It is often extremely beneficial to study each hand separately before bringing them together… for at least five reasons:
- The music in each hand has its own hierarchy of parts and wholes that may need to be mastered separately. Playing each hand separately allows you to use your limited attention to focus on and study each hand at a deeper level than if you tried to play both hands at once.
- The whole (hands together) is easier to learn if the parts (hands separate) have already been mastered.
- Each hand can be thought of as separate instrument or voice in the overall mix, thus giving you the opportunity to explore the musical importance of each voice on it own.
- Each hand will typically have a different technical choreography that will be easier to master if you focus on one hand at a time.
- Knowing each part gives you the security of knowing the piece in more than one way. You will develop the conviction and confidence that can only come from knowing both the trees (hands separate) and forest (hands together).
Study-Practice Tip: When study-practicing one hand at a time, do not let your other hand fall asleep. Use your other hand to fluidly tap out the time in your lap. This will expose any timing problems you might have and work wonders for developing world-class rhythm.