What Makes Hand Coordination Better?

Left hand writing the German word "Linksh...
Left hand writing the German word "Linkshänder" (left handed). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So many of you have asked for help in hand coordination. Usually when one has trouble playing both hands together on the piano, it is a result of one hand knowing the music better than the other. You will want to be consistent in both hands with the fingerings so that muscle memory is developed. Smooth playing results in correct fingering, not just knowing the notes.

You also want to maintain the same speed in each hand. This is challenging for many of us because we are dominant in one hand over the other. Both hands need to be comfortable but you've just got to know your left hand better. This is usually where the train wreck to the song begins. Be sure and keep your eyes on the music, too. If you keep looking at your hands and all around, you'll lose focus and your place in the music. I know it's challenging to learn a bass pattern over and over in your left hand, while one seems distracted by playing the melody and improvising in the right hand but believe me, it can be done with lots of practice. Train the left hand to be more independent.

Some more practicing tips for playing both hands together:


  • When playing music from the grand staff, read the notes vertically (bottom to top) before moving on horizontally (left to right).
  • Play the song a couple of times with the right hand by itself. Then play the song a few times with the left hand only. When you’re confident with the notes for each hand, you can try playing the song hands-together.
  • Play slowly at first and speed up the tempo as you become more comfortable with the song.

    Learn the parts separately, the left hand and then the right hand.
    Mark where the notes are together.. (like beats...) Ex. If you have 4 quarter notes in the left hand and you have 8 eighth notes, mark when they're together so you don't get lost.

    Before you even attempt a difficult passage, make sure your note reading skills are up to par. If you can’t distinguish each note on the staff quickly, take a step back and master that first.  Trust us – it will make the process a lot easier! http://takelessons.com

    (Nearly always) play with both hands, don't try to separate them.
    Don't worry about skipping a note here or there in the harmony. If you don't get there in time,  just go on to the next one, or make up a harmony! Few listeners will be able to tell. After a while your left hand will develop a feel for where the notes might be expected to be. After a while, your right hand will be able to pick out the melody essentially by ear without having to pay so much attention to the notes on the page, thus allowing you to pay more attention to the left hands harmonies. These two trends will combine together to  make playing easier and easier. Doing a little bit of playing by ear, and a little bit of sight reading new music, will help to strengthen these trends. http://www.lofthouse.com
 My two cents, patience and perseverance. Plus, Hanon Exercises will definitely help! Did I mention memorizing a piece? This adds lots to the equation of easily moving both hands across the keys. Yes, it takes time to do so with lots of practice. Also, I have read that many drop bass notes in their left hand and just play a single note within each measure while the right hand moves more effortlessly. Try this approach if it's easier for you to separate two different rhythms but you may be over simplifying and missing out on some of the tones. Adding a metronome may help and yet it will frustrate many a musician.

A healthy approach to the dilemma of hand coordination is to have very relaxed hands. Also, keep in mind that it's the hand and forearm that support the finger movements. Continue with practicing scales and exercises in contrary motion, along with arpeggios to connect both hands playing music. Play single note runs, and chords, too.

Four-Way Keyboard System - Book One

 Pianoanne has some very cool teaching aides over at her site. Take a look at these, for Friday freebie!

Download the free workbook, Barnyard Friends.




 Let me know what works for you in putting both hands to the keys!
Have a great weekend! Time for Christmas music!

Blessings,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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How To Play Don't Grow Weary

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Eighth...
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Eighth_notes_and_rest.png original description follows. Two eighth notes (stems up and down) and an eighth rest on the staff. Created for the eighth note article. *Author User:Merphant Recreated in SVG fomat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A long time ago, I had the privilege of being on the worship team at New Venture Christian Fellowship. One of the highlights (way too many to count) was learning a song, Don't Grow Weary. It was written ©1993 Integrity's Hosanna! Music by Martin J. Nystrom and Don Harris. I loved playing this song on the keyboard. Here are the chords I found online and in the second chord chart I'll add more chords and show you what I'm playing. It's pretty easy going (probably a little corny nowadays but not a fast pace, pump up the crowd type of song. Do you recognize it?

Oh, and I wanted to mention another famous worship song, As The Deer, written by Martin J. Nystrom (along with chords) can be found here


Key: E

E
Don't grow weary in doing well,
E                A        B
don't surrender in the fight;
A        E
Keep on storming the gates of hell,
C#m7    F#m7   A         B        E
Keep on doing what you know is right.


