I used to play the piano for 6 years between ages 7 and 13. I practised 3 hours a week and had a weekly one hour lesson with a teacher. I played pieces like Beethoven's Fur Elise, Bach's Inventions no.1 and 8, as well as Paul Desmond's Take Five. This put me at about RCM level 7, which is equal to ABRSM grade 5. I had classical training so obviously I also practised scales, arpeggios, etc.

I never really liked classical music though, so after those six years I moved to another teacher mainly focusing on playing pop songs by ear, but after a year I finally quit.

It's been 4 years since I quit playing the piano and haven't touched it since. Lately I started to appreciate classical music, and I really want to get back to playing the piano. Assuming I get a good teacher, how long will it take me to regain the skills and technique I lost? Thanks

Edit: just a few more questions i: 1) does this previous experience give me an edge over other pianists at the same level as the leveli reached but who gained it later than me?, will this experience help progress faster or is it meaningless? 2)assuming i have regained the technique and level i was before i quit, and suppose we mark begginer as 0% and being able to play liszt's transcription of danse macabre as 100%, where does it put me on that scale? 3)the same as number 2 ut this time we mark being able to accompany opera singers in operas like macbeth, or nabucco using the piano accompaniment from the vocal score as 100%

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    Try and see: pick up one of a level 7 practical piece and try to play. You will then see how long you can regain your skills. May 4, 2016 at 21:42

4 Answers 4


You played piano for a fairly extensive length of time, and reached a fairly high level of playing (Inventions aren't the easiest thing to play), so you would probably jump back into it fairly quickly. The muscle memory from playing never completely disappears, so with consistent (and productive) practice, you could easily reach the skill level you were at, especially considering you worked scales and arpeggios which helps even more.

I would say that with consistent practice you could almost get back to the level you were at within a few months, just don't start with anything too hard that will discourage you. Try starting with something like a beginner or intermediate level sonata.


It's hard to say for your specific case, but it only took me about six months to get back to where I was when I went back to classical piano, and I didn't have a teacher when I came back to it, and I had a longer break.

I think you'll find the skills come back very fast, but not the stamina. So you have to hold back and slowly build up how long you play every day, even though you will quickly remember the old techniques and songs, you just won't be able to play for three hours at once on your first day without injury.


Considering your prior level (Inventions, Fur Elise, etc.), prior amount of practice per week (3 hours), amount of time off (4 years), and current age (17?), you should not have any difficulty picking right back up almost within the first month, maybe even 1-2 weeks. Find a good teacher, listen to that teacher, and enjoy. I promise you that what you're doing will pay dividends for the rest of your life in ways you will never predict. Good luck, and keep us posted!


From my own experience (I've been separated from the piano for 5 years), you'll need one or two months to fully recover. That is something which has stayed in your brain and muscles. As Czerny said : "One should never have to relearn (technique, especially, EdN) what he already had".

Now, I'd say it's even better to step away, from times to times, and you'll see your playing has matured. I assume this is what going to happen here; my guess being you should feel more confident, even if technically less good.

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