Quick Tips

How To Play Piano With Both Hands

By Hoffman Academy Team
How to play a piano with both hands. Learn how to play the piano the correct way.

Discover tips on how to play piano with both hands

Okay, so you can play the right hand part just fine, and you can play the left hand part too, but when you put them together it just isn’t working. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even advanced pianists have to work hard to put both hands together when passages are rhythmically tricky or technically challenging. The difficulty of playing two different parts with two different hands makes piano playing a fantastic brain exercise. If you can learn how to play piano this way, you can do just about anything. The key to any complex skill, like playing the right hand part and the left hand part together, is to break it down into smaller skills and master each part individually. This won’t always make it easy to put everything together, but it will make it much more possible to play piano.

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How to Play Piano with Both Hands: Start with Rhythm

In most piano pieces, the right hand and the left hand will have a different rhythm. For now, don’t worry about the notes. Let’s just work on the rhythm. Close the lid on your piano keyboard, find a table or other flat surface, or just use your lap. With your left hand, tap the rhythm of the left hand part of the song. Then, with your right hand, tap out the rhythm of the right hand part of the song. Once you can do each part individually and with confidence, try tapping the two parts together. 

One thing that can help you as you do this is to look at the written music on the grand staff and notice when notes on the bass clef line up with notes on the treble clef. Notes that are in line vertically on the staff will sound at the same time. When that happens, both hands should tap at the same time. To make these moments easier to see on the page, take a colored pencil or a marker and draw a line directly from the note played by the right hand to the left hand’s note vertically below it. This way, it’s easier to see when both hands should tap (or play) at the same time! 

Another thing you can do is write out the rhythm for each hand just below the staff, using counts or ta’s and tiki’s. When learning how to play piano, it can help to count out loud as you tap the rhythm of each hand separately, and also when you tap together. Go slowly. If you need to, work on only one measure at a time. Once you can tap the rhythm of the two parts together, you’re ready to move on to the notes.

How to Play Piano with Both Hands: Now for the Notes

Before you try putting right hand and left hand parts together, make sure you can play each part individually. If you can play the parts individually and can tap the rhythms together, go ahead and try to play the piano with both hands together. Remember to go slow and take it a little at a time when you’re learning how to play a piano.

If you’re still having trouble with this type of piano playing exercise, here are some other things you can try: Play the left hand part while tapping the rhythm of the right hand part, then switch and play the right hand part while tapping the rhythm of the left hand part. Play the left hand part while speaking the rhythms of the right hand part. Then switch and play the right hand part while speaking the rhythms of the left hand part. This trick also works with singing! Play the left hand part while singing the right hand part. If there are no lyrics, just sing on “la.” Now play the right hand part while singing the left hand part.

How can I improve my coordination when I play piano? Practice, practice, practice! Consistent practice is the key to improving any skill – even five minutes a day can keep a skill healthy! Practice the finger power (technique) that you have learned and are very comfortable with with both hands! For example, if you are really good at playing a D major pentascale with your right hand and left hand alone, practice playing it with both hands! First practice it so that both hands are playing the same way on the piano – this action is called similar motion. Have you tried to start with the thumbs of both hands and then played to your pinkies and back to your thumbs? This is called contrary motion! No matter what, keep practicing! You will get it!

How to Play the Piano with Both Hands: Be Patient, Keep Trying

You may be wondering about the length of time it takes to learn how to play piano with both hands. There is no single answer to this. Every piece is different, so some may be easier to play with both hands than others. Also, every person’s learning journey to play piano is different, but with time and consistent practice, you will master this skill! Whatever you persist in doing, no matter how hard it is for you at first, will get easier and easier until it feels like it just comes naturally. Piano playing with both hands together can be pretty tricky, so give yourself time to learn to do it. If you think about it, the piano is one of very few instruments that lets you play up to ten notes all at the same time! Remember, break it up into smaller parts, work on one part at a time, and then put it all together. In time, you’ll be surprised at how it gets easier to play the piano with both hands.

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