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Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

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Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby jellyjim » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:30 pm

Hello

I've resumed piano study over the last couple of years (had lessons as a child, briefly) and what a wonderful process it is. As an adult I get that it requires practice and practice I do. Low and behold, if you practice you improve! Who would have that it was as simple as that?!
:headbang:

I tend to learn pieces, both hands at once. I think I've tried learning left hand first and then right hand second but it seems like you have to learn it a third time with both hands so I figured, just skip to both hands.

What are the pros and cons of LH then RH then both vs. just both? Is one correct?

I've been working on Autumn Leaves with my teacher, chords in left hand and melody in right hand. We're now using it to look at bass in left hand and extended chords in left hand. I've found that, particularly for bass, I didn't 'know' the melody without the chords. It felt like I had to learn the melody all over again.

So perhaps there is something to, learn LH then RH then both?
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:18 pm

I had a very formal musical education and was taught from a very early age to learn the hands separately until I started to develop muscle memory for the part. Start at a significantly slower tempo than the desired final result and work up to speed.

When practicing, accuracy is better than speed.

Then, once you can do both separately without thinking about it, start to put them together. Again, start at a much slower tempo and work your way up.

This way you avoid learning mistakes. It takes a while, but the results will be worth it if you have the patience.
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby jellyjim » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:39 pm

I think I get impatient. “Well I know the left hand pretty well and the right’s coming on so let’s put them together!”

But I seem to end up only learning the “together” thoroughly.

Do you think it’s like learning three things though? Or is that not the right way to look at it?
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby CS70 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:40 pm

Not on piano, but on guitar - I always learn both hands at the same time. And when I sing, I practice all three at the same time! It's irrelevant if it's my music or someone else's.

"Slow" is the key tough.
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:48 pm

To cite from my own experience (I did grade 8 at the age of 15), when I learned a number of the 48 preludes and fugues along the way, I'd find a natural break in the piece and spend
a couple of weeks of 3+ hours a day on each hand individually up to that break. After a month (or more if necessary) I'd be able to play either hand fluently in the dark without even having to think about it.

Then I'd start putting them together. It was painful because immediately I'd feel I couldn't play a thing any more, (but it's easy to fall back to playing a single hand again now and then to cheer yourself up).

After a couple more weeks it'd be getting there and then it was just a case of playing the piece, slowly at first, and building up to speed. During this process I'd also be working on the next section of the piece with the hands individually.

This technique is also scalable. For organ pieces, I'd be doing exactly as above, but adding in the pedal part as a 'third hand'. Left hand, right hand, both hands, pedals solo, left hand + pedals, right hand + pedals, both hands + pedals.

Etc.

There's no shortcut that I know of if you want to do it properly. It took me about 9 months (at 3-4 hours per day) to get the Brandenburg concerto in D major up to the point it was performable in public.

The upside is that you learn things so thoroughly that 35 years on I can still play a few pieces of music I learned in the mid 80s and have hardly touched since.
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Folderol » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:50 pm

On a keyboard I generally do both together, unless one part is especially tricky, then I'll drop down to one hand on that (whichever one it is) and go back to both hands when I'm past that bit. When I can get through that without too many mistakes, I'll start trying to go right through with both hands.

However, I don't learn many complete pieces these days. I tend to get just enough done single handed to make a recording, then multi-track.
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:04 pm

I learn the left-hand part with my right hand and record the MIDI into Cubase, then repeat for the right-hand part.

Now on to the next 8 bars...
:lol:
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:05 pm

The Elf wrote:I learn the left-hand part with my right hand and record the MIDI into Cubase, then on to the right-hand part...
:lol:
Darnit, I knew there had to be a shortcut somewhere :mrgreen:
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby IAA » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:26 pm

I learn the left-hand part with my right hand and record the MIDI into Cubase, then repeat for the right-hand part.

I nearly spilt my tea reading that!!

I think Eddie has nailed what I would say (and what I was taught) and Elf what I sometimes do if I’m too impatient :headbang:

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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:47 pm

I took it one step further when I first got midi and Cubase, play it slowly with the right hand and then speed it up in the computer :blush:

I am a guitar player though and my keyboard skills are limited to C (so play everything in C or Am and transpose later) and RH only. I am trying to learn to do it properly (well, at least a bit more properly) though
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:47 pm

I always wondered what the black keys were for.
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Folderol » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:13 pm

blinddrew wrote:I always wondered what the black keys were for.
How else would you know which white keys were which?
Obvious innit :bouncy:
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:23 pm

Folderol wrote:
blinddrew wrote:I always wondered what the black keys were for.
How else would you know which white keys were which?
Obvious innit :bouncy:
I can't be the only one who writes the letters on surely?


Can I?
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby CS70 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:20 pm

blinddrew wrote:I always wondered what the black keys were for.

Can always ask them:

Image
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby MarkOne » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:53 am

The Elf wrote:I learn the left-hand part with my right hand and record the MIDI into Cubase, then repeat for the right-hand part.

Now on to the next 8 bars...
:lol:

And when you get to that really flashy widdly Moog solo, record the MIDI 30BPM slower and then change the tempo back...

:oops:
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:14 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:Start at a significantly slower tempo than the desired final result and work up to speed.

When practicing, accuracy is better than speed.

Lots of useful advice here, but perhaps the most important of all is that contained in Eddy's post above.

It's all about establishing new neural pathways, slowly and surely. Once they are locked into your brain at low speed you can start speeding up, but not before.

Get locked into that groove and anything can (and will) happen! :thumbup:


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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Dave B » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:26 pm

I learn both at once - otherwise, your left thumb gets tired halfway through the piece. It can seriously take it out of you wiggling the pitch and mod wheels ...

Hang on ... you're talking about playing the _keys_ with both hands ..... ah ..... ignore me ... nothing to see here .... move along

:D
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Re: Learn left hand then right hand or both together?

Postby Terrible.dee » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:49 am

If I understand the question properly, then...LEARN TOGETHER 100%

Here's a tip: Practice WHAT IT IS YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO DO, don't start separating the hands, your brain will start laying neural pathways that brand them as totally separate things, so later when you put them together, your brain will have to UN-LEARN the entire way it treated the separate parts.

Break things down, sure, but don't CHANGE THE GAME, if you do, you will be learning something else entirely.
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