When it’s boiled down to its simplest form, there really are only two things you need to learn to play the ukulele: chord formation and strumming. The hardest thing I find with new students is that they have a hard time narrowing down what they want to learn how to play.
But more often than not a student comes to me and says, “I want to learn how to play the ukulele.” “Great,” I say. Some people can take years of music lessons, only to be disappointed that they never could play what they wanted to play. So to answer the question “how long does it take to play the ukulele,” it depends on your definition of playing. Do you want to start guitar lessons but you’re wondering how long it will take you to see the payoff? This age old question has been asked by nearly all of my students for as long as I’ve been teaching: how long will it take to learn how to play guitar?
The plain and simple truth is that we are all on our own path and that each of us learns the guitar at different paces and levels.
With all of that being said, most students can expect it to take 6 months up to a year until they can feel really comfortable on the guitar (and by comfortable I mean that they can learn songs on their own and improvise solos). Learning guitar is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and can be a skill that you have your entire life. If you would like to play violin professionally, you’ll have to commit to many years of hard work. If you take violin lessons and practice four to five days a week, here is an estimated timeline to illustrate how long it takes to learn violin.
This month, you’ll continue to develop basic skills, and you’ll become more comfortable holding your violin and bow. At this time, you should start using your left-hand fingers (1-3) to play notes other than open strings. You’ll also learn about bow directions and markings (up bows and down bows), and learn about half notes and half rests. You’ll learn lots of new notes, including the notes on the D and A strings using fingers one, two, and three. At this point, the range of songs you can play really opens up because you know so many notes and rhythms! You will continue developing your bowing technique. Your violin tone starts to improve, and you’ll learn about slurs and hooked bowing, as well as how to cross strings more proficiently.
By this time, you’ve probably finished your first beginner lesson book and have moved on to the next book in the series. You’ll learn about more natural and flat notes with all four of your fingers, which allows you to play in keys other than D and A major.
Slurs and hooked bows are common in your music, and you’re able to coordinate the bow with your fingers.
You’ll learn all of the notes that you can play, in first position, including sharps, naturals, and flats, and you’ll learn how to bounce the bow and play faster with more accuracy. In your third year, you’ll solidify all the notes in first position, and become comfortable playing in flat keys. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you’re pretty dedicated to the violin, and by now, you’re pretty good! Now it’s time to learn about shifting into third position, which opens up the range of the violin, so you can play higher notes.
You might also learn how to play with vibrato, which will give you a more sophisticated sound and greater range of musical expression.
You probably don’t need a beginner lesson book series anymore, and you can further your learning by working in scale, etude and solo repertoire books.
In this article we aim to answer the oft-asked question ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ We’ll give you some idea how long it takes to get good and what you can reasonably expect to achieve on the instrument within certain timeframes. As you probably guessed, in reality ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ is an impossible question to answer! Everyone is different, and everyone has their own idea of what being able to ‘play the guitar’ actually means. If you’re learning the guitar in order to be able to accompany yourself singing a few songs then you could expect to be able to ‘play’ the guitar within a fortnight! Learning four or five chords and how to strum a basic rhythm may well be adequate for your needs. Although your fingers might be a bit sore and the chord changes a little slow, you’d be playing the guitar!
If you’re learning the guitar in order to play in a band then in theory you could be doing so within six months – perhaps even sooner. At the beginning of your guitar playing career it all comes down to how much time you can dedicate to practicing. Kids, work and modern life in general can make it very hard to set aside regular practice time.
If you’re at school or college you probably have the advantage of having more free time (although it may not seem like it!). Guitar lessons, either with a local teacher or online from a site such as JamPlay are helpful at the start. Of course, many people choose to teach themselves how to play guitar, and there are some excellent books on the market if you want to go down this route.
After 6 months a beginner classical guitarist will be able to play simple tunes, and will have a basic understanding of how to read music. Perhaps a reasonable answer to ‘How long does it take to learn guitar?’ would be about eighteen months to two years. You might decide that you’re happy at this level, and remain a reliable, solid gigging musician. Or you might have decided that you want to continue honing your skills, perhaps by specialising in a particular area of guitar playing. You may have decided that acoustic guitar is your thing, and that strumming chords and playing simple arpeggios is not quite enough – you need to be playing virtuoso solo pieces to hushed, admiring audiences.
