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How to improve on two hands playing? #2831929
03/27/19 11:09 AM
03/27/19 11:09 AM
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chongjasmine Offline OP
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I can play with one hand, but I find it hard to play two hands.
Any tips to help me with that?

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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2831944
03/27/19 11:23 AM
03/27/19 11:23 AM
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Practice -- practice playing with both hands. Start slowly, very slowly, so you can do it without mistakes. It takes time.


-- J.S.

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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2831946
03/27/19 11:26 AM
03/27/19 11:26 AM
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You don't say why you find it "hard" to play hands together; is it a question of coordination, a question of reading two staves, or is there some other problem?

Therefore, the only suggestion I have is continued practice.
- Don't play any faster than you can without making mistakes. If you make mistakes, you are playing too quickly.
- Play only a few measures hands separately, then try playing them hands together.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2831947
03/27/19 11:29 AM
03/27/19 11:29 AM
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Do a youtube search on Hanon exercises 1-10
Try first practicing a scale in right hand, then left hand until it feels natural.
Then slowly try with both hands, one finger at a time slowly. Do it mechanically to begin with until it sticks, it will become easier as you play around with it smile

Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2831975
03/27/19 12:25 PM
03/27/19 12:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
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Ireland (ex England)
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Playing with two hands together is not just a question of practise. Unless you already have exposure to activities that require hand independence you will need to grow the corpus callosum in the brain that handles left-right coordination. Most new pianists take a few months to make significant progress and some years before it's not even an issue.

Very slow and very deliberate practise on a daily basis with good, healthy sleep in between is what's required. It usually takes around four years to be able to tackle a Bach Invention fluently - and that's easy material hands separately.


Richard
Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832052
03/27/19 03:34 PM
03/27/19 03:34 PM
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Posts: 374
Cheshire, UK
Cheshire Chris Offline
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I'm very much at the same stage of learning myself, and I'd second the advice already given. When I tackle a new practice piece I first play through the left and right hands separately, and then play them together one phrase at a time, VERY slowly, gradually speeding it up until I can play that phrase at a normal speed. I repeat that for each phrase of the music. It does work!


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: interstellar] #2832095
03/27/19 05:33 PM
03/27/19 05:33 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,654
Warsaw, Poland
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Originally Posted by interstellar
Do a youtube search on Hanon exercises 1-10
Try first practicing a scale in right hand, then left hand until it feels natural.
Then slowly try with both hands, one finger at a time slowly. Do it mechanically to begin with until it sticks, it will become easier as you play around with it smile

That's terrible advice. Doing Hanon is not going to improve your hand independence and coordination. A much better set of beginner exercises is the 200 short canons by Konrad Kunz
https://imslp.org/wiki/200_Short_Two-Part_Canons,_Op.14_(Kunz,_Konrad_Max)


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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832105
03/27/19 06:26 PM
03/27/19 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chongjasmine
I can play with one hand, but I find it hard to play two hands.
Any tips to help me with that?

Assuming that you can already read the music in both clefs reasonably well, what you should try to do is play pieces where only one hand is playing at a time but the music moves from one hand to the other, so that you get used to thinking in both hands - and using them - almost simultaneously.

For instance, a piece like this (of course this is too difficult for you at present, but it's just to show what I mean):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rDGc69FQcY

Once you get used to playing pieces like that, you'll find it much easier to read - and "think": two hands - always. Don't go back to learning pieces one hand at a time from then on, or you'll always have difficulty using both hands together. Always start learning with both hands together, no matter how slowly.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832118
03/27/19 07:43 PM
03/27/19 07:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
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Originally Posted by chongjasmine
I can play with one hand, but I find it hard to play two hands.
Any tips to help me with that?

A piano teacher on Reddit r/piano posted his strategy for learning hand independence. A complete document. See this here.


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"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832126
03/27/19 08:14 PM
03/27/19 08:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,070
Canada
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That's normal, I'm a late intermediate and in a sonata I'm practicing, I have to play 4 against 3 for one measure and I struggle to play it. My trick is to play it very very slowly and counting out loud and repeat over and over.


Last edited by Serge88; 03/27/19 08:15 PM.


"The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”
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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832162
03/27/19 09:43 PM
03/27/19 09:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,954
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by chongjasmine
I can play with one hand, but I find it hard to play two hands.
Any tips to help me with that?

How long have you been playing hands separately? Not in a particular piece, but in your life? A beginner student benefits from learning mostly hands separate pieces, where a melody is distributed between the hands. Then as they progress, adding a few moments of hands together playing (adding one note for the other hand to play at the end of a piece, for example). Then gradully getting things more complex from there.

If you have not gone through enough of that initial stage, then putting hands together will be very tricky.

Now if you have been playing for a while and the above does not apply to you, then realize that you just have to experience enough of playing hands together that it becomes easy. I'm a big proponent of hands separate practice, but I also see the value in experiencing playing hands together from the start when learning a new piece. I just find that sometimes in order to learn how to process two or more lines of music at once, you just have to force yourself to do it - a LOT.

How is your sight reading? Have you ever tried accompanying a singer or instrumentalist? That can help tremendously with sight reading and also reading in general.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832196
03/28/19 02:58 AM
03/28/19 02:58 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 734
Sweden
Animisha Offline
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Sometimes it helps to break the piece into very small sections. For instance, in the picture below, if it is hard for you to play from the first twinkle to the second one, just practise this single measure many times in a row - and every other spot where you get into trouble.

