Tips for Playing Both Hands Together on the Piano

Playing the piano with both hands together, is considerably more difficult than just right-hand playing. But no matter how much you enjoy playing melodies with the right and left hands separately, the time comes when you have to get these two great friends together.

You have several things to keep in mind when you attempt to play songs hands-together:

  • When playing music from the grand staff, read the notes vertically (bottom to top) before moving on horizontally (left to right).

  • Play the song a couple of times with the right hand by itself. Then play the song a few times with the left hand only. When you’re confident with the notes for each hand, you can try playing the song hands-together.

  • Play slowly at first and speed up the tempo as you become more comfortable with the song.

  • Be patient and calm.

  • Ask listeners to leave for a while and allow you a chance to practice. Invite them in for the concert after you feel good about your playing.

Start reading from the grand staff by passing a melody between your hands. “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” starts in the left hand, and the right hand takes over as it climbs into a higher range:

The melody can carry from left to right - hands, that is.
The melody can carry from left to right - hands, that is.

Go over the note names once or twice before you play in order to get comfortable recognizing all the notes and switching between the bass and treble clefs. Then you can make an easier transition to the piano.

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