Problems for left handed children with musical instruments
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Left-Handers School Experiences Survey
Analysis of results:
Comments on musical instruments

This is the full list of comments people made about problems with learning to play various musical instruments.

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A lot of musical instruments are aimed for right-handed people, so when I would try to learn (E.G. the guitar) I would have to flip it so that it was left-handed...but then the strings were upside down...and left-handed guitars are more expensive then right-handed guitars, even thought all they really have to do is put the strings in the opposite way. )=-[
A set of Drums (Phil Collins plays left handed & sets his drums up in left-handed position), I have difficulty with this because I find it easier for my feet to have the pedals (bass drum & hi-hit) as for a rt-hander/footer.
accommodations or modifications often have to be made. At L.handed people's expense.
accordion and banjo
Actually, it made playing cello easier, because (once you get past the beginning stages) the left hand actually requires more fine-motor coordination.
actually, the only instrument we were ever required to play was the recorder, and it was required that everybody use their left hand on top
Adapting to violin.
All instruments I have played I have been self taught, as right handers can't adapt.
all string instruments are hard to play. Almost need two left hands to play. Right hand just feels weird.
all of the products available are right handed
Also played the base guitar but right-handed.
also se above concerning (recorder) flute
although I have never played the flute or clarinet, I can see how left handers would have problems when playing notes, as most left handers would feel the need to play the notes in a reverse position to the 'norm'
always a problem trying to position my fingers in the correct manner, with the same dexterity.
always gave as I was encouraged to go right handed
always make you play RH
Always saw right handed players so naturally picked it up that way.
any stringed instructions is difficult.
Are there any really good piano left-handers?
As a child, tried to play accordion and had to stop
as a child,played piano,viola,french horn,glockenspiel.
as learning a musical instrument can be difficult in itself, u play the way you are taught
balancing a flute without hitting the next person was sometimes a challenge, but actually pretty funny for the teachers.
because left handed instruments are fare less common
Been taught drumming right handed style
Bowing on a violin is difficult to control though fingering is quite easy.
Brass instruments most have right hand valves.
but I have adopted to music right-handed because I'm not that bothered when I think about it, cause there is no point and trying to play left now cause I am good enough as it is playing right.
Can't play a flute left handed because of the mouthpiece. There are no left handed flutes
Clarinet and recorder easy coz you have to put your left hand at the top and I do it automatically.
Cutting (in general), playing sports
Difficult to follow instruction - always for right handed people
doesn't make a difference for trumpet
don't play
drum kits are awkward if you want to swap them around to a left handed position
Drum Kits are backwards
Drum kits are very awkward and piano's are backwards. The accordion never really felt right. And holding a trumpet can give you a blister.
drumming was hard to begin with
Drums - you have to change the kit around to play it left-handed
drums because of reversed sticking
Drums have to be set up specifically
drums wrong way round
Drums. AGain -- for portability, Dad insists on right handed configuration.
drums... oddly.
easier to play chords on keyboard but hard to learn to play rhythm right handed
Edward doesn't play any other instrument but his sister plays clarinet. She started with the flute but found holding it awkward and unbalanced plus the fingering for her hands seemed clumsy for her. With the clarinet it's held in the centre of the body and she has learnt the fingering for playing right-handedly. As she started learning at an early age she has just automatically taken to the fingering she's been taught - it hasn't hampered her progress as she's now at Grade 4 level at the age of 12.
Even the piano as my left hand works better than my right hand somehow.
Every instrument I try to play is too hard to do right-handed.
everything I do seems backwards.
Except for the French Horn, there aren't any other brass instruments.
flute and cornet - I have to use my right hand to play the notes rather than my left
Flute is on opposite side causing bumping into those next to you.
Flute or blowing instruments (reading music)
flute? clarinet? was ok...
For piano, it initially made playing more difficult. However, in harder pieces, often it is the left hander that has an advantage since many right handers are not adapted to doing things with their left.
