Any left-handed pianists out there??

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by chanteuseCarey, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    I'm putting the call out here, as FL has members from all over the globe... I have wanted to take piano lessons and learn to play the piano for so long that I cannot even remember. This dream of mine has for all these years, due to circumstances and finances never been able to be realized. The timing in many ways seems perfect to do this now, at this point in my life.

    However, I have two strikes against me it seems with wanting to learn to play the piano- my age (I'm 51) and the fact that I am left-handed. Apparently (as I've very recently been told by a very excellent pianist and long time piano teacher) its almost impossible for a left-handed person to learn the piano, though there have been rare exceptions. Aside from the obvious non dominant hand being used to play the melody part of the piano, there are also issues with being right side brain thinker compared to left side brain thinker that come into play with learning this instrument. My age makes it harder to learn as compared to how easily a child can learn to play. I've been told the progress would be slow, and I may get very frustrated.

    If you are a left-hander and play the piano, please reply and tell me your experiences. I'd really like to hear from you!

    BTW, did you know that two gentlemen have created a left-hand piano, one in the U.K., the other in Germany?? The keyboard is reversed and so are the outside pedals. Check out these links:

    http://www.grand-illusions.com/articles/unusual_music/
    http://lefthandedpiano.co.uk/leftpianothree.wmv
     
  2. "Skeet" McD

    "Skeet" McD Practically Family

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    Dear CC: I am a professional musician, although a singer, not a pianist. Nonetheless, I have played piano since I was a teenager, play more than acceptably, and (most importantly) derive a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from my hours at the keyboard. So will you. Yes: I am left-handed.

    I hate to speak so definitively--it is not nice to call someone flat-out wrong, or worse--but your friend is completely wrong, both factually, and (more importantly) from a human standpoint. You will almost certainly not be God's gift to the piano (Heaven knows, I'm not!)...but I doubt very much you want to be, either! You want to play the piano, for your own enjoyment--and for those near and dear to you. I'm glad I'm not a student of that "long time teacher" and I advise you from the bottom of my heart to make sure YOU aren't one of his or her students, either.

    You can absolutely learn to play the piano! My long-time pianist, one of the best I have ever known (which is why our collaboration goes nearly 30 years) is of the opinion that left-handedness is a VIRTUE for a pianist; there are far more jumps in the bass than in the treble, where things go much more melodically.

    As for your age: well, admittedly, we do learn better as children...but you have a desire, and more discipline, than the average child. This will be an advantage to you.

    A dear friend of my teenage years was the son of a blacksmith in our small town....as was common in Irish families at that time (the 1920s) there was a "family band." Jim desperately wanted to play the piano...but one of his sisters was the pianist in the family, so Jim wasn't allowed. He was forced to play the fiddle, which he did...but never loved.

    Jim was a hard-handed working man himself, and when he retired at age 65, he did the two things he had always wanted to do: learn to play the piano, and learn to tap dance. He did both! You seem to have the dancing down already---if Jim could do it, so can you. Go follow your dream and play piano!

    "Skeet"
     
  3. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    Thanks Skeet, well and kindly spoken. I appreciate your input here very much!

    [QUOTE="Skeet" McD]Dear CC: ...You can absolutely learn to play the piano! My long-time pianist, one of the best I have ever known (which is why our collaboration goes nearly 30 years) is of the opinion that left-handedness is a VIRTUE for a pianist; there are far more jumps in the bass than in the treble, where things go much more melodically.

    As for your age: well, admittedly, we do learn better as children...but you have a desire, and more discipline, than the average child. This will be an advantage to you.

    A dear friend of my teenage years was the son of a blacksmith in our small town....as was common in Irish families at that time (the 1920s) there was a "family band." Jim desperately wanted to play the piano...but one of his sisters was the pianist in the family, so Jim wasn't allowed. He was forced to play the fiddle, which he did...but never loved.

    Jim was a hard-handed working man himself, and when he retired at age 65, he did the two things he had always wanted to do: learn to play the piano, and learn to tap dance. He did both! You seem to have the dancing down already---if Jim could do it, so can you. Go follow your dream and play piano!

    "Skeet"[/QUOTE]
     
  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Does your acquaintance also, perchance, tell left handed people that they swould be better off playing guitar right handed "because then your dominant hand is on the fretboard" and other such nonsense?

