything highly unusual or "wrong" with the amounts of time you said you spent on the various pieces. It's true that some people could learn the pieces you listed far more quickly and also true that it would take some much longer. If you had posted a two page very easy piece and said it took 20 hours then some would probably say the piece is too hard for you at the present time. Or if you said you spent 60 hours on one of the easier Chopin Nocturnes some would again say it was too difficult.

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Well then would this be considered too long? Chopin's Nocturned in Eb




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Josh
What a sad story!! Being admitted to a conservatory with Grade 1 skills is nothing but criminal


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Is it? But was doing all that work and time, worth the pleasure and satisfaction of completing such a piece?


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Originally Posted by Jovin
I know this probably highly relative to overall technique/knowledge, and the length of the pieces, but I’ve always been torn with the question, “should I be learning this right now?”

There are some pieces I’ve spent 60+ hours on and others a couple hours with those times needed for similar accuracies in performance.

When getting to something like Chopin’s etudes, some of Liszt’s works, and more difficult arrangements in general, what would be some estimated efficient times to take to learn the pieces for those who have learned them or similarly difficult pieces. Memorization could be a variable in this situation but maybe it would be best to keep it out?

I know theoretically anyone can a learn a piece well above their level by spending extra time, which is what I wasted a lot of time doing when I first started, but I unfortunatey have to be more efficient with my time nowadays.

Too poor for a teacher and I like you all more anyway.

Just 60 hours? wink

I'm at well over that on my latest, and am loving every minute of it because I'm playing a piece I really enjoy...what's your rush? Isn't the best part of life mostly the journey?


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Difficult pieces are work in progress. Challenging pieces are not only frustrating to learn, they are also enjoyable as the sections start to snap together like a jigsaw puzzle.

In the process of learning a difficult piece, we can throw in an easier piece. Some pieces can be used for warm-up despite playing it over 1000x.

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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Is it? But was doing all that work and time, worth the pleasure and satisfaction of completing such a piece?

Lol. I thought that response to your post was pretty rough!!

I think you played that rather well, and while you may not quite have the touch of a golden age virtuoso I think your love of the music definitely shines through.

Well done keeping at it for so long...what's next?


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Originally Posted by Chris James
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Is it? But was doing all that work and time, worth the pleasure and satisfaction of completing such a piece?

Lol. I thought that response to your post was pretty rough!!
I know right, wasn't expecting that reaction... smile
Originally Posted by Chris James
I think you played that rather well, and while you may not quite have the touch of a golden age virtuoso I think your love of the music definitely shines through.

Well done keeping at it for so long...what's next?
Uh-oh... I may have posted the vid here, but that wasn't me playing...


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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Originally Posted by Chris James
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Is it? But was doing all that work and time, worth the pleasure and satisfaction of completing such a piece?

Lol. I thought that response to your post was pretty rough!!
I know right, wasn't expecting that reaction... smile
Originally Posted by Chris James
I think you played that rather well, and while you may not quite have the touch of a golden age virtuoso I think your love of the music definitely shines through.

Well done keeping at it for so long...what's next?
Uh-oh... I may have posted the vid here, but that wasn't me playing...

LOL, well....No matter. I'm sure the power of my positivity will beam its way to the right person eventually smile


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Originally Posted by Chris James
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Originally Posted by Chris James
Originally Posted by josh_sounds
Is it? But was doing all that work and time, worth the pleasure and satisfaction of completing such a piece?

Lol. I thought that response to your post was pretty rough!!
I know right, wasn't expecting that reaction... smile
Originally Posted by Chris James
I think you played that rather well, and while you may not quite have the touch of a golden age virtuoso I think your love of the music definitely shines through.

Well done keeping at it for so long...what's next?
Uh-oh... I may have posted the vid here, but that wasn't me playing...

LOL, well....No matter. I'm sure the power of my positivity will beam its way to the right person eventually smile

I’m not Understanding why my reply was cold. There is a Conservatory somewhere that admitted student who played at a grade one level. Isn’t that a huge disservice to the student who is not likely to succeed? In fact he did not as learning one Nocturne took 12 years. I think it is criminal from all kinds of standpoint not the least of which is they collected tuition and fees from a student and gave a student hope of success, when success was not likely. I cannot understand how this would be appropriate from an institution

I applaud the student for being committed and sticking with it for 12 years to learn this just one piece. I cannot applaud the actions of the conservatory and I do find them to be criminal


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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The other option is NEVER learn the piece. Develop only sight reading. Something something, become glenn gould. grin

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I'm proud as heck of that kid! it didn't sound like he's been working non-stop non it for 12 years.

People are admitted to higher education with little chance of success all the time. I saw it first hand. But, it wasn't entirely their fault either.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
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Originally Posted by SunnyKeys
I'm proud as heck of that kid! it didn't sound like he's been working non-stop non it for 12 years.

People are admitted to higher education with little chance of success all the time. I saw it first hand. But, it wasn't entirely their fault either.


Yes, it happens in higher education; but I’m not understanding how it could legitimately happen in a program which requires juried admission performances. Not credible at all


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Ok, he explains his time at college, music major, only lasted one semester.
The rest of the 12 year story.


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. Sans exams.

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