Learning Piano frustrating... any tips? [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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09-30-2005, 03:03 PM
Please tell me it gets easier, it is almost impossible for me to play one thing in my left and a different part in my right. It feels like my brain can't unlock or I just don't have the coordination for it. It's frustrating though. And reading the Grand Staff.... :x argh!!!! (stupid bass cleff)

09-30-2005, 04:35 PM
...it is almost impossible for me to play one thing in my left and a different part in my right.No it is not. Do you play sax with one or two hands?

You can't play piano with two independent hands now. Just keep at it. It won't come overnight. It just depends on whether you are really dedicated to learning piano or not. Patience and perserverance.

09-30-2005, 05:13 PM
Patience and perserverance.
I know that is the key. I just have the hardest time playing the rhythm in one and the melody in the other. Like my brain just won't function properly. As with everything though, it takes time and practice. I know, I know, I know...

09-30-2005, 05:49 PM
Not sure what your working from but I would recommend Alfred's Piano methods for adults. Pretty systematic approach and starts off with pretty basic LH / RH stuff and builds. I was working through it until my cheap Yamaha piano's D key went on strike and I got frustrated and quit.

09-30-2005, 05:54 PM
Not sure what your working from but I would recommend Alfred's Piano methods for adults. Pretty systematic approach and starts off with pretty basic LH / RH stuff and builds. I was working through it until my cheap Yamaha piano's D key went on strike and I got frustrated and quit.
That's what I'm using. Im taking a class at my college and that's the require text. Just on my skills assesment I did terribly. I do simple songs where the rhythm isn't too difficult. But, I really need to learn this bass clef. It takes me quite awhile to see what I'm looking at. I figure if I play some music in bass clef on my sax that should help somewhat.

10-01-2005, 02:44 AM

10-01-2005, 12:12 PM
What talent you have can be cultivated and unlocked by persistent practice and an unwillingness to avoid thinking on two levels at once.Thomas, maybe it's the weather or the time, but I have no idea what this phrase means, so could you rephrase this for me? I don't understand this sentance so I can't, then, really follow through on the point you're making.

So, if I want to overcome my unwillingness, would that, then, mean that I should be willing?

And if I should be willing to avoid certain thinking, then does this mean that I should be willing to avoid thinking on two levels at once?

Or distilling it further, if I am willing to avoid thinking on two levels, that I should actually be thinking on two levels at once...or on only one level at a time?

:? Thanks

10-01-2005, 12:44 PM

10-02-2005, 12:14 AM
Try learning Heart and Soul (with improvisations) in the key of Eb. It will get your two hands working independently of each other.

Then you can try Night Train (blues) ...

10-03-2005, 06:27 PM
That's what I'm using. Im taking a class at my college and that's the require text. Just on my skills assesment I did terribly. I do simple songs where the rhythm isn't too difficult. But, I really need to learn this bass clef. It takes me quite awhile to see what I'm looking at. I figure if I play some music in bass clef on my sax that should help somewhat.

Well this advice is coming from a self study piano drop out, :D but my suggestion would be to just try to learn the left hand part on it's own for starters until it becomes internalized and automatic then go back and add the right hand. I think for us sax players, the right hand is part is going to come more naturally to us. If you can internalize the left hand part first (i.e play it so it's in your fingers and you don't have to think much about it), then over half the work is done. Sometimes you have to just work one measure at a time - LH first, RH second put them together.

12-21-2005, 12:13 PM
I'd start by chords. When I taught myself chord-based piano, I began with two hand chord progressions. For example,

Move from chords C, E, G

Left hand: C G C G E A E A G D G D

Right hand: C EG C EG E F#A E F#A G BD G BD

Take your time if you need and slowly speed up. Work with different chords and change your tempo or patterns as you can

A more difficult progression, based on the same chords would be:

Left hand: C E G E C E G E E A F# A E A F# A


Right hand: C E E C C E E C E A A E E A A E C EG E F#A E F#A G B B D G B B D

Give yourself little exercises.

Then move on to simple pop songs. Lucky by Britney Spears can be picked up without too much trouble. The left hand repeats A B C C C B A A . . .

