The list of famous left-handed pianists is a who’s who, from 20th-century legends Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein and Glenn Gould to today’s keyboard masters Daniel Barenboim, Radu Lupu, Leif Ove Andsnes, Steven Blier, Richard Goode, Helene Grimaud … and many more.
Pianist Russell Young, director of Kennesaw State University’s opera and music theater program, believes being left-handed is an advantage for pianists.
‘You read music from the bottom up on the printed page,’ he says. ‘Once you have the bassline down you get a more solid idea of the foundation and chord patterns, since the top lines [for right hand] are often more free-form melody.’
Young also suspects that lefties have a learning advantage.
All piano students must overcome the two hands’ resistance to work separately; by having to work harder on what’s essentially a right-handed instrument, the neurons of left-handed pianists get an extra workout and thus grow stronger.” Samuel Wang, professor of neuroscience at Princeton University adds, “Pianists must coordinate the activity of both [brain] hemispheres, since each hemisphere is responsible for a separate hand.”