Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages?

Posted by: jian1zh

Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 02:40 PM

I was born left-handed, even to this day, my left hand is bigger than right, about 0.5cm longer each finger, also stronger.

But I found playing piano as a lefty is really an advantage. I could play left-handed excercises at ease, chopin's revolution etude is my favorite as my left hand flying down the passage with little difficulty.

My right hand is also very strong, due to 30 years of forced training (In China, they harshly correct left hander at school, so I was forced to write, using chop sticks, cissor with right hand), now it has same dexterity as left hand, and only a little bit weaker in terms of strength, only a little bit, not affecting my playing at all. I think I am now truly ambidextrous, haha.

What's your opinions over left-handness at playing piano? as I am aware in US/CAN they don't force left-hand children to correct and as a result lefties might have weaker right hand here and maybe it affects your playing? any thoughts?
Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 02:52 PM

I don't feel it has hindered or effected me in anyway - I write and eat with my left, however I throw a ball, play golf/basketball/sport etc etc right handed.
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 02:55 PM

Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h
I don't feel it has hindered or effected me in anyway - I write and eat with my left, however I throw a ball, play golf/basketball/sport etc etc right handed.


I am the opposite of you, I write, eat(chopstick) with right hand due to school forced correction, other than those, I kick, throw, playing golf, using a mouse all with my left hand/foot, but my right hand can do those things equally well without a problem, despite I prefer my left hand. My right hand's only problem is its 0.5cm shortness, and a tiny tiny bit of weakness.
Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 03:48 PM

See I prefer my right hand to do anything apart from eat and write - so most would say that I'm left handed, but I consider myself to be ambidextrous. I can write with my right hand, but takes me a lot longer and looks like I ought to have a PHD in medicine.

I am a lot more coordinated with my right hand, but I'm more controlled with the left - I'm so strange! haha
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 03:58 PM

Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h
See I prefer my right hand to do anything apart from eat and write - so most would say that I'm left handed, but I consider myself to be ambidextrous. I can write with my right hand, but takes me a lot longer and looks like I ought to have a PHD in medicine.

I am a lot more coordinated with my right hand, but I'm more controlled with the left - I'm so strange! haha


You are no hardcore lefty! You don't belong to us, haha.
Posted by: ju5t1n-h

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 04:20 PM

Originally Posted By: jian1zh
Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h
See I prefer my right hand to do anything apart from eat and write - so most would say that I'm left handed, but I consider myself to be ambidextrous. I can write with my right hand, but takes me a lot longer and looks like I ought to have a PHD in medicine.

I am a lot more coordinated with my right hand, but I'm more controlled with the left - I'm so strange! haha


You are no hardcore lefty! You don't belong to us, haha.




Haha - but I write with the left hand! let me be one of youuuuu!
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 05:03 PM

I'm also one of those freaks who write and eat left handed but play ball right handed. I consider myself somewhat ambidextrous, but I can't play piano very well with either of my hands frown
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 05:25 PM

I am glad they no longer force us lefties to write with right hand anymore in China, my nephew now write with left hand without being corrected by teacher like I used to be treated (teachers used harsh words to describe you as "weirdo", "rebel", since left-handness was considered very bad back in China). There's tools such as left-handed scissor available to public, unlike my old days, NO left handed scissors available, at least not in old days China.

I also find it's more convenient to live in 21st century as I no longer am required to write up documents with right hand, all done on computer with a qwerty keyboard which was accidentally designed to favor us lefties. Driving is also a breeze, especially for a stick shift, I steer with my dominate hand!

ETA: the only inconvenience/annoyance I've still yet to overcome is the available drilling tools on the market, although I feel comfortable enough to drill with my right hand, I'd still prefer a driller designed to suite left hand, yet CrappyTire doesn't sell any of them.
Posted by: rada

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 05:40 PM

I also grew up under the 'not allowed to use your left hand' law. My mother said we all reached with our left but she insisted on our using the right hand. I often have right-handed students asking me if left-handed students have it easier at the piano. Funny thing is I never know if a student I have is left or right until they use a pencil. So it seems what really matters is practice.

rada
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 06:00 PM

Originally Posted By: rada
I also grew up under the 'not allowed to use your left hand' law. My mother said we all reached with our left but she insisted on our using the right hand. I often have right-handed students asking me if left-handed students have it easier at the piano. Funny thing is I never know if a student I have is left or right until they use a pencil. So it seems what really matters is practice.

rada


Your mother must be Chinese, haha.

Although I agree with practice makes perfection, but the dominance does affect people's playing, at least mine.

I can play those very difficult left handed etudes like a breeze, and was unware of it until I see right handed struggling with them.
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 06:21 PM

Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h

You are no hardcore lefty! You don't belong to us, haha.