Or perhaps you’re a metal fan and want to concentrate on shredding, or maybe you’ve discovered a hitherto unrealised desire to ditch the distortion and play jazz, or classical guitar.

After around two years, with the basics under your belt, you’ll be ready to choose a path and take your playing to the next level. Whichever path you take, provided you are dedicated and can commit the required amount of time, then within three to four years your playing will be at a high standard.
After three to four years, further improvements to your guitar playing tend to come in smaller increments – you’ll spend more time refining your playing, finding your own voice, and identifying areas in your technique that need work and rectifying them. This entry was posted in Guitar Magazine and tagged Beginner Guitar on March 22, 2011 by admin. Subscribe HereSubscribe to our FREE email newsletter for guitar lessons, news, information and articles.
Everyone has a repertoire of songs that they practice or play often; but what happens if you don’t have one, or better yet want to expand it? No one should expect to be able to learn a song overnight, though; it takes time and practice.
No matter how long it takes to learn a new song, whether that be one hour or one week, you have it in you to achieve any goal you set for yourself. Well, it takes more than a couple minutes to learn to play, but it doesn’t take very long to learn the basics about how to get started playing the ukulele. If you can form simple chords, and you can strum, you can start playing songs you like to sing! Sometimes, a student will come to me and say something like, “I want to learn how to play ‘Flake’ by Jack Johnson on the ukulele.” It’s pretty easy to figure out how to teach them.
It’s helpful for me to know why you decided to play ukulele instead of say, the tuba, or saxophone, or mandolin, or something like that. Is strumming the thing that really perked your ears when you wanted to learn how to play the uke, or was it perhaps a fingerstyle player? If I can figure out what you will consider “playing the ukulele,” then it will help me get you to the point where you are “playing” the ukulele. Or, have you already started and you’re wondering if you’re really making progress? I know that isn’t a very concrete answer, but the reasoning is simple; you get out of the guitar what you put in. Some of my students seem to learn new skills almost instantly, while others take a few days or weeks to really get it down. The best students I have had don’t worry about where they are compared to their peers, they have their own goals and reasons for playing guitar. Enjoy live interaction and real-time performance with friendly teachers in a fun group setting. The truth is, everyone learns at a different speed, so there’s no way to tell you exactly how long it will take you to learn. On the other hand, If you’re just looking to play for fun, or to join in at church or in a band with your friends, you can make a lot of progress towards your goal in three to five years. In your first month, you will be introduced to basic note reading, violin scales, and music theory.
You’ll develop the ability to pluck simple melodies, and gain greater control bowing open strings. You’ll also learn to use your second finger to play F natural and C natural on the D and A strings. You might start learning basic classical solos meant to be performed with piano accompaniment, or get a book of music from your favorite movie or pop singer. The more time you dedicate to practicing the violin, the faster you can increase your skills and learn more music you love to play.
For example, being able to strum a few chords is different to being able to play a classical guitar concerto. The latter would take considerably more time to accomplish! However, with fifteen to twenty minutes every day – and longer whenever you can manage it – within six months you’ll easily be able to play passable rhythm guitar and improvise some simple lead solos. At the end of 6 months you may even be coming up with your own riffs and starting to write your own songs. It’s not a requisite for rock and pop guitar playing, but classical guitarists need to know how to read ‘the dots’.
Surprisingly, there’s just as much potential for artistic expression doing this as there is in improvisation and songwriting.
In a way, this is where the real hard work comes in – having the confidence, dedication and ability to concentrate on the minutiae, in order to find a unique style and to master the instrument.
Your fingers will hurt until they harden up, but you’ll be able to play a lot of songs with just three or four chords.
Most students want to run before they can walk, but guitar CAN sound good after a few lessons. When learning a song on the piano, the biggest struggle resides in choosing a piece of music you’d like to learn, finding the route to go about purchasing the sheet music or locating the book it is found in. Michael Jordan didn’t make it into the Hall of Fame shortly after picking up his first basketball; it took him years of training.
Consider telling yourself, “By Wednesday, I want to have the first section down.” Once you feel comfortable enough with the first section, move section by section until you can put the whole piece together and play it all the way through.