Right hand plays melody. This song works with taking turns and might help you get used to concentrating on two different routines at once.

Good luck!

12-21-2005, 11:47 PM
'Til recently, I only played piano.

The suggestion to learn each hand separately at first before trying to put them together may well help, but the big thing I think you need to do is find easier music--so easy that you CAN play both hands together. Start with kids books. Once you get the simple stuff rolling, you'll overcome your sense that you "can't do it" and then you'll progress with less frustration. Good luck!

12-22-2005, 07:28 AM
I was looking around on sheetmusicplus.com last night and they have a lot of easy piano music. Just look up the keyword "easy" :)

They even had Cats the musical!

02-05-2006, 08:09 PM
I second jive's advice. I took piano lessons for about 8 years, and it is important to start on pieces with an easy melody in the right hand, and simple chords in the left hand.

02-05-2006, 08:20 PM
Joel -

I'm sure this has been said, but to me, the key is practicing the right and left hand parts separately, and then putting them together.


05-18-2006, 06:44 AM
learning to play jazz piano is alot simpler than slassical music. With jazz just learn how to play the chords with ur left hand and then u can funk out witht eh right hand. OTherwise for classical stuff u MUST MUST MUST learn how to play each part with both hands well before putting it together.

08-26-2007, 05:38 PM
Hello there. For my recent studies with piano i have found out that montunos (especially the sincompated rhythms of merengue for example) can help you acquire independance in both hands more easily. Since these rhythms are quick and really difficult (since they have a lot of sincopation) it trains your brain to stick to such things. If you want more information or some midis or example of these, or just about any help when learning piano, just send either an e-mail or private message. Also I recommend you read on pianofundamentals.com, where they have a really good book (the only one probably) on practice methods to make playing piano more efficient. One of them that I also use and they mention in the book and was also mentioned here is that you can practice one hand, then the other and then put them together. Also, practice the most difficult sections first.
However, playin piano should not be that frustrating really, it is really fun to me. You can also try and accompany songs if you have a keyboard... it makes it a lot of fun. Don't be shy, experiment, play (both with the music and ideas) and just generally enjoy. There is no reason why learning piano should be painful or frustrating.

01-06-2009, 09:09 PM
I totally agree with you. I think the hardest part is by learning saxophone as my first instrument my hands have taught themselves on a one note and one rhythm basis which makes piano all the harder to play. I really want to learn to play piano though. It's fun even just messing around on it. The piano is the equivalent of a ten piece orchestra, which makes it more versatile and fun.

01-12-2009, 02:00 AM
I am currently in the process of playing piano, and trust me it gets easier. thats when you move on to even harder things! :-P
Someone talked about jazz being easier the classical, i disagree but thats just because i have a difficult time with jazz.

I have to learn in... unusual ways since i play by ear and read notes, but am not very strong in my ear nor strong at base clef, but you will get better! One thing that has helped me with base clef, is find one note that you recognize, then get used to going from there. I KNOW where the C is, and i KNOW where the two G's are. So from there on, i can find them. granted for sometime it took a while, but i can associate it from those 3 notes.

My piano teacher always reccomends learning to "think". or another way to say it, is that everyone thinks about piano and what they are doing differently. what you need to know is how you are going to think about something. A lot of time with me, i just have to tell myself NOT the think it through. Many times my mind is messing me up or slowing me down. my fingers can do it, but my brain interferes(spelling?)

Get easy music and play it all the way through. then get a little harder.

another thing that really helps me is when i have a "hard" (meaning difficult for me) Rhythm, i go and mark the down beats and see what notes i hit with both hands at the same time. then the others seem to fall into place. (having to do this on Moonlight Sonata)

and my other problem is i take all my music WAY to fast. Slow down the tempo. my teacher is always telling me to stop and think the next phrase through. But don't Stop and say "I can't do it" and walk away. If you do have to walk away, COME BACK a few minutes later and get through it even if it seems like you are stumbling around in the dark. just get through it! and next time it will get better...

Or another thing that she reccomends is to piece it. Take phrase and learn one hand at a time, then put them together. (some teachers would have a fit about this, but as i said, i learn differently than most) or if you have problems with one hand in a song, play as far as you can with both hands, and then drop one or the other out and continue to play untill you feel you can add the other back in. then close the gap little by little the more you play it.