Gosh, I'd sure like to think that I can't play an instrument cuz I'm a lefty! I took piano lessons, still can't play much. Not sure I can blame that on being left handed.
Guitar and ukelele which I had to do for an arts ed. class
had to buy left-handed guitar
Harder to learn piano (my right hand is not as fast as it should be)
harder to play keyboard/piano
He prefers to play the organ
Heh, I started self-teaching myself the violin. It was a while before I figured out that things weren't working because I was actually playing the thing left-handed.
holding tennis/hockey equipment or any thing requiring a bat.
I also play flute which seems to lend itself to lefties. All of the more complicated fingering is done with the left hand. I very seldom play bass any more. I'm a big Jethro Tull and anyway.
I always felt that it would be more comfortable if I strummed the strings with my left hand, strumming with my right hand made it so hard for me at the beginning I even hated the guitar!
I can play the keyboard, clarinet, recorder and alto sax just fine
I compose music with help of a keyboard and record pieces of music on my computer to full songs.

Because I am left-handed, my best hand plays the bass parts and my right hand plays chords. So I play melodic bass parts combine with more static (but harmonic) chord parts.

Right-handed people usually play static chords progressively with their left hand and a more dynamic melody with their (good) right hand.

This all because the keys of keyboard, piano's etc. have the deeper notes at the left and the higher at the right side.

I never saw a keyboard with the keys reversed arranged, although this change is not difficult to program in this digital era.
I don't know, because I haven't seen a lefty flute yet.
I don't play any other instruments
I don't play instruments.
i don't play other then a guitar.
I figured using my left hand for fretting would be better than for picking the strings.
I find I can actually play flute the conventional way as well as backwards - which no one else is able to do due to co-ordination difficulties.
i found it difficult with the clarinet
I found it quite useful when playing the cello as it was handy being able to do the fingering with my dominant hand. Also, I think I find the piano easier. I am able to play chords and left handed melodies very easily and because I am used to having to use my right hand more than I think right-handers use their left I can usually play both parts easily.
I found my two drum kit teachers were both unwilling to allow me to learn to play left handed, both forcing me to play right handed, which I don't find particularly natural, leading me to teach myself to play left handed.
I found that learning the fiddle was quite ok as my left hand was used for the strings and my right for the bow.
I gave up trying to play anything as none of the instructors could cope with my left handed approach
I had piano lessons for 8 years and learned to play quite well.
I had to learn to play the viola, and I was forced to hold the bow with my right hand which actually made things a bit more difficult. I wanted very much to hold the bow in my left hand and hold the viola with my right hand. The teacher told me that it just wasn't possible, that I couldn't re-string the instrument and that the school didn't have left-handed ones. It made playing it a little more tough for me. It was also the same when I learned how to play the cello, because I had to use my right hand to hold the bow and left hand to hold the cello. It was very awkward.
I have adapted with the trombone, but my right hand does do all the moving.
I have less control of picking individual strings w/my's awkward
I have never thought that being left handed would make playing instruments harder. I have played the tenor horn for 3 years and accounted no problems. However I do think that it would be a lot easier if I could play it left handed.
I have played the trombone for 12 years. After the first few months of putting the trombone together backwards so I could slide with my left hand, I have adapted to playing the instrument right-handed.
I have played the violin for 6 years and it was hard at first but now it is fine
i have to play my violin in the right handed way and my right arm often aches
I have tried to play the guitar and the violin but nobody will take the time to show me how. Everything is backwards so everyone gets frustrated easily
I just learned.
I learned percussion at school but I always confused the left with the right hand
I never really tried very many instruments so it was hard for me to say!
I only played drums I steered away from any other.
I only played the recorder and also the accordion - I never had a problem
I played bass (base) in a band in high school, and I had to make due, as left handed instruments are not only hard to find, but much more expensive
I play a brass instrument and I learned right handed so it is no longer difficult.
