I just started learning the piano a week ago. I am finding it very difficult to synchronise the chords and the melody. Are there any methods that will make it easier? Is it natural to find it difficult to co-ordinate hands while playing for the first time, or am I not putting enough effort into trying?
Yes it's natural to have this problem at only a week in and you'll probably still have it for a while. But coordination will come with practice.
But here are some tips for now:
- Use a metronome, start very slow, and only speed up after you can play it reasonably well.
- Make sure you know how to read the rhythms correctly.
- Learn to count along with rhythmic subdivisions (1 2 3 4 for quarter notes, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and for eighth notes, etc). And then count as you play along to a metronome to make sure that you're getting it right.
- Do this for each hand independently at first. It's a lot easier to play both at the same time when you know each hand well on it's own.
- If you find a particular part is hard or you keep messing it up, play just that measure(s) over and over again (looping it seamlessly). You'll find this concept of isolation in the face of problems (1 hand a time, 1 measure a time, etc) really speeds up the learning process.
- Then try to put them together.
Also have a look at an existing question here: "How can I significantly improve my hand independence on piano?" At a glance, it looks like there's some good info in there.
I know this will come over as being too easy as an answer, but: Slow down.
Everything is easier when you slow down. Be patient about it. Practice every day and slowly try to build up speed.
Most technical an musical problems can be tackled by first slowing down and resisting to play it to fast for a while. It sounds easy but it isn't. The temptation to play too fast is really big!