4 Tips on How to Play the Piano with Both Hands

Having Trouble Playing Piano with Two Hands?

Have you ever tried to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time? This activity may drive you crazy if you can’t get it right.  And for the beginning piano player trying to coordinate the left and right hand together, the feeling might be pretty similar.

Our hands and feet have a tendency to mirror the same movements, so the act of distinguishing two separate motions can confuse your brain. You may have mastered “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” but once you get to the trickier tunes, you’ll be facing passages in which your two hands are doing two completely different things.

Your brain might fight with you at first, but with enough practice, dealing with contrasting rhythms and fingerings will get easier over time. Not convinced? Here are some tips that can help when you’re learning how to play the piano with both hands simultaneously.

1. Improve your sight reading skills.

Before you even attempt a difficult passage, make sure your note reading skills are up to par. If you can’t distinguish each note on the staff quickly, take a step back and master that first.  Trust us – it will make the process a lot easier!

2. Practice each hand separately, then put them together.

Begin by practicing each hand separately.  You might be tempted just to memorize the phrase, but it will help you in the long run if you’re consciously reading along with the music as you go.

When you’re ready to practice with both hands together, don’t be afraid to slow things down. Try reading each measure vertically as opposed to horizontally – this will help you fuse the two lines and start to feel which notes go together. Using a metronome can also help as you take it measure by measure.

3. Relax!

The coordination will come a lot easier when you’re not stressing out about playing with both hands.  Instead of worrying, try clearing your mind and letting it flow.  Most of all, trust in your abilities.  And of course: practice, practice, practice!

Related: Piano Practice Tips

4. Visualize Playing with Both Hands.

Watch or imagine yourself playing the piano. Picture yourself pressing down the keys correctly with both hands. Visualization is a powerful practice method that performers use to correctly execute difficult moves or tasks.

Lastly, get help from a certified piano teacher at TakeLessons Live, or find a private piano teacher near you for 1-on-1 instruction. No matter what, keep practicing, and your brain will eventually adapt.

Comments

Samantha

April 25, 2015 at 9:09am

I need help playing with two hands while I can play by ear

Suzy S.

April 27, 2015 at 7:32am

Hi Samantha -- that can take some practice! Tip #2 can definitely help with playing by ear as well -- work on the right hand first until you get it right, THEN try the left hand separately, then try them together. Your piano teacher may also have tips and exercises he/she can recommend!

Lexi

May 22, 2015 at 3:27am

Hi,I need help playing the piano with 2 hands how will I do it?

Suzy S.

May 22, 2015 at 10:13am

Hi Lexi! Tip #2 helped me the most when I was learning piano -- really taking the time to separate the hands, practicing each part individually... then trying (slowly!) with both until you get it right. If you're taking piano lessons with a teacher, ask him/her for additional exercises!

leslie landberg

December 21, 2016 at 12:59am

Thanks, that is just what I needed to know. I failed miserably the last time and got migraines. At least this sounds like a sensible way to try and I can relax and enjoy the process. I might just surprise myself. At the very least, I bet I will get better at reading.

Brittany Myers

December 21, 2016 at 4:48am

Hello Leslie, You're welcome! Hopefully, the tips help to promote learning AND enjoyment!

Lily Southwick

October 17, 2017 at 10:16pm

Whenever is try to use both of my hands it's like one will stop doing what it's doing and let the other do whatever and then do whatever. It's like they refuse to work together. Any tips on how I can fix that?

Brian Eaton

October 29, 2017 at 8:08pm

I think these three tips are helpful, at least for me <3 ! Thank you so much for sharing. Playing piano is totally new for me, I've just tried to play it for one month, so there're many problem that I have. One of them is playing chord, and another is playing with both hands. Now I think I can play better using your tips. Once again, thank you <3 <3

Comments are closed

Need help learning Piano?

Try one of our most popular online Piano classes for free

Intro to Reading Piano Chord Symbols
Do you want to know what those letters and numbers are above the music you are learning? In this class, find out how to read some basic chord symbols, and how you can use them to learn music. - Find out what those symbols mean - Learn the basics of playing the chords those symbols represent - Simplify chords to make learning more fun
Easy Peasy Piano for Kids and Adults
This class is meant for people who have no or very little knowledge in piano. You will learn and practice the layout of the piano, naming of notes, posture, simple note playing, note length, beats, fingerings, simple songs with instructor Stephen B. We will work together as a group or the individual needs of the student. We will also work on recurring issues if an individual student or the group needs time to discuss it. Requirements are a 88/76/61 key keyboard or piano, listening, being patient, practicing, short assignments, and asking questions. (If you register and decided not to show please cancel your registration as soon as you can so I can know ahead of time how many people will attend)
Easy Ear Training and Solfege Along with Piano
In this class, we will discuss how to listen and play the piano while singing notes and major, and different intervals. You will also learn basic songs and intervals in the key of C, (e.g. Twinkle Little Star, Joy to the World, etc) and sing notes and intervals to match the pitch with DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI, DO phrases. Stephen will also play intervals, rhythms and notes with his camera closed and students will practice distinguishing whether it is high or low, if it is in 4ths, 5ths, 3rds, 2nd notes, a chord, etc. (If you register and decided not to show please cancel your registration as soon as you can so I can know ahead of time how many people will attend)
Ear Training and Solfege Along with Piano
In this class, we will discuss how to listen and play the piano while singing notes in Melodic, Natural and Harmonic minor scales, minor, diminished, augmented chords, intervals. Phrygian, Lydian, Aeolian, Whole Tone, Blues, and other scales. We will discuss the syllables of minor Do, Di, Re, Ri, Mi, Fa, Fi, Sol, Si, La, Li, Ti, Ma, Ta, La, etc. and learn songs and intervals in other keys with Do, Di, Re, Ri, Mi, Fa, Fi, Sol, Si, La, Li, Ti, Ma, Ta, La phrases. Stephen will also play intervals, rhythms and notes with his camera closed and students will practice distinguishing whether it is high or low, 4ths, 5ths, 3rds, 2nd notes, a chord, etc. (If you register and decided not to show please cancel your registration as soon as you can so I can know ahead of time how many people will attend)
Easy Peasy Piano for Kids and Adults
This class is meant for people who have no or very little knowledge in piano. You will learn and practice the layout of the piano, naming of notes, posture, simple note playing, note length, beats, fingerings, simple songs with instructor Stephen B. We will work together as a group or the individual needs of the student. We will also work on recurring issues if an individual student or the group needs time to discuss it. Requirements are a 88/76/61 key keyboard or piano, listening, being patient, practicing, short assignments, and asking questions. (If you register and decided not to show please cancel your registration as soon as you can so I can know ahead of time how many people will attend)
Christmas Songs for Everyone
Everyone can learn to play songs for the Holidays. In this beginner class, you will learn to play some Christmas songs using both hands. In this class, you will learn songs like: Jingle Bells Silent Night Upon the Rooftop and many more
Secret Hack to Learning Every Piano Chord in Minutes
After teaching myself piano by ear and memorization, I've learned some of the quickest techniques (hacks in my opinion) to learning piano as quickly as possible! (Aka learning almost any song you want - just by following the chords!) Simple and easy to remember!
An Intro to Reading Music and Finger Exercises
Finger numbers are one of the building blocks of piano for beginners. This online piano class will dive into why and how to use them. You’ll discuss reading music and learn a few finger exercises to help you begin playing songs. We’ll also get to apply all you’ve learned by playing the classic song “Stand by me” in three different ways!