I tend to learn the part for the right hand first because it usually contains the melody and the more complicated riffs. I had years of music lessons with a teacher that only taught me what she wanted me to play.
He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. You can see direct results from hard work and practice on the guitar (or any instrument for that matter). And that is the key; learn how to play guitar for yourself and you won’t ever feel like you are falling behind your peers.
If you need to invest in a violin, here are our picks for the best violin brands for beginners. You’ll also learn how to pluck and bow open strings, and learn about quarter notes and quarter rests. You may still need help figuring them out, but with some practice, you can play lots of different songs.

If you practice hard and stay dedicated to learning the violin, you can make a lot of progress in just a few years. To stay motivated, keep this map where you can see it, so you can always keep your goals in sight. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. If you’ve invested some money into learning guitar, you’re likely to work harder towards your goals. It’s harder to teach yourself classical guitar, and you should find yourself a qualified classical guitar teacher if you intend to go down this route. You’ll be tuning up by ear, and have a good knowledge of chords and scales at your disposal. The instrument has been a big part of my life and I’m glad I started playing those few chords all those years ago! Once settled, and you have the music in front of you, there is a pressing question on your mind: How long will it take to learn this? In other words, do not get discouraged if it seems like it’s taking a long time to get everything right. A good way to learn a new piano piece can be simplified even more by playing one hand at a time.
Once you have the passage or section down with the right hand, switch to the left and learn that part by itself. If I know that, or know the particular song you like, then it helps me narrow down what I should be teaching you. Is the player that inspires you someone who uses simple chords, complex chord voicings or are they more of a lead player?
Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80’s. Your guitar teacher can spend your 30 minute lesson showing you a new skill or technique on guitar and you can master it in your lesson, but if you don’t practice between lessons all of what you learned is lost. An experienced piano player, for example, might look all the way through the piece, making sure to note key and time signature, repeats, repetitive passages or riffs, etc.
After you are confident with both hands individually, it’s time to put both hands together. After that year look back on your goals and see how far you’ve come, you might just be amazed at the results. Take your time and play through the section slowly until you get the feel for using both hands. If you are just starting out on the piano, this is a great way to effectively learn a new piece.
Sure you can take a few days off and you won’t go back to stage one, but if you aren’t practicing outside of your lesson time you won’t improve. Reply Link jposko November 14, 2013, 2:53 pmHey Anthony, It really depends on **how** you practice. I was wondering how long will it take me to play on an average base skill if I was practicing everyday for 30 min?
Reply Link Jake January 7, 2015, 12:32 pmPracticing every day for 30 minutes will add up really quickly.
Reply Link Angel January 5, 2015, 3:12 amThank You for your encouragement of these individuals pursuing their passion. I am 44 years old and just looking to learn to tag along to some songs, and maybe show off a bit at a get together with family. Reply Link Robert January 11, 2015, 7:56 pmI just started (1 week ago) teaching myself to play on an old classical acoustic guitar that was given to me. I can play all the major and minor open chords (except F), even started to air change between a few of them but I’m still not quick enough to play any songs.
I also found that I really struggled with rhythm and strumming so I do that everyday now and have gotten much better. In hindsight, I think working more on the strumming rhythm first would have been a good idea. Its coming along, I can play a couple of really simple songs now along with a few cool riffs.
As long as I keep the BPM below 90-100 I can generally keep up with the chord changes though not perfectly.
I haven’t focused on new chords though I know some new shapes for the riffs I learned.
Started learning (only a couple of weeks now) power and barre chords, getting the hang of that faster than I thought.
Also, I took your advice and started learning a few basic fingerstyle patterns which gives my fretting hand a nice break. Strumming pattern took 15 mins to learn but these new chords will take much longer, still have to look at my hands. The electric is also a lot of fun, much different with bends, slides and hammer ons but I have to take things easy for a while so I don’t cause the injury to come back.
I do have a local instructor I see 30 minutes a week and I practice 3-4 days a week for 30-40 minutes at a time. I love it and am having a blast but am completely frustrated with my inability to change chords quickly. I can’t wait to learn more about both the instrument and the theory behind the music I (sort of) play with it.
I expect to continue to increase my musical skills at a steady pace through continued study, even after reaching this goal.

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