Hand Independence For Beginners

Lisa Witt  /  Hand Independence / Jan 3

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Hand Independence is a big deal when it comes to learning the piano. One of the questions I hear most often as a piano teacher is:

“How do I get my hands to do different things at the same time?!”

This applies to everything from scales to more complicated skills that involve rhythmic variations. The answer is that it is a work in progress, that you will never really arrive at a place of independence but rather continuously develop and improve your skills. The closest thing I can compare this to is riding a bike. At first, it seems impossible but once you figure it out, it seems impossible that you ever hard a hard time with it to begin with.

So to get you started we’ve got some great exercises for you to master. These are simple enough for a beginner and will help you to get to the other side of the challenge so you have an aha! moment when you master it and feel the joy that comes with accomplishing a goal. Once you’ve mastered the exercises, try them in new keys and with different rhythmic variations.


The notes in these exercises are based off the first five notes of the C scale. The goal here isn’t to have you playing all over the piano, it is to have you playing different things between the hands. Removing questions about which notes to play will really allow you to focus on those independent feelings. If you can play a five-finger C scale, you can do this. Each exercise presents a variation of the scale with the hands playing different rhythms/moving at different speeds. Once you master it one way, the hands switch roles which is more difficult than it looks. The secret is to be able to have them switch roles without missing a beat.

Can you do it? Try it out!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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