I am a beginner piano player. I have learned a couple of classical music piece and I didn't run into any major difficulties other than basic hand misplacement. Now I am trying to learn Boogie Woogie piano and I am having extreme difficulty in hand independence. Every time I try to play a Boogie Woogie piece my left hand thinks it's my right hand and I can't seem to get my hand independence in sync. Why is it that I never had this issue when playing classical music?

The songs that I have learned so far are Fur Elise, Nuvole Bianche, Canon in D. The boogie woogie piece I am currently learning is Swanee River by Albert Ammons.

  • 3
    It's difficult to answer without knowing what classical pieces you have played.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 5:08
  • Please give a concrete example of a classical tune where you don't have a problem, and a boogie woogie where you do have a problem. :) Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 8:16
  • If your hands work fine reading classical stuff, they should do the same reading boogie-woogie. Counting is critical.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 12:54
  • I'm predicting syncopation is the issue, but provide some detail about the classical stuff and then choose a particular from the boogie woogie. Do you have scores? A picture is worth a thousand words :-) Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 13:48
  • I have updated my question to include the songs that I have successfully learned and the boogie woogie i am struggling with.
    – Robben
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


Stride and boogie-woogie both require a left hand which remains more or less constant, while the right hand plays patterns which are probably quite different rhythmically (and usually have a lot of syncopation). This is not really common in any solo piano music from the classical and romantic traditions, that I have heard. Perhaps need to really focus on getting that left hand going with very constant, steady time, and then gradually add more complex right hand patterns.

(Even the level of syncopation itself, and the rhythmic drive and swing, is pretty hard for many classical players - before even thinking about the independence issues.)

These styles of piano (especially as demonstrated by some of the players back in the 30s) are really not easy at all. That's why they are not heard that often, I guess.

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