With piano, even when you know what to play and can do it with each hand separately, it’s difficult to put both hands together. To help this, we’re going to talk through some steps that, once defined, can bring you success in less time.
Steps toward hands together
1. First, identify and isolate a difficult section in your music.
If the whole song is challenging, break it down into manageable bites. Usually a measure or two is good.
2. Play the right hand part alone and slow.
Focus on consistent fingering technique. This will help you build repeatable muscle memory.
3. Play the right hand at full tempo.
Use a metronome. It may take a few more reps to lock it in, but once you do, you’ll know the part is solid.
4. Play the left hand part alone and slow.
Focus again on consistent fingering technique.
5. Tap the rhythm of both hands together off the keys.
Tap out the rhythm and check for notes that line up. At first, you may use just any fingers, but then work toward using the same fingers you will use on the keys.
6. Play the part with both hands together on the keys.
Play slowly, and focus on precise rhythm.
7. Gradually increase the tempo.
Using the metronome will keep you honest but also give a sense of progress.
8. Play the part faster than the goal tempo.
Building extra or reserve technique will make the actual tempo will feel more relaxed.
9. Play the difficult spot in context.
Add the sections before and after the tough spot. You may need to slow down a bit, then bring the tempo back up.
Adjusting the process
You can experiment with this method. Not every step is necessary for every piece of music you’re learning. However, if you find yourself still having difficulty with one step, it may be that you didn’t quite nail a previous step. Just be honest about what you need to work on, and dig in.
To help you keep track of the steps, I have a really simple PDF that you can download and print out. You’ll find that at ourworshipsound.com/practice.