I play a clarinet, so left-hand is first anyway.
I play cello flute and piano. being left handed isn't a problem for any of those.
i play clarinet and the teacher has to show me different ways to play notes to make it easier for me
I play clawhammer banjo, where a lot of the work is done by the left hand on the fingerboard. In this case, being left handed is actually an advantage, when playing a "right-handed" banjo.
I play drums and I do the configuration? accordingly.
I play flute and recorder.
I play flute and sometimes I do things the opposite way as other people.
I play Flute, Recorder and Keyboards - no especial problems noted........
I play percussion. When you have to begin a right started roll, that's hard. But its vice versa for a right hander, so there's always the challenge
i play piano and it took me a long time to get used to playing the melody in my right hand
I play piano and saxophone. I have not had a problem.
I play piano just fine.
I play piano, and left hand is primarily chords and rhythm, while right hand is for melody and tricky passages - I haven't yet got the fluidity needed on the right for the runs and trills.
I play piano, but it doesn't make a difference
i play piano, organ, cello, and guitar..if anything it has helped me..i have an advantage because my left hand is stronger
I play the clarinet and the flute without problems. However, when I play the piano my left-handed playing always sounds too loud.
I play the flute; I think you find music easier if you are left handed!
I play the piano
I play the piano and I think that's a good left-handed instrument because depending on the song the melody could be in either the left or right hand.
I play the piano and when playing most songs the left hand should be quiet than the right but my left hand is more stronger so it makes it more hard to get the balance correct.
i play the piano at a higher standard than most people at my age. however, I do have problems with dynamics
I play the piano mainly. I also goof up on dynamics because my left hand is use to being dominate, but the melody normally comes from the right hand. It is a problem whenever I am judged.
I play the piano, and as the right hand plays the melody it was hard for me to learn, but luckily at the moment I play better with my right than with my left due to practice
I play the treble on a piano with my left hand and cannot play the bass I .e. both-hand playing. Also, I used to have drum lessons and the first 10 minutes were spent swapping the drums and cymbals round for left handed playing.
I play the trombone, and it was difficult for me to grasp the holding technique.
I play the trumpet you have to use you left hand to push the valves down any way so it was easier for me than right handed people
I play trumpet, no problems fingering with right hand.
i play viola, but I prefer my better left hand to play the notes, and let my right hand bow.
I play violin and had to get a specially adapted left-handed violin. I also had to teach myself to play both violin and guitar, since the teachers struggled to explain chords 'backwards'
i played clarinet and the left hand was at the top of the instrument, I thought that was fine.
I played coronet (trumpet) in school which is a right-handed instrument. I adapted to learn the fingerings with my right hand.
I played French Horn b/c it was left handed
I played the piano for 6 years, and I had to practice much more to reach the same level
I played the piano. It did not matter if you where right handed or left handed.
I played the trombone, but I never had an issue playing it as originally designed. It would not have been difficult to move the slide to a left-handed position, however.
I played the violin when I was eight for a couple of months, but lost interest as I had to adapt to using it right handed.
I played trumpet for a long time and it made it hard to try to learn to play with my right hand
I played trumpet for eight years. The first time I picked up my trumpet I picked it up with my left hand on the valves and my instructor told me I had to play the valves with my right hand. It felt uncomfortable but slowly I learned how to do it and I could play it just like the other kids.
I played Trumpet in band class and the teacher was angry when I held the trumpet "wrong" to I could press the buttons with my left hand
I played viola, and the traditional "right-handed" way is bowing with the right hand and fingering with the left. I found this actually worked well as a leftie, because fingering requires more dexterity than bowing does.
I remember struggling with learning to play the violin in the beginning but eventually moved on to play the cello and viola as well and a few percussion instruments in band so it might have been easier and I might have excelled more if I had been allowed to learn left-handed but I managed and played in a few children's symphony groups when I was young.
i started playing the harp when I was in the 5th grade and I always switched so that my dominant hand was my left hand but my teacher always made me switch because harps are made for right handed people.
