Should You Learn to Play The Piano One Hand at a Time?

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Welcome to, I’m Robert Estrin. The question today is, “Should You Learn to Play The Piano One Hand at a Time?” I have seen elementary piano method books that go on and on with just right hand alone, then the left-hand alone. So the question is, is this a good way to learn the piano?

I would say with very few exceptions this is not a good approach.

What are the exceptions? First of all, very young children. Let’s say you have a four-year-old champing at the bit to learn piano, but they’ve got tiny hands and a short attention span. You don’t want to say, “No, you may not play the piano.” So maybe you show them how to do some simple things with one hand to let them see what it’s like. But anybody who’s really studying the piano, unless they have hand problems which is another issue, must delve into playing hands together from the very beginning of studying the piano.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t practice hands separately.

As a matter of fact, it’s an essential technique on the piano. That’s how you learn music, mastering a small section at a time hands separately, then putting the hands together. It’s kind of like if you want to learn how to ride a bicycle and you try with one leg. You miss the whole point of the experience! The most intrinsic difficulty of the piano is being able to play the hands together. Therefore, you must not avoid it. You need to face it! How? By practicing intelligently. Take small chunks, practice each hand separately and put them together slowly until you get the feel for it. If the music is simple enough, you should be able to play hands together. And as you mature, you’ll be able to play more and more complex music hands together, always relying upon hands separate work when necessary. So, that’s a simple answer to this. Hands separate on the piano doesn’t have much relevancy in my opinion beyond being a valuable practice technique in order to put the hands together more easily.

I’m Robert Estrin here at, Your Online Piano Store.
Please feel free to contact me with any piano related questions for future videos!