How can I learn piano and play with both hands? Help?

by Pianist to be.

I'm new to the piano and the biggest problem that I need to work on is playing with two hands. I find it impossible to play something with my right and my left at the same time; I just get confused and mess it up. What can I do to fix this and improve? Please help!

Maria's answer:

Learning to play with two hands at the same time needs some patient preparation. But practicing hands separately is something you will always continue to do, even at an advanced level. Playing hands separately is not just for beginners!

Playing hand separately, and playing together, is how you will study all your pieces (with some exceptions). The more complicated the piece, the more important it is to practice hands separately, not just when you start learning the piece, but when you memorize, improve, fix and learn the piece better and better.

So, first of all; make sure you really know the piece playing hands separately. Next, to coordinate your hands and be able to play both at the same time, follow this simple plan:

  • Divide the piece in smaller sections of 2-4 measures. A general rule is- the harder the music, the smaller the section.

  • Practice one hand at a time until you can do it perfectly. Remember to start slowly, and then gradually increase speed as you feel more comfortable.

  • Next, take each section through 3 stages:

    • First: Play and sing/say the note names.
    • Second: Play and count the rhythm.
    • Third: Just play until perfect.

  • Then combine both hands with a simple formula:

    The speed with which you could play each hand separately without problems should now be HALVED! Combine both hands playing the section of the piece very, very slowly. Once you manage that, play at least 4 times more, and then gradually build up speed.

Keep on "building" the piece like this, section by section. Good luck!

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