    I am left handed, and for some years in my youth took piano lessons. Alas I did not have the patience to practice with it back then - partly borne of not being much interested in music that involved a piano - and gave it up. Nevertheless, my experience was that it suited me as a left handed player. Playing the bass notes with my left and the harmony with my right still seems a totally natural way to do it, and the closest thing to playing guitar left handed, with my right hand fretting the notes and the strum or picking coming from my left. There are such things as left handed pianos - effectively the same instrument, strung the opposite way around - but I should not imagine that to be necessary for you. As to this business about our lefty brains being wired differently and therefore "not suited" to the piano: utter bunk. That we lefties are more biased towards the right hemisphere of our brains makes us more creative, it seems - perhaps a little jealousy of that fat causes this nonsensical view?

    If you want to play the piano, go for it. You may also wish to correct the typo in your initial post - surely a mistake that you are '51'? you don't look anywhere close!
     
  5. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    Edward, thank you for your helpful reply. Good to here from you. I do have the desire, commitment, and a passion to want to do this- very important qualities that will serve me well in learning I hope. It would be hard work and challenging surely, but I'm not afraid of hard work and a challenge doesn't scare me off. As a right brain thinker, I'm hoping those artistic and creative sides of my brain can be tapped for learning to play.

    Its not a typo, I really am fifty one! You are too kind. Must be all those expensive skin care lotions and potions I use;). I think having a little weight on keeps my skin plumped up, less wrinkles. That's my story and I'm sticking with it! I have an enthusiasm for life that keeps me young at heart, that helps too.

     
  6. Mrs. Merl

    Mrs. Merl Practically Family

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    Well, if it is any help...my sister is left handed and has always been the more musically talented in the family! But, a word of warning:p ...I asked for piano lessons and ended up inheriting my great grandmothers organ!! I have never been sure how exactly that came to be, piano lessons equaling me needing an organ. But, be sure to be on the lookout for organs needing homes, they may be forced upon you!
     
  7. Lily Powers

    Lily Powers Practically Family

    Carey, I'm not left handed, nor am I a piano player, but I saw a guy in a bar once... :)

    I just wanted to chime in on the discouraging words your friend said about your learning something new and fun. Yeah, you're 51 - you're also fabulous and enjoy life and next year you'll be 52. So what? I say, "go for it!" Learn the piano and if it doesn't suit you, then add the experience to your life resume and retell it in grand fashion at your next art deco party. You know Isobel Elsom would do the same! ;)
     
  8. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    Hey Carey,

    I'm a recreational jazz pianist. I write with my right hand, but I don't see how being left-handed would affect how you play the piano. I don't see how age would be a problem in playing the piano. All you need is decent eyesight, a certain level of dexterity and flexibility in the fingers, and an ear for music.

    Considering that my eyesight is less than perfect and I can play the piano, I don't see why you can't.
     
  9. Miss Golightly

    Miss Golightly Call Me a Cab

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    I'm left-handed and took piano lessons for a few years when I was a child and I wasn't that bad at all - just easily distracted - I ended up completely losing interest in playing and gave it up which I kind of regret now - being left-handed is not I feel, an impediment to being musically talented at all....best of luck!
     
  10. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    Lily Powers and Mrs. Merl, thanks for your replies. Both too funny...

    Thankfully there are no organs in the family closets waiting to be inherited!

    Yes, Isobel E. would share the story with aplomb! My husband and I are currently weighing an offer to co-chair the Volunteer Director position with the Art Deco Society, if we accept we'd attend every event... so I'd have lots of chances to share the story!

    I figure with taking lessons if all I could play after a year was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", that it would be at least played joyfully by me with a big grin on my face!
     
  11. Miss_Bella_Hell

    Miss_Bella_Hell My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Being left-handed definitely makes no difference. In fact, though left-handed I was always stronger on the treble clef than the bass clef while playing piano, though I think that's more because I'm so used to reading the treble clef from playing the flute.
     
  12. Lily Powers

    Lily Powers Practically Family

    "Organs in the family closet" opens up a very Vincent Price sort of visual in my mind. lol

    When I was 13, I babysat a couple of kids down the street from my house. Their mom would be out till the wee hours of the morning and while the little ones slept, I'd watch old movies (earliest memory of falling in love with the Golden Age was with Fred & Ginger in "The Gay Divorcee") and plunk out 1-fingered, play-it-by-ear versions of the tunes I'd hear. I will admit to a rather good version of "The Continental" and how much fun I had, so I can relate to your "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" thought!
     