[Linked Image]


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Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832262
03/28/19 09:25 AM
03/28/19 09:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 374
Cheshire, UK
Cheshire Chris Offline
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Did Mozart really write “Twinke Twinkle Little Star”? I didn’t know that!


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: Cheshire Chris] #2832271
03/28/19 09:50 AM
03/28/19 09:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,242
Germany
JoBert Offline
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Did Mozart really write “Twinke Twinkle Little Star”? I didn’t know that!

Not really. It's an old French folk song called "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" and it is unknown who composed it.
Mozart however wrote a famous piano arrangement with 12 variations (KV265). Here's the first YouTube hit for it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyhxeo6zLAM



Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: Cheshire Chris] #2832277
03/28/19 10:09 AM
03/28/19 10:09 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 313
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Sidokar Offline
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Did Mozart really write “Twinke Twinkle Little Star”? I didn’t know that!


Nope. Here is the explanation

https://www.britannica.com/story/did-mozart-write-twinkle-twinkle-little-star

Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832280
03/28/19 10:19 AM
03/28/19 10:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,242
Germany
JoBert Offline
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Back on topic:

I think one thing of "how to improve on two hands playing" (or "hands together" - HT) hasn't been mentioned yet:

Stop playing hands separate (HS). Like, at all. Just don't do it anymore. (For a good while at least, until it has become something natural for you, see below).

I think bennevis' and Morodiene's advice from above is very good:

A new beginner should start off with easy pieces that have notes for both hands, but not at the same time, i.e. while one hand plays, the other rests, and the melody is passed along from one hand to the other and back. So this is kind of a natural HS that however feels more like HT (only one hand rests while the other is active).

Then over time, a few notes, and then more and more, are introduced where both hands play at the same time. And when this happens, the beginner should now not start practicing this with HS. Instead, the "perceived" HT from earlier (that actually was HS) should simply organically morph into a "real" HT.

Anecdote time: I'm currently witnessing how this works out with our own 7-year old (he gets lessons from a qualified teacher, not from me!). The method book started off exactly with the progression I described above, and now that he as reached the "real" HT pieces several weeks ago, he doesn't even consider practicing them HS. It's not a concept he is even aware of, because for him, piano playing is simply done with both hands at the same time. </end of anecdote>

And I think that's the mindset that a beginner should get into as soon as possible:

When you play the piano, you do not do two different things at the same time, one with each hand. Instead, you do one thing (=playing the piano), which simply happens to require the use of both of your hands!

Consider this: When you peel an apple with a knife, do you consider this as two different activities that you do at the same time, with one hand for each activity (one holding and turning the apple, one moving the knife)? Do you not instead consider this as one activity that just happens to require both of your hands?
(Or other examples, like cutting a steak with knife and fork, or tying your shoe laces).

If at that stage you continue to practice with HT until it has become a natural thing to you that "piano is played with both hands at the same time" then those changes in the brain that were mentioned earlier in the thread will just happen naturally, without specific training (or rather, the normal practicing is the training).
And then, once all of this has become natural to you, and you are progressing to more complex pieces, then there's nothing that stops you to practice some particularly difficult passages with HS first, to them put the together later. At that point, the HS practice will no longer cause you to train the wrong thing.

(Seems to me that this is similar to the parallel thread about using fingering numbers - where the consensus is also that finger numbers are OK or even helpful, as long as it is not abused in the early learning stages by writing finger numbers above all notes, so that the beginner learns the wrong thing (the numbers, instead of the notes).
Similar here: HS practice in later stages is fine, as long as HT playing has already become a natural thing for you. Just don't abuse it in the early learning stages by always practicing HS.)

So my advice to the OP really is: Stop doing it! Always play HT from now on (as hard as that may be in the beginning). At least for several months, I would estimate. Until you feel comfortable with it and have a stable base from which you can deviate into HS practice if a certain piece should require it.

Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: chongjasmine] #2832295
03/28/19 11:13 AM
03/28/19 11:13 AM
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Jobert,
This makes a lot of sense. I discovered something by accident this morning that just "clicked".

I was going to play a blues that I've been working on but getting the right and left hands to do their separate thing was killing me (i'm a beginner, started in december) and it just wasn't working so I slowed down and just started counting and figuring out which notes need to hit on which beat and which ones don't...which are together on beats and which arent.

Lo and behold something just clicked! for the first time I was able to play this syncopated partial piece and it FELT like my hands had moved up the "hand coordination" ladder just a bit!

I think that it was due to me not thinking about hands as two separate things but instead just "10 fingers that have to hit keys...some at the same time, some not..."

Re: How to improve on two hands playing? [Re: JoBert] #2832381
03/28/19 02:26 PM
03/28/19 02:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 374
Cheshire, UK
Cheshire Chris Offline
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Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Did Mozart really write “Twinke Twinkle Little Star”? I didn’t know that!

Not really. It's an old French folk song called "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" and it is unknown who composed it.
Mozart however wrote a famous piano arrangement with 12 variations (KV265). Here's the first YouTube hit for it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyhxeo6zLAM


Thank you - that's very interesting!


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.

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