I started playing piano few months ago. I find it really difficult to read two lines(right and left) at the same time . Actually I only can read and play the right hand. When I try to read the left hand I confuse and stop. It seems my brain can't process and understand two different things at the same time... I'm so worried about it. I would be happy and thankful if you share your experience with me. Thanks alot🌸

  • 1
    Play piano more! It's normal to have this phase. This phase will be shorter if you practise more. Few months already seems long: maybe you are playing pieces that are too difficult for you at the moment, or you just don't practise very often.
    – minseong
    Jun 1, 2019 at 21:05

6 Answers 6


Stop over-thinking this. You don't have a brain problem! Playing two hands is tricky for a beginner.

Practice each hand separately until it's PERFECTLY fluent. Then, try hands together, SLOWLY. It will come.


Many really elementary piano tutors start with the hands playing separately and then add the occasional extra note to make hands play together. What this suggests is that this is a skill that takes time to master.

Start slowly with very simple music. Don't expect to be reading/playing fluently after just a few months. You will get there if you take your time.

Good luck.


This is commonplace with beginners. Being right-handed probably doesn't help, either!

Like lots of things in life, the more times something gets done the easier it becomes. So, dedicate a couple of days a week when you practise to only play left hand notes. Scales and arpeggios are a good warm-up, then play some things you've already learned or looked at, l.h. only. Find as much stuff as you can to read l.h. only.

If it's problematic reading bass clef notes, a few ideas: All Cows Eat Grass looks after the spaces, and it's not too difficult to work out the in between notes on the lines from that. If you're pretty good with treble clef note names, then imagine the bass clef is the treble, but play notes two letter names above. (Bottom space, treble = F, so F-G-A for the same space on bass).

Another idea is to work from the last note played. If for example, that was A on bottom space, and the next note is on the next space, it's up two note names, or a third above the A note you played last. Sort of 'think intervals'.

All that should help to bring your l.h. up to the standard of your r.h.

Putting it all together is tricky, but a couple of ideas here. Before playing, read the piece ( simple ones initially!) by not playing, but patting hands on legs, l.h. notes with l.h. and r.h. with r.h. That helps with timing. And always try to keep up wth the start tempo right through - slowing or stopping for a second or two isn't going to help - if a mistake is made, play through it.

Putting it all together needs to be done at a slow speed, sometimes ridiculously slow, but slow enough so you have time to read both lines.

One other thing to be aware of is harmonies within a key. If the piece is in key C, then there will inevitably be more C F and G notes, especially in l.h., so use those as landmarks. That should keep you occupied for a while! Good luck!


Since you can only read the right hand you have to practice more with the left hand. Try difficult passages with just that hand. Only then should you try to play with both hands together.

Don't worry, it might take a lot of time before you can sight-read both hands together, but if you persevere you will get there eventually


Don't worry, you're definitely not the only one!

Many people have problems with sight-reading the grand staff... There are a few things you can do but it will always take time to become a good sight reader. Don't expect progress overnight.

The biggest problem is actually exactly what you said. You have trouble to "read" two lines at the same time. You actually become a good sight reader once you don't have to read the notes anymore. It's just like muscle memory and if done often enough, you don't have to think about it anymore. Until that happens, it takes a lot of practice.

Think about it like writing on your PC or reading a book. You don't go with every word like "well, that's an E and then comes a N..." you just see them as a whole without thinking about each separate part of the word.

In sight-reading there is no difference. You actually don't read the chords note by note like C, E, G. After some practice you just recognize the shape of a chord. You just have to take a glimpse at it and automatically know, that's a regular triad in root position, that's a 1st inversion etc. Even there you could already just look at the root note and actually know the whole chord just by the shape above it. At perfection, you also know exactly what the root note is without even thinking about it.

The problem with the two staffs is also a common problem. When you're good at it, you just look a fraction of the second at the bottom note, so you know the root. Because of the shape you also know the rest of the chord. Then you look up and see the melody above it. Some people can even look between the staff and see both at the same time. So they don't have to jump from bot to top, and back and forth. This is called peripheral vision. It basically means that you are able to see also a wider range of things that are around the spot that you're focusing on. Of course, you would have to train that as well.

But the easiest thing at first would be probably the right preparation. You say that you get confused when you sight-read. At first, it can help to analyze the score before you start playing, because your brain actually only gets confused when it gets surprised. So go over the score and analyze every chord, time signature changes and so on, so that you already know what's coming. If you know that there are only C, F and G chords in this piece, it's way easier to recognize them and after playing them enough times, you remember how they look on the score. Of course, don't memorize the score, only analyze it. You should still sightread it and not play it from your memory.

Another thing worth to mention is that good sight readers don't even read the passage they're playing at the moment. They always look ahead. This again, is because they want to get any surprises. They often read and 'memorize' 1, 2 or 3 bars ahead and read new bars while their muscle memory plays the notes they already read. If you would hold a hand in front of the eyes of a good sight reader, they still would be able to play a couple bars after that, just because they've already read them.

I hope some of this information will help you to get better, but don't get frustrated. It will take a lot of time to get better and more fluent in sight-reading! ;)


Read from the bottom to the top. Start with the bass clef, then proceed to the treble clef. Practice any memorization for ACEG and FACE. Gain some confidence by isolating the left hand more often.

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