The ultimate goal of every student in learning the piano is to play the piano with both hands. Playing the piano with both hands, however, is more complicated than just playing it with the right hand. You may enjoy for a while, as a student, playing separately with left and right hands. Yet, you must soon learn to play with both hands if you want to raise your piano playing skill a notch higher.
Techniques & Guides On Playing the Piano with Both Hands
There are prerequisites that you need to learn before you can become proficient in playing the piano with both hands. You first build on the following necessary skills before you can make that difficult passage from playing singlehanded to playing with both hands:
1) Improve and Enhance Your Sight-reading Skills
Note reading or sight-reading is a prerequisite if you want to gain mastery of the piano. You need to make your note reading skill better before you can improve on playing the piano with both hands. If you still have a hard time reading notes, then you should work on your note-reading skill.
The top and bottom lines of the piano music piece have different notes. The notes on the top lines are the Treble Clef notes. You should play these notes with your right hand. The notes at the bottom, however, are the Bass Clef notes. You should play these notes using your left hand.
So, if you are not yet a skillful note reader, you will end up playing the piano with difficulty. If you improve in your note reading skill, however, you will also improve in your piano playing skill with both hands.
To improve playing with both hands, however, you need to master playing the notes using your designated hands. Hence, you need to break down the tasks into smaller tasks. Improve first your right-hand playing of the Treble Clef notes. Then, master the playing of the Bass Clef notes. In this way, you can make both your hands capable of moving on their own.
You should also know the different beats in a measure. Moreover, you should be familiar with and cognizant of the key signature. Try to practice reading the notes aloud before you begin playing those notes on your piano.
2) Learn the Rhythm and Start with It
You will be surprised by the fact that in many piano pieces, the left hand and the right hand follow different rhythms. So, you must take note of this fact and work on your rhythm. At the onset, you need to figure out your left-hand rhythm. You can do this by tapping on your lap or on a flat surface left-hand rhythm.
Using your left hand, you should tap the rhythm of the song’s left-hand part. Try to get your left hand into the groove. Then, once you have gotten the groove of the left-hand part’s rhythm, you can work on the rhythm of the right-hand part of the song.
After you have gotten used to playing each hand’s rhythm, you can then begin to try tapping with both your hands, with each hand playing its own rhythm part.
You should then look at the written music and figure out how the notes on the bass clef move in relation to those of the treble clef. Those notes that are vertically in line with each other on the staff should be sounded at the same time. Thus, when both notes on the Treble Clef and Bass Clef align themselves, you should tap your both hands at the same time.
You can also write out the specific rhythm of each hand below the staff. Then, count out loud the rhythm of each hand. Practice the rhythm of each hand until you get the hang of the rhythm. Then, if you get the rhythm into your subconscious mind, the rhythm will flow into your tapping hand with ease.
3) Master the Rhythm along with the Notes
As you work on mastering the rhythm of each hand, you should start playing and mastering each part of the music piece. So, before you play with both hands, you should make sure that you can play the left- and right-hand parts separately. You can start by playing the music piece and tapping the rhythms together while playing each part. You should be patient and take your time in practicing and mastering the rhythms.
Yet, if you still find it hard to remember the rhythms of each hand, then try to play the right-hand part while tapping the left-hand part’s rhythm. Later, play the left-hand part while tapping the right-hand part’s rhythm. You can also play the right-hand part while you sing the right-hand part and vice versa.
4) Practice More Often
Practice makes everything better. So, the more you practice with each hand and both hands, the better you will become as a piano player. However, it is important to develop the right habit for each of your hands.
Once you have already gained the right way of playing with each hand, you can speed up the tempo for each of your hands. The important thing is that you got everything right at the onset before speeding up the tempo.
The important thing to remember about practice is that—it is not the length of practice that counts, but the frequency of the practices. A 15-minute practice daily is better than 2 hours of practice once a week. The more repetitions, the better you could develop muscle memory. Moreover, the breaks in-between practices are important in gaining a proper perspective.
If you rehearse well, for example, your right hand, then you only need to focus on your left hand, which makes playing both hands easier. Frequent practices make for better retention. This fact has been proven by experts.
The famous Edward Thorndike, for example, an essential law in learning, is the “Law of Exercise.” This law states that those associations that are practiced are stamped in. On the other hand, Hermann Ebbinghaus, another expert psychologist, said that “the distribution of repetitions over different periods of time works far more effectively than the accumulation of repetitions at one time.” You will gain much if you follow the thoughts of these two experts.
So, if you want your left hand to master its part, you should often practice your left-hand part. Moreover, if you want your right hand to do well, you should provide your right hand with more practices that are distributed over a long period of time. In so doing, both hands will play their parts automatically. Plus, with constant practice, you will soon become proficient in using both your hands in playing the piano.
5) Practice Playing with Your Both Hands Together
Once each of your hands has gained facility in playing its own part, you can, then, transition into playing piano with both hands. Start by practicing for each hand. Read the notes as you listen to music. You may not be accustomed to seeing each of your hand play individually. But soon you will get used to it.
You need to see your right hand and left hand individually so that each could play together at the same time. However, our brain is constructed in such a way that it works well when it concentrates on a single thing at a time. So, you will have a hard time playing with both hands at the onset. You might also get mentally fatigued by dividing your attention for each hand.
At the onset, therefore, you should attempt to read each measure vertically. I know this is difficult, for you have already gotten used to reading each measure horizontally. Yet, this is a prerequisite if you want to play with both hands.
Moreover, reading each measure vertically will help you fuse the two different lines together and help you figure out which notes are played together. You should also use a metronome to get the hang of the rhythm.
6) Visualize Before You Practice
You should believe in the power of visualization, for every great artist has made use of their imagination to master their craft. Remember what Stephen Covey, the author of the bestseller, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” had said about visualization. He said: “Everything is created twice: first, in mind; then, in reality.”
So, if you want to direct both of your hands to play their individual parts, you should visualize yourself playing the piano with both your hands. Picture each of your hands moving with grace as if each has its own mind. In this way, you are conditioning your mind to direct your hands to work on their own separately. Always remember that you can play everything in your imagination with perfection. You should also avail of the service of a certified piano teacher who can give you tips and hone your skill in playing the piano with both hands.
Added Tips to Improve Your Piano Playing with Both hands
These additional tips will help you further improve your playing skills with both hands: