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How long does it take to learn an instrument? With tips to learn faster

One of the most common questions we get at Bristol House of Music is how long does it take to learn? Or how long did it take us to learn?


James and Kit’s (the teachers at Bristol House of Music) stories are quite different with learning guitar and piano. 


James Ashbury (Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Songwriting Teacher)

James ‘I started playing guitar when I was 14 at school, all my friends were playing and my dad bought me my first guitar when it was the summer holidays. I instantly became attached to it and tried to learn everything I could. I had guitar lessons with my school but they were terrible, and I didn’t get very far! Luckily I then got accepted to the Academy of Music and Sound where I started studying guitar. It was hard because I was a lot worse than everyone else, but I put the effort in and the results were incredible. I would say it took about a year before I started feeling comfortable and got over the initial annoyances of learning an instrument. I have now been playing for nearly 15 years and it has been an crazy ride!’ 


Kit ‘I grew up with a piano in the house and started having lessons at around 6 years old. Like most children who start that young I took to it right away and could sight read pretty much from the outset. I also took up the guitar when I hit my teens, and started songwriting which I absolutely loved. This took me away from the piano for a while, and in my early 20s I fell back in love with it and I gave myself a summer to practice intensely and get my skills back up to scratch. I became obsessed, playing between 4 and 8 hours a day 7 days a week, going to work in the evenings. This continued for a few years until I joined Wildflowers and started touring.  I still practice between 1 and 6 hours a day and always will. So depending on your schedule I would say that it takes anywhere from a few months to a few years to get good.’

Kit Bennett (Piano, Vocals, Songwriting and Music Theory Teacher)


Everyone’s story is a little different learning an instrument, but here are 5 tips of how to learn faster:


1. Practice, Practice, Practice 

So it may seem obvious, but you are only going to improve on your instrument if you practice. It is very important however, that you practice correctly. Playing the same old things for weeks on end aren’t going to get you anywhere. By practicing to a structure and constantly challenging yourself you will see amazing results. Click here to read our article on how to practice.


2. Have lessons! 

Taking lessons with a good teacher is a sure fire way to learn an instrument. Lessons nowadays can be affordable and at Bristol House of Music we offer the first lesson free, then it’s £20 per hour. By having someone give you things to practice that challenge you each week, you learn the instrument much faster than if you are trying to figure it out on your own.


3. Play with other musicians

Playing with other people can really progress your learning. When you are put on the spot and have to play along with someone else it can really make you get to those chords faster.  It will also make you come up with cool ideas that you’d have never thought of playing alone.


4. Pick an instrument you actually want to learn

If you really want to learn an instrument then it will make picking it up and practicing it so much more appealing. Learning an instrument is fun and enjoyable and the achievement of getting better on it feels amazing. But there are lots of moments where it feels like a struggle, so if you have that drive to learn it you will get better so much quicker.


5. immerse yourself in music

Surround yourself by music. Listen to songs that you are learning and others you are interested in. Focus on the instrument you are learning and single out what they are playing. Go to gigs and listen to as much music as possible! It really does help you to better understand what is going on.


At Bristol House of Music we teach guitar, piano, ukulele, vocals, bass, songwriting and music theory. Our lessons are affordable, fun and will get you playing in no time! Book your first free lesson below by filling out the form:

Name *
What Instrument(s) do you want to learn? *
Find out more information by clicking on the individual class pages. Feel free to select more than one!
Are you a Beginner/Intermediate or Advanced player?
Any favourite bands/artists?

We have released our first book!

This book teaches you every chord you will ever need in all five CAGED shapes, allowing you to master the fretboard and helping you to develop and expand your chord knowledge whilst keeping it fun and easy to grasp. Get the book and take your chord playing to new heights. 'Every Chord Shape You Will Ever Need' is ideal for guitarists trying to get to the next level and who like to play, perform and write music.