Easy Piano Exercise for Playing with 2 Hands

Lisa Witt  /  Hand Independence / Feb 4

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Playing with both hands is one of the trickiest skills to master when you’re learning how to play piano. People often say their brain knows what to do, but their hands won’t listen!

Hand independence exercises can be frustrating, so in this lesson, I’ll show you five exercises that are super simple yet effective. And they sound good! You’ll be playing a pattern that sounds like a delightful minuet 🙂

Let’s get started!


Exercise #1

The first exercise we’ll do is super simple. It’s just the first five notes of the G scale with a lift (staccato) at the end.

This is essentially a five-finger G scale. It may be easy to grasp, but do spend some time practicing it. Use even pressure and make sure your notes are consistent and precise before moving on to the next exercise.

Exercise #2

The next exercise is a gentle level up from the first. Here, you’ll speed up the first four notes and repeat the top note.

Put on sheet music, it’ll look like this:

Turning those first four quarter notes into eighth notes makes them twice as fast. And adding the extra D gives the phrase a sense of completeness.

If you’re new at reading music, you can learn about rhythm notation here.

Exercise #3

Now we’ll start making changes to one of our hands.

In this exercise, play the same thing as before with your right hand. But your left hand will only play the first three notes.

Your hands are playing completely different rhythms now, so if this feels odd, that’s totally normal!

Practice this pattern a few times and get it down pat before moving to the next exercise.

Exercise #4

For our fourth exercise, we’ll add another measure of music to our pattern!

On your right hand, you’ll play an extra three notes. This will require you to switch to your second finger on the second D.

No hand positions changes are required on your left hand, but you’ll also add a few extra notes here! These extra notes make this pattern sound more like a song than an exercise.

Final Exercises

Finally, we can add more complexity by changing our articulations. This will force your brain to work harder, but it’s so worth it!

For example, try playing everything staccato.

Then, try playing staccato on one hand and legato on the other.

Finally, experiment with dynamics. Play everything softly, everything loudly. For added complexity, play one hand loudly and one hand softly. It’s a challenge!

Take these exercises step by step. Then, gradually add complexity. It’ll help you develop hand independence and take your piano playing from good to great!

If you’re a Pianote member, hop on over to our Member’s Area and practice this with our practice-along feature. If you’re not a member yet, you can still download the PDFs for this exercise for free.

Happy practicing!

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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