How can I play a new piece with both hands together without pausing?
You probably know the reason for the pausing: fluency. It’s just like speaking a language. You need to know what to say in order to speak fluently.
Piano playing is just the same. Many players, regardless of their skill level, tend to pause and stop with pieces in certain sections due to lack of fluency. Often, lack of fluency is due to lack of practice on that specific spot.
If you can identify which areas you need to practice more, simply isolate that part and practice! Another good idea when learning a new piece is to listen to recordings of the piece. Some people advise against listening to recordings of other pianists in order to avoid imitating others’ styles. Think about it, what would help you learn a language faster: listening to someone speak the language often or by speaking your own language only?
In fact, we learn language by listening and imitating. How can you expect a person to master piano playing without listening to others’ playing? One learns the most/best by observing more advanced players playing the same piece.
Second step in learning a new piece is analyzing the musical piece. Most players avoid this step as it is time consuming and uninteresting. I sincerely believe if one is to take their playing to the next level, enough time needs to be spent on understanding the structure and nature of the piece. Things to consider when analyzing a piece include the following:
1. Key and meter of the piece. Is the piece in a major key
or minor key
? Does it switch keys in the middle of the piece? What key does it switch to? What is the meter? Is it a 3/4 or 4/4 or other?
2. Patterns of the piece – what are the musical patterns of the piece? Do certain bars/measures repeat? How is certain section different from beginning and ending? What piano chords
are used to harmonize the piece? Once you’ve gone through the analysis, you can then break down the whole piece into manageable sections to practice. Here is where we would use the 7/20 rule. Practice each small section 7 times and no more than 20 minutes. If you notice that certain sections repeats (some repeat a few time), you only need to practice one section in order to have tackled many sections of the piece.
Many experts agree that essentially 100% of piano technique
development is accomplished by practicing hands separately. However, if you feel that the section is manageable and you can accomplish the same fluency with practicing both hands
together, you may go with it.
Do not try to develop finger/hand technique hands together for technically challenging piece as that is much more difficult, time consuming, and generate undesirable tones. Choosing to practice each hand separately will give you the best results.
Do notice by working out each hand separately, one also is able to memorize the piece better.