Haha - but I write with the left hand! let me be one of youuuuu! [/quote]

You can't! It's genetic, this gene runs through my family, haha.
Posted by: jawhitti

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 06:25 PM

I am left-handed but not Chinese so I grew up doing most everything but playing video games left-handed.

I can't say it's been much of a thing one way or the other. If anything, my instructor complains that I play the LH too loudly and when I told him I'm left-handed he went "ohhhhhhhhh". I guess left hand melodies are a little easier but in the grand scheme of things I don't think it's made much difference in anything.
Posted by: dkong99

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 06:40 PM

Being left-handed hasn't proved to be a problem in playing the piano. For example in my youth I was forced to play the violin as well as do other activities right handed. things were a bit different when I was growing up, there was a strong bias against left handers in the U.S., in fact there still is but not to the same degree as other parts of the world.

I play the guitar left handed so that gave me an advantage as my right hand is used to pressing down the strings on the fretboard so that is easily transferable to pressing down keys on a piano.

IMHO, probably the strongest advantage of the left handed pianst is because they've been forced to adapt to the right handed world they tend to be more ambidexous so when performing an activity where both hands are necessary the task isn't as daunting as say for a person who is used to using only their right hand.

DAVID
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 06:48 PM

Originally Posted By: dkong99
Being left-handed hasn't proved to be a problem in playing the piano. For example in my youth I was forced to play the violin as well as do other activities right handed. things were a bit different when I was growing up, there was a strong bias against left handers in the U.S., in fact there still is but not to the same degree as other parts of the world.

I play the guitar left handed so that gave me an advantage as my right hand is used to pressing down the strings on the fretboard so that is easily transferable to pressing down keys on a piano.

IMHO, probably the strongest advantage of the left handed pianst is because they've been forced to adapt to the right handed world they tend to be more ambidexous so when performing an activity where both hands are necessary the task isn't as daunting as say for a person who is used to using only their right hand.

DAVID


I bet you didn't receive as much as negativity from school as I did.

Chinese culture hates left-hand, the word "left" means literally bad, off-beat.

You would get your hands slapped hard by teacher if using left hand. Your parents would beat you if discovered using chopstick with wrong hand. P.E. teacher literally corrects your jumping foot, forcing you to throw basket ball with right hand . Scissors in China used to be right-hand only. Left-handers were not allowed in the army.

I grew up adapting to this right-hand world in a hard way. Damn, I wish one day I could force some right-hander going through the same ordeal I had.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 09:58 PM

I am left handed. I did organ as a kid and got used to pounding chords out with my left hand. I have trouble playing left hand softly (though I think that's getting better). For piano I feel my right hand is stronger and has more control. I don't feel being left handed gives me any advantage/disadvantage relative to piano.

But like many others I use my right hand for some things(throwing a ball, using a mouse, scissors) and my left for others (writing, eating,) so one hand is not entirely dominant. Interesting question to ponder though!
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/15/13 11:43 PM

Originally Posted By: ZoeCalgary
I am left handed. I did organ as a kid and got used to pounding chords out with my left hand. I have trouble playing left hand softly (though I think that's getting better). For piano I feel my right hand is stronger and has more control. I don't feel being left handed gives me any advantage/disadvantage relative to piano.

But like many others I use my right hand for some things(throwing a ball, using a mouse, scissors) and my left for others (writing, eating,) so one hand is not entirely dominant. Interesting question to ponder though!


I found lots of people refer to themselves lefties aint' true are, if you still prefer do lots of things with right hand.

A hardcore left-hander such as myself is totally genetic, it runs through my paternal family. If you developed your left hand later in life, you totally ain't a lefty at all, for eg, if you lost your right hand but developed marvelous skills with left hand, genetically, you are still a right hander. We born with total dominating left-hand, my left side has bigger bones, longer arm, bigger hand, bigger almost everything, without forcing using right hand, my right can't do much thing as I presumed, despite I developed to be an ambidextrous later in my life.

I also find that true lefty is very rare among populations.
Posted by: dkong99

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/16/13 12:52 AM

Back in the sixties, oh heck yes. I remember my second grade teacher tying my left hand behind my back so I wouldn't use it.

My parents were 2nd Gen Chinese Americans but that didn't make it any easier.

I probably can top you horror story to horror story but I try not to dwell on the past as you can't change what happened but hopefully you can help ensure the future is better.

DAVID
Posted by: jian1zh

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/16/13 04:25 AM

Originally Posted By: jawhitti
I am left-handed but not Chinese so I grew up doing most everything but playing video games left-handed.

I can't say it's been much of a thing one way or the other. If anything, my instructor complains that I play the LH too loudly and when I told him I'm left-handed he went "ohhhhhhhhh". I guess left hand melodies are a little easier but in the grand scheme of things I don't think it's made much difference in anything.