  13. Babydoll

    Babydoll Call Me a Cab

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    My mother is left-handed, and plays the piano. She had a stroke nearly five years ago and her neurologist told her that she would not be able to play the piano as a result of the stroke. She's proved him wrong over and over. In fact, being a leftie *helped* her get back into piano playing after the stroke. The part of her brain that was effected by the stroke was the part that was for right-handed things. Left hand dominance to the rescue!!

    If you want to play, go for it!
     
  14. CliffG

    CliffG One of the Regulars

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    Kansas USA
    My mom is let handed and plays the piano just fine, she tried like crazy to teach me, but I was absolutely not going to learn to play the piano when I could be out side.
    By the way I have a step son who plays the piano/keyboard for a living, has played a lot of places in Europe.
    I say take lessons and prove you can learn the piano!
    Cliff
     
  15. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    Thanks babydoll, How encouraging this story about your mother is!!

     
  16. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    Thanks CliffG!

     
  17. chanteuseCarey

    chanteuseCarey Call Me a Cab

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    I went over to the local music shop and asked the clerk for a beginning adult piano book with hand exercises, music theory, and how to read music. He said the idea of it being almost impossible for lefties to learn piano is ridiculous. I'm going to start on the book tomorrow on my own after the kids are at school and the house is quiet.

    This evening my 13yo Daniel sat down with me at the piano (after following the book's advice to cut my fingernails short- those lovely long deco nails are now gone!) and worked on teaching me the middle C left and right hand up and down scales. Then he started teaching me a song section he's been working on. He said I was doing real well! He's my sweetheart of a boy:)

    Daniel's been taking lessons from this same teacher, and when I told him about what he said about left-handers and that my saying maybe he is not so sure he will teach me, Daniel said we'll just have to show him he's wrong! I just want to be given the opportunity to do that!

    I'm looking to snag a favorite Fred and & Ginger song from evilBay by George and Ira Gershwin called "They All Laughed" from the film Shall We Dance that I want to learn to play. Its lyrics are very appropriate to this particular situation... here's a few lines:

    "The odds were a hundred to one against me
    The world thought the heights were too high to climb...

    They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round
    They all laughed when Edison discovered sound...

    They laughed at me wanting you, said I was reaching for the moon
    But oh, you came through, now they'll have to change their tune...

    They all said we'd never get together, darling, let's take a bow
    For ho, ho, ho! Who's got the last laugh now?"
     
  18. Miss 1929

    Miss 1929 My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    What???????That wouldn't be our friend F would it?

    I can't believe it. Of course left handed people can play the piano. How utterly absurd.
    I am right handed but it doesn't stop me from being idiosyncratic on the piano...

    Love your new mannish avatar, btw!
     
  19. "Skeet" McD

    "Skeet" McD Practically Family

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    Dear CC,
    Good for you for going ahead and doing it! And how nice to have a son that will help you! Maybe HE should be your teacher....for a bit. I would advise you to study the "how to read music" a bit on your own...but do try to find a teacher (a SUPPORTIVE teacher) and have a few lessons at the very least... A good beginning is half the battle, and it is so much easier to learn the correct hand position, method of striking the keys, etc. right from the start than to have to unlearn and then relearn. There's nothing mystical about piano technique...but it pays to have someone who knows give you your first introduction.

    Or so I think. How about our own Miss 1929? You seem to be in the same neck of the woods....

    "Skeet"
     
  20. Dexter'sDame

    Dexter'sDame One of the Regulars

    Utterly ridiculous...

    C.C., if I may be so blunt, the piano teacher who said left-handed people can't play the piano made an utterly ridiculous statement.

    That would be like saying left-handed people can't type!

    Some people shouldn't teach...

    The beauty of an acoustic instrument is that each person's individuality plays a role in the sound: how hard or soft one person strikes each key or string as opposed to how hard or soft another person does; which fingers are stronger than others; which are more nimble; which fingers are less nimble (as this can create a pleasing softness of sound). All of these things work together create that person's uniqueness of sound and creates that person's individual style of playing.

    Anyone who would discourage that individuality may as well just train a robot to hit an electronic toy, because they'll get the same result.

    Enjoy every note, C.C.!
     

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