     A              E/G#         F#m
For there will be seasons of testing,
E    A            B              C#m  B  C#m
and there may be weeping for a night;
      A            E/G#           F#m7
But soon we'll be reaping the blessing,
            A    E    A             Bsus   B
if we keep pressing on toward the prize.


E
Keep on praying in the Spirit,
E                A         B
keep on walking in the light;
A          E
Don't be fearful or discouraged,
C#m      F#m7  A          B       E
keep on doing what you know is right.
 

 
E/A         E       E/A    E
Don't grow weary in doing well,
E/A          E      E/A   B
don't surrender in the fight;
C#m/A        E       E/A      E  B/C#
Keep on storming the gates of hell,
C#m7    F#m7   E/G# A         B  E
Keep on doing what you know is right.


A/E    A          E/G#         F#m
For there will be seasons of testing,
E/F#  F#m7  A          B       C#m  B/C#  C#m
and there may be weeping for a night;
      A            E/G#           F#m7
But soon we'll be reaping the blessing,
            A    E/A  A             Bsus   B
if we keep pressing on toward the prize.


E/A      E      E/A     E
Keep on praying in the Spirit,
E/A      E         E/A   B
keep on walking in the light;
C#m A          E E/A    E B/C#
Don't be fearful or discouraged,
C#m7      F#m7  E/G# A          B   E
keep on doing what you know is right.
 

 So, when we break down the chords, remember to read the slash chords I'm posting,
l.h. / r.h. Also, there's lots of eighth notes throughout the song with 4/4 time signature.

AC#/EG#B Don't grow

EB/EG#B weary in doing

EB/EG# well

AB/EG#B don't sur-

EE/EG#B render in the

BB/D#F# fight,  (C#C#/EG#, AA/C#E)

AC#/EG# Keep on

EB/EG#B stormin

AG#/BE the

AB/EF# gates, AB/EG# of

EB/EG# Hell, (C#B/D#F#)

C#B/EG# keep, C#G#/EB on

F#A/EC# do-  F#A/EB in (G#/EB, A/C#E)

AA/C#E what you

BB/D#F#G# know is

EG#/BE right.

EG#/BE For

AC#/EA there will be

G#B/EF#G# seasons of

F#A/C#F#G# testing, (F#A/C#F#, F#G#/BE)

F#A/C#E and

AC#/EA there may be

BB/D#G# weep-, BB/D#F# ing

BB/C#E for a,  C#C#/EG# night (C#B/D#F#, C#G#/C#E)

C#G#/C#E but

AA/EC# soon

AB/EB we'll, AC#/EB be

G#B/EB reaping, AE/EA, G#B/EG# the

F#A/C#F# bless-, F#A/C#E ing

F#A/C#E if, F#A/C#F# we, F#A/C#G# keep

AC#/EA press-

AB/EG# ing, AA/C#E on

AA/EC# toward AA/EB the

BF#/EB prize, EG#/BE

Have you played Don't Grow Weary or As The Deer before. If so, what key are you comfortable playing in?
You may be interested in the following resources:

Martin J. Nystrom - As the Deer - Psalm 42:1 - Sheet Music (Digital Download)
Don't Grow Weary
Be Magnified
Exalt the Lord
Firm Foundation

Plus, Hear and Play is offering just for today, their last day of the sale. Stop by, if you want.
4 free videos

All the best,

-- LadyD

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Billy Joel: Piano Man

Cover of "Billy Joel - Greatest Hits, Vol...
Cover via Amazon

On September 11, 2008 I had been thinking about New York and had posted the chords to New York State of Mind. After watching a young man on The Voice, kind of singing like Billy Joel, I decided it was time to share some more hit songs from this gifted artist. Most of the chords to Billy's songs are from a songbook that I own, called Billy Joel - Billy Joel - Greatest Hits, Volumes 1 and 2 - Music Book, plus you'll find some chord progressions to his tunes online.

William Martin "Billy" Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man," in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. He also has the third best-selling album in the United States with his Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2
For more information, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Joel

Piano Man is a cool song that was written in 1973, so very popular. It's written in the Key of C with 3/4 time signature. Here are the chords to the song.