I struggled to play the flute for a while because it felt weird.
I tend to set up drum kits a little "weird" compared to righties.
I think being left handed interferes with piano coordination and also has always interfered with my reading skills. I tend to look at a word in the center and try to read it back to the front. I am a University teacher but a slow reader. University was very difficult for me!
I think it has made me more artistic, so no - I think I have learned to adapt and think quickly because of it. Maybe used both hands a little better than right handers
i think lefties are naturally adaptive to the right handed world and plus us being in our right mind, we hare very artistic and musically talented. So I don't agree with all that... I think if we didn't feel comfortable with using our right hand for most of the work..we would make it to fit our comfort level.
I took piano lessons growing up. The left hand always carries the harmony, and therefore should be more muted. This was hard for me!
I try to help my daughter with her violin and I am always backwards on the strings. I know it can be switched but it is her violin and it makes it very difficult to help.
i used to play the clarinet my teacher told me that I could play the notes right so I had top quit
I used to try and reverse my piano playing to lead with the left and play chords with the right.
I usually play them with the right hand
i wanted to play the recorder left handed but the teacher made me play right handed which took longer to learn
I was once singled out (and humiliated) by my music teacher because I was holding my ukelele backwards to the other (right-handed) students. It was hard sometimes, being the only lefty in my class.
I was taught the violin from an early age so have grown up with it.
i would like to play violin eventually, and I don't see how that could happen.
I'm a musician by trade, and I've played most instruments (accordion, flute, guitar, piano, cello, violin, viola, trumpet, saxophone, etc) and I have never had any difficulty. The guitar was a bit of a challenge, but it was really more that I had trouble with the frets than the position of the body. I daresay, it's easier to play when my dominant hand is doing the fretwork, though.
impossible to play violin
In fact it has made doing vibrato on the violin easier.
in music class when we play recorder first left hand then right
in piano I was always taught to have the right had stronger but naturally my left hand ALWAYS plays louder and even after six years of lessons I still struggle
In piano my least dominate hand had to do melody...that took some trying.
In the early stages of holding a flute. My control over the fingering took a bit longer than average to develop.
Instructions based on the right-handed concepts.
It hasn't been any harder or easier learning to play the instrument. I personally think I have an advantage of a more active left hand over all the others.
it is hard to read cords because they are printed for right-handed players. It is hard to play guitar in school because they have only one very old left handed guitar
It made it hard to learn guitar so I gave up. It does make it easier to play clarinet though, as your left hand is on the top of the clarinet.
It made the violin seem strange to start with, but I got used to it after a while.
It used to when I played the keyboard at first but I picked up right handed way quickly. When I played sax it was hard
It was difficult to adjust to playing the bass properly.
I've been taking violin lessons for almost two years now and I just can't do it, my teacher is uncooperative and he won't teach me left handed so I've been trying right handed and it's just awful
Just beat It into submission
Keyboard because the the keyboard is set out for right handers
Keyboard/piano I was made to use my right hand which I found difficult and it took me twice as long as every one else to get started
Lack of dexterity has made any instrument I've tried difficult
learning Piano
learning violin
Left handed guitars are more expensive.
left-handed guitar, but the chords in right position; the 6th chord down and the 1th up
Most instruments are hard to play unless they are left handed
Most instruments require the right hand to be more dexterous (which isn't a pun!) The piano is an obvious example, but even a trumpet is difficult to play left-handed.
most of the keys on the piano are used with your right hand when you are not as experienced in playing
most string instrument were a problem even the double bass as you were stood the wrong side of that if the teacher let you
My fiance? is a violinist and tells me I can't play the violin like I play the guitar, because at the symphony I'd poke someone's eye out. I still believe it's possible and I WILL manage to do it one day
my main instrument is clarinet and it is very good for lefties
My parents discouraged me from taking guitar or violin lessons because there was not a left-handed teacher to show me the correct way to do it.
my tuba, I was hard.
never tried to play any other instrument besides guitar.
no comparison to make the choice
No, although learning French Horn was nice:) Because you use the left hand
Not allowed to play cello!!
