Well, the simple answer is: a lot. So much in fact that learning the piano takes more than five years.
And this was the lesson John F. Kennedy learned during his stint as a pianist.
Kennedy was the youngest living violinist and also the oldest living piano player – the son of the famous violinist, Oscar Meyer.
Kennedy studied the piano for two years, first at the local YMCA in New York and then, for two years at the University of Cincinnati.
Here’s a video of John F. Kennedy practicing his piano from around 1908:
I know a few things about pianists who have had to learn piano faster than John Kennedy.
First, most, if not all, of these people began playing piano earlier than most. That said, there have been some who came from much later. They’re quite a few of the famous violinists. Some of them were already quite good.
But also, it’s not a guarantee that anyone can become a good piano player in three years.
Even though I’ve done a bit of studying on the piano in the last couple of years, I’ve had some trouble as I’ve come to realize that mastering how to play the piano, and learning how to learn the piano fast, varies a bit according to where you start from. This is also true for the students whom I teach.
The main reason for this is that there are more different skills in piano than there are in guitar too.
So I’d like to give you an example of a piano player whose teacher said that her goal with her teacher’s encouragement was to learn to play the piano very fast.
Her name is Anna Maria Hidalgo and she’s a pianist who was born on January 19, 1910 in Mexico City and lives only 10 miles away from my home in Arizona.
Her story begins with a musical upbringing that allowed her to develop a certain talent.
Anna Maria Hidalgo (Anna Maria was one of the young singers who became a famous singer during the mid-1890s), was born in the southern province of Acapulco in Mexico in 1910.
She came from a family that was famous for the creation of folk music. Hidalgo’s father played guitar, while her mom sang and played the piano.
The family’s music tradition included the singing of songs such as the Ometecasos with the vocals taken from the Mexican folk