     C      Em/B       Am  C/G
It's nine o'clock on a Saturday
    F       C/E            D7 G
The regular crowd shuffles in
           C    Em/B       Am      C/G
There's an old man sitting next to me
       F           G11       C   F/C Cmaj7 G11
Making love to his tonic and gin

          C            Em/B      Am  C/G
He says, "Son, can you play me a memory
    F          C/E         D7 G
I'm not really sure how it goes
         C            Em/B        Am        C/G
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
      F      G11             C
When I wore a younger man's clothes."

Am   Am/G   D7/F# F 
la la la, di da da
Am   Am/G   D7/F#   G  G/F C/E G7/D
La la, di di da da dum

C         Em/B              Am   C/G
Sing us a song, you're the piano man
F         C/E      D7   G
Sing us a song tonight
            C         Em/B        Am  C/G
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    F                 G11         C   F/C Cmaj7
And you've got us all feeling alright

    C           Em/B      Am         C/G
Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
   F          C/E         D7  G
He gets me my drinks for free
         C            Em/B              Am          C/G
And he's quick with a joke and he'll light up your smoke
            F               G11         C   F/C Cmaj7 G11
But there's some place that he'd rather be
[ Tab from: http://www.guitaretab.com/b/billy-joel/275450.html ]
          C      Em/B             Am      C/G
He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me."
       F          C/E            D7  G
As the smile ran away from his face
          C           Em/B          Am    C/G
"Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star
   F           G11           C
If I could get out of this place"

Am   Am/G       D7/F# F
la la la, di da da
Am    Am/G      D7/F#   D7 G  G/F C/E G7/D
La la, di di da da dum

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessman slowly gets stoned
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it's better than drinking alone

C         Em/B               Am   C/G
Sing us a song, you're the piano man
F         C/E      D7   G
Sing us a song tonight
            C          Em/B         Am   C/G
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    F                 G11         C    F/C
And you've got us all feeling alright

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see
To forget about life for a while
And the piano, it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, "Man, what are you doing here?"

Am              D7
la la la, di da da
Am           D7    G  F C G7
La la, di di da da dum

C        Em/B               Am     C/G
Sing us a song, you're the piano man
F         C/E      D7   G
Sing us a song tonight
            C          Em/B         Am   C/G
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody
    F                 G11         C     
And you've got us all feeling alright
 
 
 
Here's my intro:
 
L.H./R.H. 

 
GF/CA
 
E/CG
 
D/CFG 

Then play,

C =  C/CEG

E,/B = B/BEG

Am = A/EAC

C/G = G/EGC

F = F/AC

C/E = E/GCD

D7 = D/F#CD

G = G/BG

C = C/CEG

Em/B = B/BEF

Am = A/ACE

C/G = G/EGA

F = FC/AF

G11 = GF/ACF

C = CEG/CEG

F/C = CFA/CFC

Cmaj7 = CGB/CGC

G11 = FA/ then play EE/ then DD/G

Em/B = B/BEG, B/GBF, B/GBE

Am = A/ACF

C/G = GEGC

F = F/FAC

C/E E/CGD

D7 = D/DF#C

G = G/DGB

C = C/CEG

Em/B = B/BEG, then B/GBF

Am = A/ACF then A/ACE

C/G = G/EGC

F = FAC

G11 = G/FAC

C = C/EGC

Am = A/CEA

Am/G = G/CEB

D7/F# = F#/CDA

F = F/CFA

Am = A/CE

Am/G = G/CEBC

D7/F# = F#/DF#B

G = G/BDG

G/F = F/DGBD

C/E = E/EGCE

G7/D = D/FBDF

C/GCEG

Em/B = B/GBEG

Am = A/FACF, then A/CEAC

C/G = G/CEG

F = F/CFA

C/E = E/CGC

D/DF#CD

G/DGBD, then G/EGBE, then G/FBDF

C = C/GCEG

Em = B/GBEG

Am = A/FACF, then A/EE, then A/CEAC

C/G = C/CEG

F = F/CFA, then F/FAC

G = G/FACF

C = CEG/CC

F/C = CFA/CFC

Cmaj7 = CEGB/CGC

CEG/CDEG



Billy Joel - Piano Man - Sheet Music (Digital Download)


Billy Joel - She's Always A Woman - Sheet Music (Digital Download)

