Piano Notes - How To Achieve Hand Independence on the Piano

Edward Weiss
 


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"I'm losing the left-hand, " cried one piano student. “Every time I try to add in my right hand, the left stops" exclaims another.

These are common complaints for students who wish to learn hand independence. And for most, this is a big problem. They want to play the piano with both hands playing different parts. But the main reason most piano students have problems with this is because they try to play too fast!

Hand independence is one area that takes some time (not too much time) but some time to achieve. And this too depends on how complicated the hands tasks are.

START OUT GOING SLOW!

For example, in the lesson “Winter Scene" we have a left hand ostinato pattern going while the right hand improvises a melody. This lesson uses just 2 chords in closed position. By giving you only 2 chords, I conveniently limit the left hand's ability to go all over the place.

You start out by going slow and easy until the left hand is so automatic that you can play the pattern while talking to someone. In fact, you should be able to keep the left hand going while doing anything else. That's how automatic it can become with a little practice. Then you add in the right hand to improvise a melody.

But here is where most students mess up. Why? Because they try to play something too complicated or sophisticated in the right hand. Here's the answer - go as slow as you need too to maintain the left hand! There's no need to rush. If all you can play is one note, then play that note. This isn't to say that you shouldn't play around with the possibilities and experiment with your right hand. It is to say that if you're a speed demon here, you're defeating your own purpose.

When a simple ostinato pattern becomes second nature, you can get more sophisticated in the left hand. For instance, in lesson 60 “Sea Caves, " we use over an octave in the left hand while the right plays sixth notes and single note runs.

Hand independence is something you can achieve - but you must have patience. Slow and steady wins the race here

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons . He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!

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