Pronunciation should be a major area of emphasis from the beginning, and throughout the first period of studying a new language you should set high standards and work hard on pronunciation practice on your own.
Many learners do not put enough deliberate effort into pronunciation and resign themselves to speaking as if they were pronouncing their native language.
Any person can learn to pronounce any language, regardless of nationality. Some people may achieve better results than others, but we can all get pretty close if we work at it.
Take Japanese for instance, where the important syllables are pronounced more strongly and can be slightly longer than the unimportant ones.
But, the distinction between stressed and unstressed syllables is much smaller than in English.
Nevertheless, there are countless determined language learners who learn to master Japanese pronunciation, and to learn to speak it like a native.
Most of the time they come pretty close, perhaps because they don’t consider the possibility that they could not do so.
In fact, most successful language learners make pronunciation the major focus of their early effort, and that is recommended to anyone striving for efficient progress as well.
It takes longer to get a feel for speaking in a grammatically correct manner, but you can work on pronunciation from the beginning.
Activities to help with this: Rhyming exercises and Shadow speaking (both are available in our courses)
Rhyming exercises can help you become familiar with how different words contain similar sounds.
Shadow speaking is an easy activity that tests your pacing, intonation, and pronunciation. Speak along with a short audio passage to see if you can match the pacing and intonation: listen to it, repeat it, and then gradually decrease the volume to test your ability to maintain pace/intonation even though you stop hearing it.