Do you struggle to play a song with both hands? Every pianist has difficulties in this area at some point of their musical study. The good news is that with some careful management, it will become easier to coordinate the hands and play the pieces you love.
Set Yourself Up You Success
The key to starting the process of playing hands together is playing each hand separately. This may seem counterintuitive but knowing what each hand is doing can greatly aid in playing hands together. Especially with musically challenging pieces such as Bachʼs Preludes And Fugues, where each hand has several different notes and voices. Playing with the hands separate also means you can practice singing the melody, and playing the left hand accompaniment before putting the hands to. Most importantly, the brain has a chance to process the information and is only focussing on one concept at a time, instead of two different processes.
Slowly Is Better
As pianists, we tend to play our pieces at tempo or faster than the speed required. This rushes the process of making sure the hands are synced properly. Play your pieces slowly, stopping just before the hands come in together. Make sure you donʼt play the next notes until you are sure the hands are in the right position to play. Doing this will stop many mistakes before they occurs and allow you to think before playing. Over time, as you become familiar with the piece, you can gradually increase the tempo and it will become more automatic.
Tap the rhythm
Using the lid of the piano, or a tabletop, tap the rhythm of each hand separately. Once you have mastered this, then slowly tap the rhythm using both hands. It will be a challenge at first to coordinate the hands. The beauty of doing this is that you donʼt have to think about the notes or articulation etc. You can focus more on where the hands come in, and how they fit together.
Right hand, Left Hand, then together
Decide your piece up in to small sections, or number the bars. Play the right hand of the section you are having difficulties with, followed by the left hand. Once master, put both hands together. Keep doing this until you have mastered all the sections. The music will become more fluent.
Author: Stephanie Mitchell
Stephanie Mitchell is a piano teacher living in Melbourne Australia. She teaches classical piano, along with theory and composition via skype and FaceTime. She also enjoys writing about all things piano at her blog me and my piano If you would like to learn more about taking lessons online, visit Mitchell Piano Studio.