Do you ever feel like every piece you learn that your left hand is the hand that’s holding you back? Parts just take longer to learn and whenever you compare it to your right hand parts, it’s just always just lagging behind?
In this short video Jazer shares with you a concept that one of his old teachers taught him that drastically improves left hand playing and also the way that you think about the left hand. It’s a really simple concept but I really think it can change your life.
For example, if I ask you to do a really simple, let’s say five note thing do that little exercise with your right hand and your left hand… Now I’m speaking to the right-handers here. But if you’re like most people, the left hand will feel harder than the right hand.
And, of course, the left-handers are switched around. Even after 18 years of playing this instrument I still feel like my left hand is lagging behind my right hand. You may notice in piano music, the right hand generally has more technically challenging parts than the left hand. You can see the right hand has more of a melodious fast part and the left hand was more of an accompanying part with chords and it sort of just stays in one position. Unlike the right hand which moves around.
Now, of course, this depends from piece to piece but with most pieces left hand is generally playing an accompaniment part and the right hand is playing more of a flashy and melodious part.
This causes many people to think that the right hand is more important than the left hand. If you’re watching this video, it means you care about your piano progress. And if you want to progress further up in piano we really need to discuss and dispel this idea that right hand is more important than left hand.
Here’s the concept that one of my older teachers taught me in the past and that’s to think about your two hands as two different individual instrumentalists. Let me explain what I mean. Imagine if within your two hands your right hand represents a violinist and your left hand represents a cellist. Imagine if you had a piece of music written for violin and cello.
And you went to the violinist and you said “Hey Mr. Violinist! Here you go, here’s your music. You have a part that’s melodious and is going to be very obvious to the audience. So, why don’t you practice a lot and try not to make any mistakes?”
And then you went to the cellist and you said “Hey, Mr. Cellist! You have the cello part. And because your part is the accompaniment part, don’t even worry about practicing it. Just wing it!”
“In fact ,why don’t you just go have a beer. And just rock up at the concert and just wing it.” Now that story probably sounds a bit ridiculous but more often than not, I think in my years of teaching students and also reflecting myself as a student I think lots of students think about right and left hand this way.
That somehow because the left hand is an accompaniment part, it is less important and requires less practice than the right hand. My takeaway advice for you in this video, is to think about your left hand parts just the same way as the cellist would think about his individual part.
To prioritize and practice it just like if it were the only part that you needed to play. After I learned this concept from my teacher, I started to do individual left hand practice a lot more and that improved my piano playing tremendously. Congrats on making it to this part of the video! I want to now share with you two bonus reasons about why there is something to be said about prioritizing left hand more than your right hand. As we mentioned earlier, the right hand generally speaking has a more technical part than the left hand.
The first reason of why you would really want to prioritize mastering your left hand part is because once you have done that then you can focus a little bit more on the technically challenging right hand part when you’re playing the piano. When you’re executing a piano piece, especially if it’s complex, one your brain has very little real estate to allocate to thinking about the many things you need to when playing it. So when you master the left hand, you’re just allocating a little bit more space for your brain to then think about what the right hand needs to do. The more (brain) real estate space you can dedicate to your right hand, the better you’ll play it. The second reason about why you would want to prioritize your left hand, and this is something not many people think about, is that the left hand often is the rhythm keeping part of the piece.
When you give extra practice to the left hand and try to master it, you are giving your entire piece of music a much better bass and a strong sense of rhythm. And that strong foundation, that strong rhythmical foundation inevitably will help you to play your right hand part better.
I think about left hand as the foundation of the huge building. When you have a great foundation you can build a very, very tall building. In conclusion, as you progress in your piano playing I want you to remember this concept of thinking about your right and your left hand as different instrumentalists. And always try to give priority to the weaker hand just as you would if that was the only part you had to play.
Trying to play the piano with two hands expertly is quite a challenge. More often than not, the right hand gets more love and attention when it comes to practice than the left hand. In this video, I will outline reasons why the left hand should be prioritized as well when it comes to practice and proficiency. Find out why in the video above.
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