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!


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