I'm a drummer looking to supplement my playing with a keyboard (simultaneously) and also contribute a little more to the writing process. Likely, I'll be playing keys with my left hand, probably basic chords to help fill out songs (if that's what the left hand is supposed to do on keyboard?). I have an iPad with Garage band to start off and see how I like it before I purchase anything.

Having said that, I know nothing about keyboard and also cannot read music (only basic drum stuff. Would be nice to learn, but time is of the essence). Are there any resources you would recommend for players just looking to hit the ground running.. specifically on the left hand? I've seen some drummers pull this off and always thought it would be an interesting project. Thanks

** EDIT: I guess I should mention I'm right-handed **

2 Answers 2


A book I've always liked for a no-nonsense introduction to playing keyboards is "How to play the piano despite years of lessons" by Ward Cannel and Fred Marx. In a very short period of time you can start playing chords to lead sheets and start reharmonizing.

  • Thanks. I don't have enough rep to upvote. But thanks for suggesting a book so easy even a drummer can understand ;)
    – xhermit
    Sep 14, 2014 at 12:41

I wanted to add something from personal experience, but it was too large to comment, so I apologize if it doesn't answer the question properly. Nice answer @Kevin Johnsrude by the way.

I'm a drummer and I play some piano too. When I was younger I tried several times to play both the drums and piano at the same time, in the same way as you suggest it. In the beginning, it was really a hard thing to do, because as soon as you want to do some syncope or some "bastards rhythms", it is improving the difficulty so much! And you also have to keep in mind that if you use one hand on the piano, you will play the drums only with one hand => Less technicality, more risks of doing mistakes. In live sessions, it can be a risky bet.

On an other hand, the piano can be really great for a drummer during blanks in some soft songs. Take the simple example of Archive - Pills : 4 chords during a drum break. Simple. Accurate. Nice. And that's how I use piano now (when I need it) during lives, only to fill the blanks I leave during breaks.

Finally, I can only advise you to learn how to play piano, you will never regret it :)

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