A common misunderstanding about learning to play the piano is that it takes many years to learn to play even the most basic music. This myth is also reinforced by the belief that all music teaching is done using only classical music.
Actually, none of the above statements are true. We all know of school friends forced to practice for hours every evening and weekends by over-zealous parents. We also heard the music practiced being classical. In truth, a lot of learning is done using classical music.
Let us. First of all, look at the time it takes to learn to play piano. We need to define what is meant by having learned to play. How long would it take to learn to play a ball game? To have a knock about in the local park then a few minutes would probably be long enough to learn to play the game. To play at a professional level would take years of training and practice. Learning to play piano would also need years of training if you wished to be a concert pianist.
To play for family or friends, to play at a jam session or even to play in a small band would not take long at all. Within eight to twelve weeks you could be good enough to play a wide range of songs for family and friends, or even play in a small band. You would in the future need to know a lot more about music than is possible to learn in twelve weeks, but you would be a basic pianist. Most non musicians would consider you able to play piano. Further training could continue for years depending on how far you wish to continue increasing your knowledge and skills.
Secondly let us look at classical music. A lot of teaching is done using classic or at least old music as it is free of copyright. Copyright puts sources on how music is used. Composers and their families live off the work that they do, as we all do from the work, we do. Therefore, a cost is involved in using modern music that increases the cost to the student in the form of lesson fees.
Classical music has the same notes as the most modern music. The ranges of notes, keys, timings, etc. are all contained in classical music that are used in all music. Music is music regardless of when it was written. Of course, much of the music used for music examinations is classical and must be taught if examinations are to be taken.
Should examinations not be wanted, classical music is not mandatory to use to learn piano and any music can be used, providing copyright issues are overcome.
The average person wishing to play piano for their own entertainment would not take years to learn to play piano, unless they wished to progress to very high levels of playing ability. Regardless of the level of final playing ability intended, they would be able to play piano in a few months at a basic level.
Classical music is not necessary to learn to play piano but is often used for reasons of cost.