Not at all. After playing Trumpet for ten years, being left-handed has helped me. I can play one-handed and take notes in my music at the same time.
Not with the Guitar. Found that I was better at finger picking.
often just placement of hands. I don't think the teachers ever noticed I was left handed. They just told me to practice harder
on a keyboard I am more confident with my left hand, however the majority of notes I needed to use at school were done by the right hand
on keyboards, when the teacher tells us to put our thumb on C, I put my left hand on, and are told to correct it
On the instrument I play (oboe) , the left hand is the dominant hand
only played the guitar, gave up hope on the other instruments as they were right handed.
other string instruments like violins. I have never seen a left-handed violin.
Piano - right hand plays melody, trumpet - right hand presses valves.
Piano - when I first started learning, the more difficult parts were played with the right hand and I found it more difficult than when playing with my left hand.
Piano and stretching hand
Piano- left hand tends to play too hard on bass line
Piano music is written for the right handed
piano require louder sound from right hand most of the time, but lefties have stronger left hand so it never works for me.
Piano seems backwards. I would like to do rhythm/bass with right hand, melody with the left. I took lessons but never was good...
Piano- usually need the left hand to be lighter which is harder as its a stronger hand.
piano, but I have got used to it now!! it would be good to play the tune part with left hand instead of right
piano, I wanted to play with the opposite hand positions
Piano, left hand is always too loud
Piano, left hand is always too loud
Piano, RH always has more dominant, complicated parts to play.
Piano, told by piano teacher that I would never be good because I am left-handed
Pipe. An, in addition I can say that left pipes are much more expensive than right pipes
play both saxophone and clarinet - both use both hands so no problems
play clarinet
play cornet with no problems
Play piano
Play piano, which isn't a problem at all.
Play the piano but never found being left handed a problem.
Played brass instruments - no problems.
played drums
Played recorder and had my hands the other way round so didn't quite cover the last hole
Played the flute in school and I remember being the only one with it pointed the "wrong" direction.
playing a woodwind bearing the weight of the instrument on the right hand is tough because it is not as strong as the left
playing anything is hard, because so many things lean to the right
playing other instruments is the same as right handers - no problems
Playing the Bass Drum in marching band and concert band is much more challenging for a lefty. In marching band most of the difficult beats are on the right hand since it is easier for the majority of the group. In concert band the bass drum is made so only your right hand can hit it.
playing the drums see previous comment
Playing the piano requires both hands.
Playing the piano was a little difficult, because the melodies I played with the left hand always sounded louder than the melodies played with the right one. So main melody always sounded not that loud. Playing a violoncello for right handers is no problem for me.
Playing the violin - using the bow (right hand) was more difficult, but fingering using the left was easier, and is more accurate. Playing the piano, using chords with the left hand is easier, since the left hand is stronger the keys could be pressed harder to make the chords louder louder, but the melody with the weaker right hand was a little problem
Plays recorder - mum never considered whether this might be a problem! Will ask tonight!
Prevented me from learning the violin.
Quite the opposite - I play piano and even though I'm left-handed, my right hand is more diligent, but my left-handedness helps me to be strong in the left hand (also with chords).
Reading chord charts are quite difficult as they are oriented for the right-handed player, so as you read them you have to reverse them in your head.
recorder at school
Recorder- it's harder to hold and it feels unnatural with the right hand on top. Guitar- it's harder to strum power chords with right hand.
Recorder, teacher found it difficult to instruct on hand positions
Saxophone& clarinet
see previous answer re brass instruments
sometimes it's easier for fingering particularly woodwind instruments.
Sometimes, it depends a lot on the instrument. I play the flute and have no problems.But I do have problems in playing the drums or percussion
started to learn flute but couldn't do it!
