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#942549 - 05/22/08 10:56 PM Suggestions for hand independence?
Ken Knapp Offline

Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2128
Loc: Pennsylvania
As I've progressed in my lessons the one thing that I have yet to achieve is really good hand independence. I've been complimented by my teacher on my reading ability and I can usually nail a piece doing hand separate, but the big challenge is hands together.

I know this is something I should ask my teacher but this is my plan - he is taking the next two weeks off and I won't have a lesson for three weeks. I was thinking that if there were some exercises I could try over that time in addition to my regular assignment it would be a nice surprise for him at my next lesson.


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#942550 - 05/23/08 10:19 AM Re: Suggestions for hand independence?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Ken, this isn't an exercise, but that Carly Comando piece I played for Recital #10 is great practice on hand independence... you're playing very rhythmic patterns in separate hands with minor variations. If you like how the piece sounds you may want to work on it.

You can hear it by going to YouTube and searching for "Noah Kalina".

--Monica, who is too lazy to look up and post the YouTube link herself. ;\)
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#942551 - 05/23/08 10:49 AM Re: Suggestions for hand independence?
DoReMi Katie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Illinois
something that seems to work well with all my students, as well as myself, is closing the fall board of the piano and tapping the rhythm. Each hand taps its own rhythm. It seems pretty easy - but it can sometimes be tricky. the reason why this can be helpful is you don't have to worry about finger numbers, notes, dynamics, phrasing, articulation, etc, but can focus mainly on developing your larger muscle memory. Once the arm/hand independence in the rhythm is developed up to tempo it's much easier to add everything else in.
Full-time, independent piano instructor; church musician
MTNA, ISMTA, working towards NCTM!

#942552 - 05/23/08 11:03 AM Re: Suggestions for hand independence?
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2940
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
2 exercises that worked wonders with me:

1) the tapping exercise described by Katies. I've done that for what I call difficult, which mostly involves afro-cuban rhythms

2) If you're trying to learn a left hand riff, and free your right hand, play the LH riff while playing scales in the RH. If you can play 8th, 1/4 , 1/2 and whole notes while playing that riff, chances are that riff has been memorized.

#942553 - 05/24/08 12:35 PM Re: Suggestions for hand independence?
Ken Knapp Offline

Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2128
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks everyone! \:\) I will give all of them a try. They sound great!


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#942554 - 05/24/08 02:53 PM Re: Suggestions for hand independence?
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Try "Staggered Hanon." With any Hanon exercise, start with RH, then add LH two notes later. There are several variations on this. You can try starting with the LH, or make the LH come in three or four notes later. It will be confusing at first, but this exercise works wonders!
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

#942555 - 05/24/08 10:37 PM Re: Suggestions for hand independence?
Ken Knapp Offline

Registered: 04/18/06
Posts: 2128
Loc: Pennsylvania
I just got done practicing and have tried the suggestions. I'll keep at it and appreciate all the suggestions!


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