I am pretty new to piano, and I am working through the Alfred books to get a start. I seem to have progressed pretty quickly through most of the first volume, but this one issue is preventing me from advancing: I seem to have terrible trouble playing sepperate rhythms with either hand simaltaneously. I can play any of the exercises up to that point which feature left and right hand striking keys in sync, or one hand playing a melody, for instance, and the other hand playing chords that occur on the same beat or multiples of the same beat, but when I needed to play a song that involved playing notes with the left hand that occured on offbeats of what the right was playing, I had major issues.
An example of what the problem is:
piece is in 3/4, and left hand plays chords that always occur as quarter notes, so three quarter note chords to all measures; right hand needs to play a measure at same time consisting of dotted quarter note, followed by eighth note, followed by quarter.
For some reason, my left hand will not cooperate with this request. I can play in good time with the left hand for the full song, until I reach this measure, with the eighth note offbeat from the chords, at which point my left will play in the same rhythm as the right is playing.
I think the skill I need to develop is being able to play a constant rhythm with my left hand, regardless of what rhythm my right hand needs to be playing at the moment- sort of like a constant baseline that is not effected by the complex rhytms of a melody. I have tried a few different methods to attack the problem: I have tried playing ultra slow, playing the left as only one note, just trying to keep the rhythm contrary to the right, and others, but no improvement in almost a week's time.
Anyone have any ideas for how to develop this necessary rhythmic hand independence?
Another suggestion would be to play eighth notes with your left hand (instead of quarter notes) while playing with the right hand. Then after doing it several times try to eliminate playing the 8th note on the & of 2.
When you get that down you can eliminate all the &'s in the left hand.
The goal is to get your brain to feel the 8th pulse at all times but not respond to it except when you want to.
play slower...the separate co-ordination between hands is not to be expected immediately, but if you progress into the grade 3 and 4 books, you will have it.
I can remember a similar situation as a younger man trying to play a guitar - I was horrific at it. I played piano player, trumpet, and bass all very well...but guitar I was pure garbage. After about 4 years playing bass with a deent singer/guitarist I was playing an acoustic guitar one day and realized I was strumming in a consistent pattern and changing the chords cleanly on the proper beats.
As for particular music on piano that helps the LH/RH coordination and independence, a good friend once suggested "just get a book of Bach and tool on it". I thik it was after I had injured my left pinkee pretty badly and could not comfortably play my pop-style left hand block octaves. I needed something to work on the exact same thing - inependence between my hands.