Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1127880 - 08/28/06 02:05 PM Exercises for mentally separating hands
deezl18 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Hi, I'm new to the boards and relatively new to piano playing. I played for a few years when I was young (6-9) and then dropped it until 2 and 1/2 years ago when I started up again. I've played a ton since starting up again and I guess I would consider myself an intermediate player.

Anyway, I have been working for the last couple months on trying to mentally keep my hands separate. As in, when I learn a piece, I'd like to be able to learn one hand, learn the other, then put them together without thinking in terms of both hands at the same time. I typically fall into the habit of thinking about what both hands have to do at the same time, which makes learning a new piece more time-consuming. But also, it makes improvising more difficult, because it's difficult for me to keep anything but a very straightforward rhythm going in my left hand while I improvise with my right hand.

I'd like to know if anyone has any exercises that help to separate the hands (particularly rhythmically). Also, I've been working on some popular pieces (with a small makeshift band) that involve some singing, and the hardest part for me has been to keep the rhythm on the piano while I sing. So any exercises that might work on that problem as well?

Top
Piano & Music Accessories
#1127881 - 08/28/06 02:25 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
"Heart and Soul" -- improvising in RH til you puke.

"Pachelbel Canon" -- improvising in RH until you puke.

That would be a good start.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

Top
#1127882 - 08/28/06 02:45 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 777
Loc: Manassas,Va
Try working out the improv melody alone,while humming the pulse of the piece... slowly... with the right hand only... then proceed very slowly, again humming along ... to added bass and harmony with the melody always in front.. Oh, to sing and play together...Try to feel the pulse again ... to yourself hum the pulse of the piece while playing...Singing comes next...Good luck... to you ...Sandy B
_________________________
Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06

Top
#1127883 - 08/28/06 11:43 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
Can you pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time?
_________________________
-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

Top
#1127884 - 08/29/06 12:36 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
deezl18 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I would like to clarify that I have no problem simply keeping a steady rhythm of quarters or halves or eighths in the left hand while improving. I've been playing long enough that the whole "rub your tummy and pat your head" thing isn't the problem. The problem comes when I try to go for a more complicated rhythm - it tends to be more difficult to improv in the right hand (without just duplicating the left hand rhythm). Same with singing - I could sing while playing a steady pulse of quarters or eighths.

Top
#1127885 - 08/29/06 07:42 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
nezkeys79 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/06
Posts: 95
Loc: Greater Manchester, United Kin...
Sounds a lot like me. You can accompany yourself singing if the piano is like steady crotchet or quavers for example, but you struggle with more complex rhythms when having to play them together.

I am guessing if you had to play 2 over 3, or 3 over 2, or 4 over 3, etc etc it would be quite hard?

In fact I need help with this because right now it is becoming my achilles heel.

Top
#1127886 - 09/04/06 10:22 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3160
Hi- I also am new to this board. And, I have worked with the very problems you describe. Here is what has helped me:

First, try switching hands; that is, play with your left hand the notes of the right (probably the melody), and the notes of the left (probably chords or other rhythm) with the right hand.
Practice hands alone first, with a metronome or drum machine, then, hands together, first w/o the metronome, then with.

I have only used this with basic left hand rhythms, but it has helped tremendously. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Also, you may discover that your singing mirrors the rhythm of one particular hand...mine was the right. I found that I could not sing a syllable without playing a corresponding right hand "beat" note.
This has diminished a lot since I began practicing singing while playing with hands reversed. (Get comfortable with playing reversed before singing)

I found I could actually sing better with hands reversed, because I had consciously worked on playing that way with the metronome to be as perfect as possible. I surmise that my earlier catch-all learning with hands in normal position was flawed, thus the problem.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Top
#1127887 - 09/05/06 10:06 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
bukopaudan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/03/06
Posts: 506
Loc: USA
Hello deezl! I'm also new to these boards and I understand, somewhat, what you're talking about. I usually have the same problems.

Why not try mimicking? It's a technique in which you play your left hand while only mimicking your right hand. That means while you play your left hand, your right hand is ON the piano, playing the melody without the sound. Do that a few times and then switch, mimic your left hand and then play your right. And then you can improvise. I haven't done this before, but my younger siblings have and it seems to work quite well.

