This will vary enormously depending on the ability and the application of the child. A student who has achieved a good pass, merit or distinction at grade 5 will be an extremely competent pianist able to read music and play a whole variety of pieces from classical through to pop and jazz. This will normally take around 5 to 7 years to achieve. Pianists that start young may ironically take longer to get to this level, but their early start lays extremely solid foundations which ultimately lead to them playing better and achieving higher marks in the examinations. In addition students who already play another instrument often progress a lot faster.
After grade 5 it is possible to continue up to grade 8. Students above this level will usually be studying Music in some form of Higher Education with a view to some sort of professional music career.
There is a ‘window of opportunity’ within which children make the best progress and in the opinion of The Piano School that usually starts from around five.
Tim Riley, the director of Primo Piano, started lessons when he was six and took his grade 8 at sixteen. He returned to his piano studies as an adult and worked towards an Advanced Certificate through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).
All students at The Piano School are encouraged to work through a regular system of assessment (from A to G) before moving on to the more formal external graded examination (1-8) through the ABRSM.