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does anyone have advice on how to best practice hand independency?

I do have exercises already (simple arpeggios and melody), but I wonder whether there are other things that help, too?

I assume it is essential to have a metronome running?
does counting the rhythm out loud help?
tapping the foot?
are there certain backing tracks that help sticking to the rhythm?

cheers

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Can you give us a better idea what you mean by hand independency? The term means different things to different people. People often think of the music of Bach as requiring hand independency but I think many composers require HI. What kind and what level of music do you play now and wish to play in the future ?

I don't think practice with a metronome has much to do with learning HI.

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Anything by Bach, or if your an absolute beginner - some baroque music by other composers.
Frankly, any piano piece you'll play will require some form of hand independence and it will develop over time. No specific exercises are needed.
What does metronome has to do with it?


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There is a series of books, called Technic is fun, and the first book, Elementary A, has certainly helped me a lot with gaining hand independence.


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When starting a new piece I'd learn the notes at half tempo first and play the beats as accurately as possible. After that play with a metronome to correct inconsistencies.

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Anything by Johann Sebastian Bach, depending on your level.

For beginners this set is also good:
https://imslp.org/wiki/200_Short_Two-Part_Canons,_Op.14_(Kunz,_Konrad_Max)

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Speaking about exercises, you may proceed with playing scales in contrary motion and then scales in thirds and sixths, where the top line is played with your right hand and the bottom line with your left hand.

After that you may proceed to playing scales in polyrhythms (e.g. 4 notes in one hand against 3 notes in the other hand). Playing polyrhythm is the absolutely best exercise for hands independence in my opinion. If scales in polyrhythms seem too boring for you there are Brahms' exercises for polyrhythms which sound nicer.

https://imslp.org/wiki/51_Exercises,_WoO_6_(Brahms,_Johannes)


Beside polyrhythms there is a set of exercises called Safonoff's New Formula designed specifically for developing hands independence. You may try them, too. These are not as easy as they may seem at first sight.

https://imslp.org/wiki/New_Formula_(Safonov%2C_Vasily)

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I vote for Bach too. [for HI and rhythm].

Echoing many great points:

1. Separate hand. Before both hands
2. Slow practice
3. Eg, I am working on Bach’s Prelude in C minor…and I am practicing the LH without looking at the keyboard…a lot of leaps

You can still practice Bach without reaching the performance tempo..you will learn a lot. Bach is a stable.

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SLOW practice. A lot of it. Play slow enough so that there are no wrong notes. Your brain has to be at the same speed as your hands.


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Steady diet of bach


Prelude Gmin op23 no5-Rachmaninoff
Standchen-Schubert/Liszt arr
Sonata Pathetique-Adagio LVB
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Originally Posted by JimF
Steady diet of bach
No. laugh A diet must be diverse. A diet too steady brings malnutrition and depression. wink

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Notice how most responders list Bach as the best for hand independence but I think there are many different interpretations of hand independence and most of those listing Bach don't specify what they mean by HI. Doesn't Beethoven or Chopin or Debussy or Rachmaninov or etc. require hand independence?

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Originally Posted by weightedKey
does anyone have advice on how to best practice hand independency?

I do have exercises already (simple arpeggios and melody), but I wonder whether there are other things that help, too?

I assume it is essential to have a metronome running?
does counting the rhythm out loud help?
tapping the foot?
are there certain backing tracks that help sticking to the rhythm?

cheers

Though each hand must be synchronized with the other one, sticking to the rythm and HI are 2 different skills. For me HI is the ability for each hand to execute its own line, dynamics, phrasing, articulation while keeping it synchronized with the other. So in effect HI is not about independance but about synchronization ability.

In the beginning, i would stay away from complex pieces. The simplest is to practice HI with various scale exercices, for example legato one hand and staccato in the other. Or 2 to 1 rythm, in staccato, or one hand playing arpeggio and the other a scale. And any classical piece can teach you some form of HI, but i find that classical period music is particularly helpful, Diabelli, Dussek, Kulhau, Cimarosa, Clementi, .....


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Notice how most responders list Bach as the best for hand independence but I think there are many different interpretations of hand independence and most of those listing Bach don't specify what they mean by HI. Doesn't Beethoven or Chopin or Debussy or Rachmaninov or etc. require hand independence?
Indeed. Bach is suggested because it's a good way to introduce the student to synchronizing two different lines but other composers also have hand independence challenges of their own. I think Schumann has many good pieces for learning to hear and bring out different lines and they are written in a Romantic idiom, which might prepare you better for the Chopin et. al.

But the point about varying your diet and trying different styles is also true.

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I think Bach inventions are good for learning how to voice left and right hands independently.(if that's what you meant by 'hand independency')


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Originally Posted by ebonyk
SLOW practice. A lot of it. Play slow enough so that there are no wrong notes. Your brain has to be at the same speed as your hands.

+1 !

It's easier to slow down the hands, than to speed up the brain. But eventually, with practice, the brain _does_ speed up.

For true _independence_, Bach is hard to beat. Things like practicing scales in thirds develop hand coordination, and that can be useful. Anna Magdalena Book, 2-part Inventions would be good places to start.

Nobody said that learning classical piano is easy -- be prepared for frustration, in the early stages.


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I think Bach invention are not doable for a beginner and I'm sure many Bach pieces do not teach this skill. I got an alternative composer which is more my taste bur has options which may fit 'hands independency' (whatever you meant by it). My interpretation is voicing left and right hands independently. Maybe something like number 7 you have do learn first. Just an idea.


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I think we should hear back from the OP.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Can you give us a better idea what you mean by hand independency? .....


We don't know the answer to the question. Do we know the level, amout of experience (newish to piano, a couple of years in), etc.? I'm reading about things like polyrhythms and Bach. Hand independence difficulties can be at the level of steady unchanging block chords, in slow tempo, over regular simple melody notes.

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Originally Posted by keystring
I think we should hear back from the OP.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Can you give us a better idea what you mean by hand independency? .....


We don't know the answer to the question. Do we know the level, amout of experience (newish to piano, a couple of years in), etc.? I'm reading about things like polyrhythms and Bach. Hand independence difficulties can be at the level of steady unchanging block chords, in slow tempo, over regular simple melody notes.


WeightedKeys is a self-teaching beginner; started about a month ago


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
WeightedKeys is a self-teaching beginner; started about a month ago

Thank you - that's important to know. We might not even be at a Bach level yet. Other advice coming in might be how to practice (any piece) in order to gain that hand independence in the first place. The whole question of "how to practise". wink

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