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Hand independence and hand co-ordination

Chickers

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Hi Folks;
I need to ask the experts---all you folks on the Forum I feel are the experts.
Can you recommend any exercises for me to learn better hand & finger control ?
Here are my issues: quite often when I encounter eighth notes, and sixteenth notes my left bass fingering want to go at the same speed as my right. Sometimes
I even get a little syncopation going. I typically won't lose time, I just have an issue with my left doing something similar to my right.
A bit of background, I'm a late starter. Played a bit way back, and then after a 50 year absence, I decided I really want to play the accordion. So, as a SENIOR,
trying to catch up, and struggling with some stiffness, and slow muscle movements, I have been confronted with a few hurdles ---to say the least.
I am playing a 41/120 piano accordion, and I seem to be able to handle most other characteristics of the accordion. Quarter notes, half notes, chords, and triads
come along O.K.
I've been studying the Hanon method, which works wonders on the right hand, but trying to play simple bass rhythms with the left during these exercises becomes a
real challenge.
I had a teacher for a short time last year, but the 2019 holidays came, and then COVID came along, so now I'm back on my own. I'm self teaching---or self "trying".
Any recommendations ?
I would appreciate any comments.
CHICKERS
 

knobby

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I had a similar issue recently. I solved it by playing really slowly till I got used to the mismatch between right and left hands, then gradually speeded up to normal playing speed.
I still cock it up now and again, but slowing it down really helped me.
 

Tom

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You can do it Chickers! Well, the easy answer is "play, play, play, practice, practice, practice."

But seriously, here is an idea:

1. Start with your left hand on the key of E.
2. Play quarter note bass, chord in your left hand.
3. Play eighth note triad notes in the E chord, up and down the triad(s) in your right hand. Repeat from 2 to 200 times, up to you.
4. Move to A. Repeat.
5. Continue down to Ab.
6. Repeat sequence with sixteenth notes in your right hand.

This will not only help your coordination, but will build knowledge of arpeggios and inversions.

Good luck, you can do it!
 

debra

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The problem is not with your fingers, it is with your brain. And the easiest way to train your brain to control your hands independently is to first of all forget about the notes (or bass buttons) you need to hit. Best is to start by putting the accordion away, sit down, and train the rhythm you need by hitting your legs just above the knee in the correct rhythm. Best to start with easy rhythms like 4 slaps left versus 2 slaps right, and then the other way around, so one hand does quarter notes and the other half notes. Then try 4 quarters left versus half-quarter-quarter right. Try many variations. When you are getting good at this, try 3 against 2 and you will notice that while you can do every other rhythm you tried you are rubbish at 3 against 2. When you master 3 against 2, try 2 against 3. Again although the same, just swapping your hands makes it difficult. Keep going... and after months of slapping on your legs you will find it very easy to replicate this on the accordion!
 

jozz

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I advise you to scratch your head with one hand, and rub your belly with the other - at the same time.

This might also solve other ailments

(y)
 

NigelB

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Further to what Debra said about training the brain.
You could try finger drumming on the table for example:
Each finger is numbered 1 to 5. Left hand fingers tap 1234 5432 over and over while right hand fingers tap 1234 1234. Then try right hand tapping 123 123, that makes a polyrhythm against the left it feels odd. Then try right hand 12345 12345 fells very odd! That odd feeling is your brain making new connections for independence that will help on any instrument. You can make any combinations of course.
 

losthobos

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Working rhythms away from the accordion is such good advice..
I'm always tapping out my problems on either side of steering wheel whilst driving.. 😉
 

Chickers

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Good morning.
Well, it's still morning in Eastern U.S.
As always, the Forum Folks come thru with ideas, and suggestions to help us with our accordion playing struggles.
I thank you much for the suggestions on my hand independence issues.
I'm going to start working on those ideas, and hopefully be able to report on my success.
Have a great day
CHICKERS
 

JeffJetton

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I had a similar issue recently. I solved it by playing really slowly till I got used to the mismatch between right and left hands, then gradually speeded up to normal playing speed.
I still cock it up now and again, but slowing it down really helped me.

I was about to post this very thing. The single best piece of advice I can possibly give, for this and a whole host of other musical problems, is PLAY SLOWER.

Like reeeeaaaaallllyyyy slow. I'm talking about a first-class ticket on the slow train to Sloth City, with stops in Turtle Town and Molasses Junction. Pick a tempo that you think is slow, then play at, like, half of that speed. That's what I mean by slow (at least to start with).

(And play "smaller" too while you're at it. That is, rather than plow through an entire piece, making errors all over the place, just pick one single, short trouble spot and work on that--slowly!)
 

Ventura

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maybe try this

play just the melody enough times that you more or less
have the timing down that suits you

and that you have more or less memorized it in your brain
(meaning you can now simply "think" the melody and "hear" it in your head)

NOW just play the bass part and THINK the melody...
you will now be able to focus more brainpower on the left hand
until you more or less have it down and it begins to be automatic

then re-combine and shine
 

Dingo40

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Funny, I tend to build up the bass first, then use it ( very slowly) as a scaffold on which to erect the treble🙂
 

Pipemajor

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Further to what Debra said about training the brain.
You could try finger drumming on the table for example:
Each finger is numbered 1 to 5. Left hand fingers tap 1234 5432 over and over while right hand fingers tap 1234 1234. Then try right hand tapping 123 123, that makes a polyrhythm against the left it feels odd. Then try right hand 12345 12345 fells very odd! That odd feeling is your brain making new connections for independence that will help on any instrument. You can make any combinations of course.
My brain hurts:confused:
 
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Play SLOWLY (very slowly if need be)
Find the basic interval for the bar(s) in question, eg quarter notes, halves, eighths etc. No need to play the whole thing just to deal with a couple of awkward bars.
Count (out loud if that helps)_ based on the basic note interval one and two and three & four, two and two and three and four, three and two and four etc.
Left hand plays on the initial beat (bold), right hand plays on all the beats.

I'll still do that for pieces with difficult timing between the left and right hands, even after a lifetime of playing/reading music of some sort.

If you are really struggling and have some software that will do it, program it into a midi file and then play it back REALLY slowly to get the feel for it, slowly speeding it up.
 

Ventura

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but my serious suggestion is to put on some old Rock n Roll with
distinctive Bass lines and patterns and play along

i think this helps your left hand find independance

My Girl, how Sweet it is, Black is Black, Sunshine of your Love,

an old Mel Bey Bass workbook is also good
 

Tom

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I've played a lot of polkas and a couple Oktoberfest parades, and have a "cangaceiro" for Brazilian music, a "coppola" or 7 for Italian, and a stunning collection of ball caps (including from my old band) but I never went for the leiderhosen..... Maybe it would help.
 

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