Billy Joel - Uptown Girl - Sheet Music (Digital Download)

Music Notes.com is having a sale, if you're interested. I get some digital music from them often for my students. It's fast and easy, so you can learn a song right away.
Save 21% on any digital sheet music order of $25! Use code MNCYBER2012 at checkout


I think you'll soon discover that many of these famous piano players, like Bruce Hornsby and Billy Joel, have very large hands and are able to hit those octaves effortlessly. Do you have a favorite Billy Joel song that comes to mind?
By the way, Hear and Play is having a huge sale on music resources right now that you might want to check out, Songrobot Software

All the best,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay

Me 'n Rock 'n Roll Are Here to Stay
Me 'n Rock 'n Roll Are Here to Stay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I've been watching The Voice on television and there's a guy who sings rock and roll quite well. He reminded me of an article I recently read by Joan Stiles called "Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay."

Many of the "hard-driving" rock and roll tunes of the 1950s, like "At the Hop" or "Johnny Be Good" are based on the 12 bar blues. Once you know a few simple ideas that work over these chords, you are well on your way to playing authentic 50s style piano.

First learn a basic left-handed pattern of steady quarter notes in which the thumb plays fifths, sixths and sevenths while the fifth finger retains the root of each chord.

Play 4 measures:

L.H.  G7 = GD, GE, GF, GE

L.H. C7 = CG, CA, CBb, CA then G7 = GD, GE, GF, GE

L.H. D7 = DA, DB, DC, DB then C7 = CG, CA, CBb, CA then G7 = GD, GE, GF, GE

When that feels comfortable, try adding the right hand:

GG, DD, DG with eighth notes in 4/4 time signature.

I've only used notes that can be repeated through the entire 12 bar from. Listen to the clash (dissonance) that occurs at different points as the chords change. That tension is an essential part of the blues.

Next, play fourths, D and G, in the same eighth-note rhythm. Try the bluesy device of "crushing" the lower note by sliding from C-sharp to D using the second finger. When that feels good, change the rhythm of the right hand part.

At first, practice these combined parts slowly. Gradually increase the tempo while maintaining a steady beat. If you really want to "Rock Around the Clock," play these patterns while singing "At the Hop" or "Rock and Roll is Here to Stay."

I also wrote an article, Rock and Roll and Beyond. Here it is:

Its origins lie in a combination of rhythm and blues, jazz, and country-western music. The earliest known song that represents rock and roll is the song by Bill Hayley and His Comets entitled "Rock Around the Clock" (1954). Soon after that song came out, a young man from Memphis, Tennessee, known as Elvis Presley hit the scene and reigned for nearly 20 years as the "king" of rock and roll.

This new style of music captivated the young audiences in America in the 1950's. It was, for them, a form of rebellion and a way to break out of the molds that their parents had set for them. In 1964 a little-known group known as 'THE BEATLES' came on an American tour. They became, in a very short period of time, the most well-known and successful rock band in history. Throughout the 1960's African-American rock music was known as "soul' music. It got its name from the emphasis that these tunes placed on gospel origins and heartfelt words.

Throughout time, rock music has come to be a term that acts as an umbrella under which an incredible variety of styles and sounds coexists. So strong has rock's influence been that composers have sought to incorporate elements of rock and roll in musicals, choir pieces, church music, and symphonies. Rock music, like jazz, country-western, and all the other styles of music, has taken the elements of music from the past and combined them in new and different ways to create an independent identity.

It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future. There are composers today who are hearkening back to the music of the past, and many composers today are desperately seeking to be the Mozarts or Schonbergs of the future. Only time will tell what music will bring to us, but rest assured that we will hear it loud and clear. http://EzineArticles.com/1648525
 You may be interested in:

Early Rock 'N' Roll - 18 Classics From the '50s and '60s - Music Book
 Heart of Rock and Roll (Medley) - Music Book Various Arrangers - VH1's 100 Greatest
 Songs of Rock and Roll - Easy Piano - Music Book

Best,





"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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The Wind Beneath My Wings

Photo of Bette Midler backstage at the Grammy ...
Photo of Bette Midler backstage at the Grammy Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 One of the most beautiful songs of the decade, this award winning ballad was named as the 1984 Country Music Song of the Year, with Gary Morris' recording reaching #4 on the country charts. That same year, Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded this song under the title Hero. It has experienced a successful revival in the current film "Beaches," starring singer/actress Bette Midler, whose recording also reached the charts.

