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#1305550 - 11/14/09 07:11 PM Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination
Auggiedoggy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Hi folks,

After trying to do things on my own I have decided to go with a program. I think I need the structure in my training rather than my haphazard approach. blush I chose the Alfred series. I am 3/4 of the way through book one and book two arrived in the mail last week.

In addition to that I like learn other songs/pieces as supplementary training. I chose "Oriel Window" composed by Enya. It is a fairly simple instrumental BUT the difficulty is in the left hand/right hand coordination. The chords are arpeggiated throughout the piece.

My question: Is the standard practice to learn each hand separately then combine the two or learn to play both hands together at a slow pace?

Your help is much appreciated. smile

Rob
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Yamaha CP-300, P-85, NP-30

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#1305554 - 11/14/09 07:23 PM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: Auggiedoggy]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Some adopt the hands separate approach exclusively, and it seems to help them. Others avoid it because "you don't play the piece with separate hands, so why learn it that way." Try both approaches and see what works best for you.

For me, this is like most either/or questions in piano: a false choice. I often work on some things hands separate (my teacher often recommends it too), but I don't do it exclusively. I've learned from personal experience when it's helpful to me.
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Paul Buchanan
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#1305557 - 11/14/09 07:27 PM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: packa]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5281
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Like packa, I think there's no "standard". You might try, when working out the hands together, to particularly notice when both hands play a note at the same time - a kind of rhythmic landmark, if you will.

The slow speed to start, so you're taking care with the placement of your fingers, is right on, I think.

Cathy
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#1305588 - 11/14/09 07:55 PM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: jotur]
DragonPianoPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 2368
Loc: Denver, CO
Which tool would you use - a screwdriver or a hammer? Depends on whether you are putting in a screw or a nail.

When you are working on a fugue you have to use hands separate. Other types of pieces you can start with hands together.

Another thought is that if you want to sight read, then you should really spend a lot of time learning pieces that you are capable of playing hands together from the start. Learning pieces that are at your level hands together from the start is one of the best ways to improve your sight reading. This does take a lot of patience because you are not jumping into playing Moonlight sonata or Chopin preludes your first year playing.

For the most part, I start on pieces hands together. (Except a lot of Bach!) Then I break it down hands separate as I find spots that need it.

Rich
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#1305946 - 11/15/09 10:04 AM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: DragonPianoPlayer]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
I almost always start out hands separate, because it helps me to work out fingerings while also keeping my hand(s) relaxed. I find that when I put my hands together before I've worked out nice relaxed hands-separate parts, I tend to unconsciously let my hands tense up because of the challenge of trying to coordinate both hands at once.

YMMV...
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#1306100 - 11/15/09 02:10 PM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: tangleweeds]
Auggiedoggy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
I've been doing a little bit of both myself. I guess I'll just see which method works for me over the long haul.

I must say it is tempting to jump ahead and try a piece that is probably too much for my current experience level. I am going to stick with the Alfred books though and see how I progress.

Thanks for your help guys! smile

Rob
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Yamaha CP-300, P-85, NP-30

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#1306135 - 11/15/09 03:07 PM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: Auggiedoggy]
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 470
Loc: Barcelona
I usually start out hands separate, but it depends on the piece.

Coordinating both hands is the thing I find most difficult, and working that way it has helped me so far.

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#1306571 - 11/16/09 12:13 PM Re: Beginner's Question: Left/Right hand coordination [Re: Auggiedoggy]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: Auggiedoggy
I've been doing a little bit of both myself. I guess I'll just see which method works for me over the long haul.

Like me, you may find that both methods work over the long haul in different situations. One of the most important things I have learned from my teachers is a growing collection of practice techniques of which hands-separate practice is only one.

There is nothing more frustrating to me than trying to improve a difficult passage by just playing it over and over while hoping it gets better. What I have been taught are ways to analyze problems and then select particular practice techniques to work on the elements of the problems until I can put things back together properly. This can be hands separate, hands together but with some simplification, experimenting with alternate fingerings or note redistributions, modified rhythms, exaggerated dynamics, very slow tempo work, etc, etc. The more tricks you have, the more ways you can attack your practice challenges.
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Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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