Hope that helps. And all you teachers that are gasping at the "horrible" ways she is teaching me, just remember it works for me. There is no other way. i have tried...

01-12-2009, 02:49 AM
Get a fakebook and learn some chords to get yourself warmed up and hopefully some relatively quick positive self-feedback with the experience of playing. This will at least get your fingers used to the keyboard.

As far as the grand staff - be patient. Your brain has to get wired for it and that takes nothing less than time and practice.

01-12-2009, 03:27 PM
Any tips? Yes.. a large hammer :scratch:

06-06-2009, 10:03 AM
Hey, if you're having troubles reading music (including bass clef), you should try this game I've created to improve sight reading skills. Because of the pressure the game puts on you, great improvements in reading arise.

If you want to try it, I've posted it on my blog.

Hope it helps!

06-06-2009, 03:54 PM
Concentrate on short sections at a time.
Practice hands separately.
Take time to practice on a table top so you don't have to concentrate on notes, but motions of playing.

06-16-2009, 02:01 AM
I have been playing the piano since I was 7 years old, but when I was in my teenage years, I began to drift away from the piano. I still played the piano, but it became more of a hobbyist's perspective. Doing this quickly diminished a great deal of my technique and especially the synchronization of my left and right hands when reading sheet music.

Earlier this year, I joined a contemporary band as a saxophone player. My band members heard me play the piano and convinced me to play it too, as they, quote, "loved my tone and technique." While this was flattering, I was worried, as the years of "hobby-playing" have quickly diminished much of, as mentioned, my technique and the synchronization of my hands when reading sheet music.

Fortunately, upon searching for excellent piano books, I discovered Alfred's Adult All-In-One Course. It is one of the few books on the market to offer a thorough repertoire of lessons, theories and techniques in one book. It also gradually moves from topic-to-topic, allowing you to fully learn and absorb each lesson with ease, comfort and confidence.

Though I am nowhere near the level of my former self, this book has truly helped me "resynchronize" both of my hands when reading sheet music and even remember a lot of the techniques I have forgotten through the years. Thanks to this book, I have successfully been able to practice with the band using the piano at one time, giving me new hope and solidified confidence that I may not only reach my former self, but surpass it through ample time and continuous practice.

06-16-2009, 02:15 AM
Some parts of Hindemith's Elementary Training for Musicians might help. The book has many exercises where you tap with one hand and play another rhythm with the other. Then you switch the hands. If that doesn't help it, it would make your time and rhythmic skills improve by a lot anyway so either way its good for something. Oh and don't be fooled by the name of the book. There is little elementary about it.

10-21-2009, 07:58 PM
When I was a youngster I took piano lessons for two years but was pulled away by the baseball field. Last summer I decided to try to take up the piano again...even got a copy of my old Third Grade Thompson book. But I just couldn't make it work. Recently I came across an item called "Sheet Music On A Stick" and my re-learning is back on again. This is a small USB drive and when you plug it into your computer you get all the sheet music for the album...in this case 127 pages of Chopin Nocturnes and Impromptus and 203 minutes of an MP3 audio file. It is great what you can do with this. If you press "play" the notes light up across the screen and you can hear the music. You can mute either the right or left hand...you can slow the tempo...you can even change the key. I think that anyone who is trying to re-learn to play piano should know about this.

10-22-2009, 08:03 PM
Use the right methods to work on the right materials and techniques at the appropriate times for your stage of development. A good teacher and material(s) with the right content and sequence will get you 1/2 way there -- the rest is you paying attention and remembering, training yourself a little bit more every day (this is doing, over and over again, not just thinking about it), and working hard and long at it even when it's difficult and makes you tired, bored or frustrated (though it's important to limit the frustration by making the assignments APPROPRIATE, as already mentioned above). You have to come up with the motivation for this -- reward, or aversion won't do it -- in the long run it's an intrinsic thing.

12-10-2009, 01:54 AM
Practice the parts independently a whole lot. Once you know each part on its own ridiculously well, they should fit together easier.