Teacher only tells us how to use right hand, so I can't use the left
that hand is more dominant - play piano and oboe.
that's the reason I never learned how to play guitar
The flute required me to strengthen my right side..didn't feel natural in the beginning (5th grade)
The piano. My guitar teacher is right handed and gives me the chords in right handed notation. Mum bought me a book of left -written chords
The recorder in elementary school- had to play right handed
The school doesn't provided left handed instruments so I have to trail my lefty bass gui tat into school all the time and its unfair because it my GCSE and I shouldn't have to really. This means if I want to take up a instrument I have to fork out the hundred odd ?? to pay for it. hence why I only learn one thing! It a good job my teacher is multi talented , left show he is :) and has the ability to teach me
the trumpet the design bars you from using the left hand to push the keys. and I would also find the piano easier to play left handed (with the top notes on the left hand side)
The violin is so much harder if you're left-handed. The bow hand is usually the hardest, because you have to have the right speed, weight, directing, placing, and left-hander's have to use their less dominant hand
the violin was hard to play cause it was right handed
tried to play the flute in high school, was difficult
trumpet and drums.
Trumpet is just fine. Though, it's impossible to know what a left-handed trumpet would feel like.
Trumpets, Piano
Useless at music
usually the people that teach are right handed so they are showing you in effect (back to front).
Very bottom heavy when playing the piano. Right handers emphasise the top line, the melody, where as I always favoured the accompaniment
very much so.
Violin - lots of practice made good!
Violin - wasn't allowed to learn - pianist now
Violin & recorder
Violin as bow is in wrong (right) hand and it is difficult to achieve accurate bowing techniques
violin, piano
Violin; because I usually hold the bow with my left hand.
violin I can't hold the bow in right hand
Was made to play violin right-handed because otherwise I'd knock into people. I agree but I also probably would have less trouble with the bow left-handed...
Way more difficult. Books and lessons are all backwards. And the strings are upside down...I can play the flute too and that was extremely difficult to try to train my right hand to move quickly
well I 'm not really sure, it could just be because I 'm a beginner and don't know how to play much but I find it harder to hold the pick in my right hand
When I began learning the piano my left hand always came out louder than my right (usually the wrong way around!)and although I am now used to it it can still be annoying! Brass instruments (I play the tuba) are also, frustratingly designed for right-handers
When I took piano guitar I had such a hard time adjusting to the way I need to be playing.
when I was younger being able to play quietly on the piano with my left hand was an issue.
when learning piano my teacher focused more on right hand positions than left
When learning the recorder in Primary school no one noticed that I had my hands round the wrong way. It wasn't until I started learning the more tricky notes that we realised I couldn't get the note because my fingers were the wrong way round!
When performing in front of school, I have to put the flute the opposite direction.
When playing the piano I would bash out the left-hand parts far too loudly!
When we play the keyboard/piano we have to use our right hands to play the tune as the right hand should be used for playing chords .I find it quite hard to play more complicated melodies right handed.
While playing bass (see previous) bow control is especially difficult since it is held with the right hand and I can't control it as well, learning techniques is difficult
whilst learning to play the recorder got hands and fingers muddled up
Would love to learn other instruments but can't find/afford lefthanded violins, flutes etc.
Wrong hand with recorder meant the last finger holes were on the wrong side
Yes and No. I play the clarinet and its actually a pretty versatile instrument. However when it's better to use the right hand to play specific notes I would rather play on the left side. (For some notes, there are 2 different keys you can push to make the same note)
YES!! The piano!! It is so hard to play with the right hand 4th and 5th fingers because I am left handed and I have to do special exercises!!
Yes, I've always wanted to learn the guitar, but the backwardsness of the strings has been a headache.
Yes. You think right-to-left to achieve higher notes. This make the piano backwards! I have had a bad time with a Saxophone. Can't find a left handed violin.
You get confused on where exactly to put fingers playing flute

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