In your case, I doubt your lH is being too lound. It probably due to right hand doesn't have a effective way controlling sound aptitude. That seems to occur when you weren't forced to learn to be ambidextrous as I were, now your right hand is as weak as those right-hander's LH, and unfortunately, most musics written with main melody played by RH.
Posted by: jawhitti

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/16/13 07:43 AM

Jian, if you ever heard me play you'd quickly agree that "too loudly" describes my playing in a nutshell. Nothing terrifies me more than the word "leggiero"... wink
Posted by: Pianolance

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/17/13 12:15 AM

I'm a lefty and I think my left hand is a little better than my right, but music is so skewed to the right with the melody being in the right hand, a pianist is forced to develop his or her right hand. As for ambidexterity, I eat and write left handed, play ping pong left handed, but I play baseball right handed and bowl right handed. I can't seem to make up my mind. I play tennis with both hands which gives me a few more inches reach. My high school coach yelled at me to pick a hand. I can only serve with my right hand though, since it is a motion very similar to throwing a ball.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/17/13 09:03 AM

I think it may depend on the style of music you prefer to play. If you're doing more of a LH-chord RH-melody kind of piece (common in some method books and in lead sheet playing) then there is a chance it will be more challenging for your RH to really bring out the melody. However, in classical playing there are many difficult things for the LH to do, while being the accompaniment to the RH.

I'm a right-handed person and so Beethoven sonatas and some Chopin works have some really challenging LH parts. So, I don't think that left-handed pianists are at a disadvantage. Everyone has their own weaknesses to overcome. smile
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/17/13 11:21 AM

There are many, many works written specifically for LH, by Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Scriabin, Godowsky, Bartók, Moszkowski, Alkan et al.....but hardly any written just for RH, so you have an advantage wink .

Probably the best and most well-known is this: http://youtu.be/KJTUUKAdZDU
Posted by: musica71

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/17/13 02:57 PM

I don't find in the general repertoire that it makes a bit of difference. Sensitivity must be developed in both hands. Often the melody is interchanged between hands.
Posted by: Goof

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/17/13 04:59 PM

I had a classmate who broke his right arm, aged about 16, he started to use his left to write and stayed using it even after his plaster cast was removed.
Posted by: personne

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/18/13 08:06 PM

I was genetically left-handed, but was learnt to use my right hand to hold a spoon and a fork, or to write (I can write but my left hand, I just do not have the skill to do it fast and nicely).
I still cannot use a knife by the right hand and use my left hand for anything else - for example, my first reaction is always to use the left hand.

How it influences my playing? I definitely have little trouble playing polyphonic pieces with several voices, and can easily play moments where the left hand leads.
But I would prefer all these fast trills to be written for LH, not for the right (although I play them after practice) - I would prefer the LH party was ornamented smile
I spend a little bit more efforts to play fast by left hand than by right as well.

It is not scientific though, and just my IMO - as it could be just my skill set smile

But overall it was easier for me to learn piano than to my right-handed classmates who usually used one hand for most activities.
Posted by: Brad Hoehne

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/19/13 01:39 PM

Originally Posted By: jian1zh


Chinese culture hates left-hand, the word "left" means literally bad, off-beat.

You would get your hands slapped hard by teacher if using left hand. Your parents would beat you if discovered using chopstick with wrong hand. P.E. teacher literally corrects your jumping foot, forcing you to throw basket ball with right hand . Scissors in China used to be right-hand only. Left-handers were not allowed in the army.

I grew up adapting to this right-hand world in a hard way. Damn, I wish one day I could force some right-hander going through the same ordeal I had.


The US is probably only about 3 generations ahead of China in terms of left handed acceptance. I went to a US catholic school in the 1980s, and I recall of the older alumni and faculty told stories about how they were forced in their youth to adopt right-handedness when they noticed my left handedness.

Western languages, too, give evidence to the stigma attached to being left handed. The Latin word for "left" is "sinistra"- the origin, of course, of the word "sinister." The french word for "left" is "gauche", which basically means "uncouth" or "clumsy." The latin word for "right" is "dexter", from which the word "dextrous" comes. In other words, to be capable meant to be "dexter" or "right."

I am almost as left handed as can be. I write, eat, swing a bat, use scissors, use a computer mouse, use a broom (left hand on top), strike a match (left hand holds the match, right the box), play tennis, and do a whole host of other things in the standard left handed way. The only things I do right handed are the ones where the left handed option was not readily available in my youth. I play golf (hand me down clubs were only right handed), play guitar (borrowed guitar can't easily be restrung), and play piano (soprano by tradition is towards the right) in the "right handed" way.

