When you are learning to play a musical instrument, as with any other activity, practice is key. It takes time not only to learn to read musical notation but also for muscle memory to develop. Students new to learning always ask us how much time they should be dedicating to practicing and how many hours a week they should be spending playing their instrument of choice.
As with any practice, consistency is key. We often advice students to do some practice every day, even if it is just 10 minutes. At least this way our brains and muscles do not have too long a break in between practice sessions and are more likely to develop quicker than if more time is left in between practices. What often happens is that students spend longer than the 10 minutes practicing anyway – once you start playing and enjoy it, you feel like doing more of it! More advanced students often find that even half an hour is not enough – with longer pieces and technical exercises, time goes by very fast.
Rather than focusing on time spent practicing, students should focus more on the enjoyment they find in playing and the outcome of their practice – it is a great feeling when you have learn a new piece and can play it fluently from the beginning to the end.