Words and music by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar, 1982. Such an inspirational song.



G                                    C
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
G                               C  
to never have sunlight on your face.
Am                           D
You were content to let me shine; that's your way.
Am                           D
You always walked a step behind.


G                              C
So I was the one with all the glory,
G                                    C
while you were the one with all the strain.
Am                          D       
A beautiful face without a name; for so long.
Am                              D            B7
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.


Em            C                   G
Did you ever know that you're my hero,
Em             C                G           D
and everything I would like to be?
Em           C              G             D
I can fly higher than an eagle  
C                 G                G
for you are the wind beneath my wings.


G                              C
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
G                              C
but I've got it all here in my heart.
Am                             D 
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
Am                          D           B7
I would be nothing without you.


Em            C                   G
Did you ever know that you're my hero,
Em             C                G           D
and everything I would like to be?
Em           C              G             D
I can fly higher than an eagle  
C                 G                G
for you are the wind beneath my wings.


Em            C                   G
Did you ever know that you're my hero,
Em             C                G           D
and everything I would like to be?
Em           C              G             D
I can fly higher than an eagle  
C                 G                G
for you are the wind beneath my wings.
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com 
 
 
So, here are the chord I'm playing in this lovely song.
Slowly flowing, in 2  

G (add A)                           C D/C
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
G (add A)                           C D/C C 
to never have sunlight on your face.
Am (add B)                 D7sus4 D7
You were content to let me shine; that's your way.
Am  (add B)                D7sus4 D7
You always walked a step behind.


G (add A)                      C D/C
So I was the one with all the glory,
G  (add A)                           D/C   C
while you were the one with all the strength.
Am  (add B)               D7sus4          D7       
A beautiful face without a name; for so long.
Am (add B)                     D      B/D#
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.


Em            C                   G  D/F#  D
Did you ever know that you're my hero,
Em             C                G    D/F#  C/E
and everything I would like to be?
Em           C              G   
I can fly higher than an eagle  
Am7            Am7/D    D7      Gmaj9 C  D/C
for you are the wind beneath my wings.


G (add A)                     C  D/C
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
G (add A)                      C D/C  C
but I've got it all here in my heart.
Am (add B)                     D7sus4  D7   
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
Am (add B)                  D   B/D#
I would be nothing without you.


Em            C                   G D/F# D
Did you ever know that you're my hero,
Em             C                G   D/F# C/E D
and everything I would like to be?
Em           C              G             D
I can fly higher than an eagle  
C                 G                G
for you are the wind beneath my wings.


Em            C                   G
Did you ever know that you're my hero,
Em             C                G           D
and everything I would like to be?
Em           C              G             D
I can fly higher than an eagle  
C        D/C   Am7/D D7      G  (add A)   C D/C
for you are the wind beneath my wings.
 
You may be interested in Vocal Mastery System 

I am thankful for you, dear readers. 
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
 
thanksgiving greetings
 
Blessings,
 




"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Free Thanksgiving Printables

turkey at the safari park


Right before we stop piano lessons for Thanksgiving Vacation,
I love to play music games with my piano students. I am so
thankful for online piano teachers who offer their talents and
hard work for free. Here is a list of some of my favorite teaching
resources for Thanksgiving.

1. Games

Chasing the turkey board game
Chasing The Turkey Board Game

save the turkey game
Save The Turkey Game

pumpkin matching rhythm game
Pumpkin Pattern Memory Game

turkey rhythm game
Turkey Rhythm Game
 2. Worksheets

turkey find the bass notes
Turkey Find The Bass Notes
color the feathers
Color The Feathers
Turkey Egg Notes
Turkey Egg Notes
You'll also want to download the free sheet music to Over the River and Through The Woods



Another opportunity for the musician with the holidays approaching,
is to gather around the piano and sing hymns and favorite songs. Here is
a list of the 10 Best Thanksgiving Songs.

And from Mary Chapin Carpenter to Sister Sledge, here are the
 Top 10 Pop Songs for Thanksgiving

You may be interested in:

Learn To Play Give Thanks

Learn To Play Thank You Lord

Happy Thanksgiving!






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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