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Left, Right, Left
October 03, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This is not a lesson on marching but it IS a lesson on keeping time. Rhythm is the one area of music when, if not executed with the right feel, can categorically destroy any and all beauty in your piano playing.

So, give this a try.

Sit down at a table or a desk. With your left hand, keep a steady pulse by tapping the edge of the table. Now add the right hand doing the exact same rhythm. These are your quarter notes. Keep the quarter notes going with your left hand but do eighth notes with your right hand. So that's two taps per one tap of the left hand. Next do triplets with your right hand so that's three taps per one tap in the left hand. Finally, do four taps per one tap in the left hand. You are playing sixteenth notes now.

All this time, the quarter notes that you are doing with your left hand should be totally even, unstopping, and not influenced in any way by what the right hand is doing. It may take a little practice!

The next step is to switch hands so that the right hand is now playing the quarter notes while the left hand does what the right hand was doing (quarters, eighths, triplets and sixteenths). Are you able to keep the right hand steady and independent of the left hand?

This is a really good exercise for developing basic coordination between the left and the right hand with playing the piano. If you want to add interesting bass lines, rhythmic patterns and be able to maintain a melody, it's a good idea to do these exercises. Kind of like rubbing your belly and patting your head!

Here is a new feature of eNotes. Submit any question about piano playing and I will choose a couple of them to answer that I feel are the most relevant. Just click on the this link and type in your question. So easy.

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That's all for now. Happy Harvest!!
Debbie Gruber, B.M., M.M. President
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