Left Hand Piano Exercises

Improve Your Technique With Fun Classical Pieces & Left Hand Piano Exercises

Most of us struggle to get our left hand to do what we want at the piano, especially if we are right handed. I have struggled a lot with my left hand technique so I’m excited to share some tips that have helped me master advanced repertoire like Chopin Etudes and experience successful performances at venues like Carnegie Hall.

Today I’m going to talk about 4 tips for building your left hand strength and speed. I’ll also share some incredibly fun, intermediate classical piano pieces that will help you with your left hand dexterity.

TIP 1: EXERCISE THE LEFT HAND MORE

You’ve probably noticed that in most pieces, the right hand carries the melody while the left hand plays chords. The right hand frequently plays fast passages but the left hand isn’t challenged the same way technically. So one solution is to put our left hand to work!

I recommend that you include technique exercises in your daily practice. If you practice with books like Hanon, you’ll challenge your left hand with fast passages that will build strength and speed. I recommend exercises books because they challenge us with variety. It’s difficult to come up with our own ideas for exercises.

When you’re practicing exercises, work on the left hand separately 2-3 times as much as you play the right hand or hands together. Many concert pianists spend hours practicing their left hand separately in order to make it more equal to their right hand.

TIP 2: PRACTICE PIECES THAT WILL CHALLENGE YOUR LEFT HAND

If you aren’t excited about technique books, I understand! The good news is that there are a lot of great pieces you can practice to improve your left hand dexterity AND your musicality at the same time. Here’s a few intermediate classical piano pieces that my students love:

Bach Prelude in c minor BWV 847 – Bach is important to include in your practicing because it demands precise finger work and coordination and the left hand usually plays an equal role.

Chopin Prelude in B minor Op. 28 No. 6 – In this Chopin Prelude, the left hand plays a significant role and you have to work to voice the left hand melody.

It has really helped me to learn pieces from the impressionist period. In order to get that light, dreamy sound in Debussy, I’ve had to work on relaxing my arms and hands and play with my fingertips. In Debussy’s Clair de Lune, the left hand has many flowing, broken chord patterns that require strength and evenness.

TIP 3: RELAX YOUR LEFT HAND

When you find left hand challenges in your pieces, practice the left hand separately a lot. Use wrist movement to keep your left hand relaxed. In Mozart’s “Sonata in C Major” (K. 545, 1st movement) I use a rocking motion (think of opening a door knob) in my left hand to help with the alberti bass. The left hand in this sonata has a lot of fast scales and alberti bass, so it’s great for building agility and speed!

Work on an up down wrist motion for places like fast octaves and chords to keep your left hand relaxed. Khachaturian’s Sonatina in C Major is a great piece to work on this motion.

It takes practice and time to learn how to move your wrist like this. But I promise it’s a game changer!

TIP 4: RELAX YOUR BODY

In difficult sections, I tend to clench my teeth, raise my shoulders and tense up my hands which ruins my technique. It really helps me to keep my mouth open a little as a reminder to stay relaxed. Also, during my practice session, I repeat difficult sections several times in a row with the primary focus of keeping my hands, arms and body relaxed. This repetition helps me create new habits of staying loose and relaxed.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS VIDEO:

  • Which exercise books & pieces will improve your left hand dexterity
  • Discover FUN intermediate classical piano pieces to improve your technique
  • Watch short performance clips of these FUN classical piano pieces
  • Proper wrist motion to keep your left hand relaxed

 

Still curious about left hand piano exercises & how to improve your technique?

Click here to watch!

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