However, I've never found it to be a limitation OR an advantage in piano to be left handed. I don't feel particularly adroit with my left hand compared to the right-handers I know- and tend, like most folks, to find complex passages a more difficult with the left than the right. I'm sure this is owing a right handed bias in practice caused by the fact that, in most music, the right hand is more "notey" or melodic than the left.
Posted by: Brad Hoehne

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/22/13 10:32 AM

On these lines, I thought this concept was interesting- a left handed piano:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po2_PnH54TA
Posted by: Supply

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/22/13 04:48 PM

I have often though about taking an upright piano and adding a keyboard to the back of it, with a connecting linkage to the action. This piano could then be played right or left handed. Perhaps a neat idea for four handed playing as well...
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 02/22/13 05:31 PM

Jurgen - That would be just too much inverted retrograde for us poor pianists to comprehend!

Posted by: riley80

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/23/14 07:42 PM

My cousin, born in 1932, was forced to write right handed. He developed a type of mirror writing. He also claimed that one ear grew more than the other. ??

He can write right handed, but it's a very childish script, bordering on printing.

FWIW, I had one left handed friend who quit piano lessons as a kid - she was very slow and awkward, could not coordinate the two hands, yet had a high IQ. I don't know any other left handed pianists.
Posted by: daniel84020

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/23/14 11:34 PM

My father in law did some PhD research on this subject. Lefties should have an advantage. Both groups have about equal coordination in their dominant hand and can perform dexterity tests in comparable amounts of time. But when it comes to the non-dominant hand, a lefty using his/her righty has much more dexterity than a righty using his/her lefty. (Which makes sense if you think about it, since it's kind of a right-handed person's world.)
Posted by: Briguy65

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/24/14 04:16 AM

I am a true lefty -- as I write, throw, and eat lefthanded. Especially chopsticks. I am of Chinese descent but I'm an American, so I wasn't forced to use my right hand. Which is good -- as a few of my lefthanded Uncles who were retrained to use their right hands also have stuttering problems. Re-routing brain circuits haphazardly sometimes can have it's consequences. I think in regards to piano, it's all about practice, as my right hand is more nimble than my left. That said, I do a couple of things righthanded mostly, including using scissors, casting a fishing rod, using a mouse, and cutting with a knife. I actually cook using it lefthanded and while cutting a steak I can use my right hand thus getting the pieces of meat into my mouth faster without having to switch hands back and forth.

I use a mouse righthanded probably because that's where it always was and I was too lazy to try to switch hands. It actually would make better sense to use the mouse with the left hand, so you could use the keypad with the right. One thing about cutting a steak -- I was told by my mother that manners required that you switch hands. I later have realized more than manners, people just can't use a knife with their non-dominant hand, thus necessitating switching back and forth.
Posted by: Carbonblob

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/24/14 09:03 AM

Great topic!

Yep, dominant lefty here. I can golf right handed but that's about it. I feel like it's an advantage on the piano because I can play stride and boogie patterns fairly easy. However, since taking up piano, my right hand is faster and lighter. I guess that's from years of practice since piano playing really takes both hands. Oh, I've had both carpel tunnel surgeries and a right hand cubital tunnel operation. So I get RSS pretty easy. Not sure if there's a connection there.

Here's a test for you out there having a baby. put the infant on his/her back and watch which side it uses to get up, that will probably be the "side" hand they use. I'll agree with others, it was pretty difficult growing up a lefty. I was one of the last in my class to pass the penmanship test......lol. I would always smear the ink as I wrote. For you righty's out there, we lefty's always spot another lefty right off when they right. Funny how cool it is to see someone else as a lefty.........blob
Posted by: riley80

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/24/14 10:50 AM

Good topic!! I was only yesterday discussing this with a fellow pianist-violist, and she didn't there that lefties would have any trouble playing, altho she DID know of someone who had a left handed violin.

The only lefty piano student I know was very awkward and gave it up. She was a very high IQ type, but piano wasn't her bag.
Posted by: ShannonG

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/24/14 11:10 AM

I've been reading this thread with interest as my almost 4 yr old daughter is clearly a lefty. She's just started playing with a 5 fingers instead of the 'hunt and peck' method and sometimes needs reminding to use her right hand. She's not using her left hand at all yet except for one song that has a single low note. Her teacher seems to feel she's doing well but it can't be due to her left hand dominance just yet.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/24/14 04:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Brad Hoehne
On these lines, I thought this concept was interesting- a left handed piano:


That would surely be a lot easier to do with a digital rather than acoustic.
Posted by: riley80

Re: Any left-handed pianist here? Advantages &disadvantages? - 03/25/14 09:09 PM

Lefties in my class were told to write LHCP on their penmanship tests. (Left Hand Class Pupil). Now that cursive isn't taught, those letters are back there with buggy whips.