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#1053498 - 12/02/04 12:02 PM handedness
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
How much disparity between left and right hand dexterity are beginners (and those who used to be beginners) experiencing? My right hand is my dominant sports hand, but I write and eat with my left hand, so I hoped that I wouldn't find a big difference between the two as far as playing piano. Instead, my left hand does not have the strength, quickness, accuracy, or touch that my right hand does. Are there any exercises that might help bridge the gap?
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1053499 - 12/02/04 12:16 PM Re: handedness
HermanM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/04
Posts: 117
Loc: Newport, VA
I experience the same thing - I'm right handed in every aspect. My left always seems to lag in technical bits like Hanon. I used to work on those things that had a left hand lag with only the left hand until it got up to speed. Now I find myself just slowing down with HT, let the left hand catch up.
I played it better at home.

#1053500 - 12/02/04 10:18 PM Re: handedness
tk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 695
Loc: Los Angeles County
Funny you should bring this up. I was just thinking about and getting frustrated with my lack of dexterity and strength in my left (non-dominant) hand this morning when I was practicing. I am pretty sure when I took lessons as a kid/teen my left hand was pretty agile. I am wondering if I just need to practice more frequently and give it time, and/or if age is a bigger factor at this point...? Now that I am older, can I still expect my left hand to become virtually as agile as my right given enough time?

For those of you who started piano or returned to it later in life (let's say 30ish or older), have you noticed significant improvements in your non-dominant hand?

I, too, would be interested in any exercises that might help (other than scales, Hanon and Czerny). They might not even be exercises to practice on the piano, but just hand/finger exercises in general. Any suggestions?


#1053501 - 12/03/04 03:47 AM Re: handedness
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
This was my biggest problem when I started 11 months ago and it was quite frustrating for me initially. I am over 50 and was one of those that always felt it "too late" to start because of this issue in my head concerning dexterity. But then I asked myself if I can type equally well with my left hand as my right why should playing the piano be any different? I use a series called "Finger Power" similar to Hanon, repetitive excercises that helped immensely developing not just speed but control and dexterity especially in the 4th and 5th fingers. While I am not quite up to speed with the left hand as the right, I work much harder at it and it is catching up to the point it is much less an issue.

What I always keep in mind was my days playing basketball. I always had a more difficult time driving to my left side and shooting left handed on a layup or short jumper. I worked hard at this to the point that the left was almost, if never quite the equal of the right. It involved a lot of repetitive practice to get there. I am finding the same with the piano. My biggest problem at present is "jumping" with my left hand. I seem to be having a bit of a control problem with the "landings". I expect to get there cause I have a difficult time taking NO for an answer. \:D


#1053502 - 12/03/04 06:08 AM Re: handedness
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
Will, can you tell us a little more about Finger Power? What it is, where to get it, etc.?
markb--The Count of Casio

#1053503 - 12/03/04 06:47 PM Re: handedness
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
Mark I picked it up at a music store. The series is by Schaum. Here is the link

It covers a wide range of exercises including scales in contrary motion, sustaining finger exercises, Triad and Arpeggio inversions, various chromatic excercises, finger stretching and velocity excercises, finger sustaining excercises etc.

The great thing about this series and others like it is you can concentrate on technique without worrying about making music. \:\) Seriously it allows you to focus on specific areas of weakness. When I first started using these books about 3 months into studying, I noticed a marked improvement in my finger strength within days. I started off on level 2 which has some very specific excercises for a beginner to develop this area. Well worth it from my perspective.

#1053504 - 12/03/04 08:39 PM Re: handedness
tk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 695
Loc: Los Angeles County
Thanks, Vintagefingers! I actually have 2 of the Finger Power books from when I was a teen and completely forgot all about them until you mentioned them! I am going to pull them out and practice, practice, practice! \:\)

#1053505 - 12/03/04 09:03 PM Re: handedness
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i played accordion before, so that naturally RH feels much easier to adapt than LH. especially in the beginning, LH felt weaker and clumbsome. also, when it needs both hands playing together, LH had much difficult time to coordinate with RH. but it will change gradually as time passes. i feel more comfortable playing with LH now, although LH never would equal to RH. in order for LH to play more effectively, one just has to practice more with LH alone, so that eventually LH will learn to cope with all kinds of passages.

#1053506 - 12/03/04 09:31 PM Re: handedness
ilm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 379
Loc: USA
Vintagefingers. That is a great name.

#1053507 - 12/03/04 10:05 PM Re: handedness
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 982
Loc: Oregon
I took piano lessons from age 15 thru 18 and remember I had trouble with my left hand, esp. 4th and 5th fingers. I remember because I had trouble with evenness of both hands with Hanon.

I started lessons again a year ago, and notice the same problem still (I'm right-handed). I may look into the Finger Power books - I'll ask my teacher on Tuesday!
"Cats make purrfect friends"

#1053508 - 12/04/04 08:44 AM Re: handedness
ilm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 379
Loc: USA
To all of you who have the Finger Power books, which level should I buy. I'm currently playing Bach Invention No. 14 and Beethoven's Sonatina Op.49, No.2.

Thank you.

#1053509 - 12/04/04 05:07 PM Re: handedness
Vintagefingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 331
Loc: SE
ilikemozart too! I would think levels 4-6 would challenge you and hone your skills. You can always work up. I went through Level 2 very quickly. I am working on 3 and 4 currently. I need to get 5 and 6. The point of the books is perfect flow and effortlessness in performing the excerices. Good luck!


#1053510 - 12/04/04 05:30 PM Re: handedness
ilm Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 379
Loc: USA
Thanks for the advice, I will get levels 4-6 of the Finger Power book. I'm having a struggle with the Beethoven's Sonatina Op. 49 No. 2 at the metronome speed of 100 to the quarter note.

#1053511 - 12/07/04 09:50 AM Re: handedness
Rafi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 15
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Without consciously planning it, I helped my non-dominant hand weakness by learning to write with that hand.

I was left handed till I was 22, then started writing right handed just as an experiment. Then I dropped that project for a while, and in the meantime began learning piano. Then I dropped the piano for a while, and in the meantime honed my right handed writing skill, until now, my right hand writing is better than my left.

When I went back to the piano a couple of years ago, I found that my right hand was remarkably more dextrous, and able to make those "landings" with much more gratifying accuracy.

So, maybe learning to write with your non-dominant hand would be good practice for pianists.


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