Good luck!
_________________________
"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein

Top
#1127888 - 09/11/06 05:11 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
pastafarian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 379
Loc: Canada
One thing that is starting to help me on this is being back with a pick-up pop/rock band that is heavily guitar oriented.
Few of the tunes we do have "keyboard" parts (i.e., piano, organ sounds), so I'm starting to find myself having to play two different (unrelated) parts with each hand. For example, in the Monkees' version of "I'm a Believer", I play the non-stop tambourine/clap with the LH and the organ/flute "DA-doo-doo-doo-doo-DOOP" hook with the RH. Ditto for the claps and the organ fills in "Centerfield" (J. Fogerty).
_________________________
Without music life would be a mistake
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Top
#1127889 - 09/15/06 02:18 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
swingal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 1094
Loc: England
Well in jazz playing, I use the left hand to provide the beat that supports the melody in the right hand. And sometimes the left hand will give some lead up to the melody, sort of teasing the right hand.

These sort of questions are really impossible to describe by me. Sorry, but until I can get a recording devvice that will produce MPEG's of my playing, that will have to do.

Alan

Top
#1127890 - 09/15/06 05:53 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
sirch59 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/05
Posts: 49
 Quote:
Originally posted by deezl18:
I typically fall into the habit of thinking about what both hands have to do at the same time, which makes learning a new piece more time-consuming.[/b]
Being a drummer let me just insert this line of thinking. Yes, you have understand what rhythm goes with each hand, so you break it down JUST to understand the flow, however I would NEVER pratice a piece "hands separate" because in order to obtain the correct coordination you HAVE to play hands together.

In my opinion practicing HS causes an uneccessary step to grasping the coordination of learning hands together. The real progress comes from slowing movements way down and really feeling the interaction between both hands.

Top
#1127891 - 09/15/06 02:04 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
deezl18 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 25
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Thanks guys, I actually hadn't checked this board in a while and now I find a bunch of new advice. I'm definitely still working at improving in this area and I'll give some of these ideas a shot. Glad to see I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

Actually I played percussion for three years in middle school (admittedly not a drum set) and thought I was pretty good at it, made all-county a couple of years. So I thought rhythm would have been a strong suit for me on the piano, but clearly it is taking more work than I anticipated. Sometimes, though, that seems to make things more fulfilling when you finally get it.

Top
#1127892 - 09/20/06 06:55 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands
sirch59 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/05
Posts: 49
 Quote:
Originally posted by deezl18:
So I thought rhythm would have been a strong suit for me on the piano, but clearly it is taking more work than I anticipated.[/b]
I agree, I have been at it for a whole year
and find that I have not progressed
rhythmically as much as I thought I
would have by now...

When it comes to just banging out block chords
in the LH and melody in the right I find that
much easier until I get in to arps in the left.

Moving 10 fingers at the same time
is much more difficult than just moving
4 limbs at different rhythms.

Thank goodness I find this fascinating or
I'd be bored out my mind at this point!!

Top
#2070426 - 04/25/13 04:28 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands [Re: deezl18]
Randalthor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/13
Posts: 35
Loc: UK
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but as a complete beginner I feel this is relevant.

Sirch59 suggests 'never practising hands separate', but all my introductory books are saying learn the chord changes in the left hand first, practice this against a beat until you have it down, then practice just the melody against the same beat, until you have that down also, then go on to doing the both at the same time.

which is the best habit to start with. bear in mind I'm a blank canvas in terms of any techniques, so I'm really just trying to start with the best way, that will benefit me the most in the future.

Regards.

Top
#2071171 - 04/26/13 01:48 AM Exercises for mentally separating hands [Re: Randalthor]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Randalthor,

First of all, if you have a teacher, ask her/him, and follow the advice given. Assuming you are attempting to go this alone, and as you state, you are a complete beginner, that is going to be tough ---

(I am hoping that a couple of real players chime in here.) Meanwhile, I can relate how I developed a degree of independence between my right and left hands. I devised some very simple exercises using basic intervals and major scales, something like this:

[1] Using the interval of a perfect 5th in your LH (say C + G, for instance), play a string of quarter notes.
[2] While playing the quarter note perfect 5th pattern in your LH, play the related major scale (C major in our example), in quarter notes, in your RH, ascending and descending. (No applause yet!)
[3] Keeping the quarter note perfect 5th pattern going in your LH, now play the related major scale in your RH using eighth notes (2 articulations in the RH for every 1 in your LH.)
[4] Keeping the quarter note perfect 5th pattern going in your LH, now play the related major scale in your RH using sixteenth notes (4 articulations in the RH for every 1 in your LH.)
[NOTE] It is important to keep the quarter note beat perfectly steady, and your articulations against it clean.
[5] Next, reverse the roles of your hands, placing the perfect 5th in your RH (C + G), playing steady quarter notes; and the major scale playing in your LH. Do the scale first in quarter notes, then eights, and then sixteenths.
[6] As these patterns improve, and sound clean, then move to other major keys, with the goal of eventually covering them all.
[7] As the other major keys start to feel natural, and the sound is clean, then add some variety to the rhythms in each hand. For instance, play the scale in eighth note triplets while keeping the perfect 5th in quarter notes. Then try the perfect 5th in eighth notes while playing the scale in triplets. Next, try the perfect 5th in eighth notes while playing the scale in quarter note triplets. Endless variety!

It makes your hands independent, but your playing INTEGRATED.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top
#2071247 - 04/26/13 05:34 AM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands [Re: deezl18]
Randalthor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/22/13
Posts: 35
Loc: UK
Super advice, I'm certainly going to give this a try.
After 35+ years of living in this body, you think I would be able to tell my own hands what to do by now, lol.

Regards.

Top
#2071593 - 04/26/13 02:37 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands [Re: deezl18]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
There is literally no end to what you can do with RH/LH independence on piano, especially when you start messing with polyrhthm like this

RH is playing in 7 while LH is keeping 4/4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNOJ1HxsFZI

An easier exercise would be doing half note shell voicing or walking bass line in quarter note and play constant 3 note pattern or dotted quarter note on it, or do vice versa(RH solo LH is playing constant dotted quarter), then you can do 5 beat phrase, 7 beat phrase and so on. Or you can do different grouping of 8&16th notes (i.e 3+5) tripelts (groupings of 2, 4, 5, 4+5)..etc

It's really not as esoteric as you think.. I've heard people like Alan Pasqua, James Willians use these polyrhthimc stuff very tastefully over standards. Mastering these technique, and being able to keep time while doing so will really open up your soloing rhythmically and give you a lot of freedom... and if you are working with good drummer/bassist with similar kind of rhythmic vocabulary, you'll be able to do so much with them.. i think this is what makes trios like Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett..etc so interesting. They can play around with the rhythm so much and do it together.


Edited by etcetra (04/26/13 02:40 PM)

Top
#2071715 - 04/26/13 05:27 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands [Re: etcetra]
Farmerjones Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 196
Loc: USA
Ed's going to love me comparing a piano to bongos. But what works for me on jazz or pop tunes is to "bongo it out" rhythmwise on a desktop. It gets the rhythm in my wrists, palms and collective fingertips. So the only thing left is to annunciate with correct fingers. (Q)How do you play Blue Skies? (A)Play a bunch of notes in rhythm, and leave out the notes that aren't in Blue Skies. smile As with string instruments the music is in both hands. The timely change is as important as the plectrum or bow.


Edited by Farmerjones (04/26/13 05:29 PM)

Top
#2071864 - 04/26/13 11:51 PM Re: Exercises for mentally separating hands [Re: Farmerjones]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Farmerjones
Ed's going to love me comparing a piano to bongos. But what works for me on jazz or pop tunes is to "bongo it out" rhythmwise on a desktop. It gets the rhythm in my wrists, palms and collective fingertips.

Actually, your advice is brilliant in its simplicity. This is the exact way I first learned to play two-against-three -- by "bongoing it out" on a tabletop.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

Top

Moderator:  sharpsandflats 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Trinity ATCL exam questions
by slava_richter
09/19/14 09:54 PM
JBL LSR305 monitors too noisy for DP usage?
by Emiliano
09/19/14 09:52 PM
Pletnev - Poise under duress
by vers la flan
09/19/14 07:34 PM
Chopin Op 10 No 6
by Cheeto717
09/19/14 07:08 PM
Charles R Walter upright
by landorrano
09/19/14 05:19 PM
Who's Online
82 registered (aesop, Anticlock, Al LaPorte, 7notemode, AndreiN, 26 invisible), 1040 Guests and 16 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76253 Members
42 Forums
157636 Topics
2315424 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission