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Best LH strength exercises (Read 683 times)

Offline scottpilgrim

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Best LH strength exercises
« on: August 07, 2021, 04:19:05 AM »
I've noticed that my left hand seems rather weak in comparison to my right, what are the best strengthening exercises for left hand? I have Pischna and Hanon exercise books if you have recommendations from those.
(Also is it in bad taste to post two questions quickly consecutively?

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Offline j_tour

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Re: Best LH strength exercises
«Reply #1 on: August 07, 2021, 05:01:09 AM »
(Also is it in bad taste to post two questions quickly consecutively?

No, not at all.  Besides, you're Scott Pilgrim, so getting with Mary Elizabeth Winstead means you pretty much rule.

Yeah, my LH is still comparatively weak at doing intricate scalar work.  It's extremely strong in a lot of other respects, but scalar passages:  that's what slows me down, chops wise.  Good enough for most repertoire I deal with, but not perfect, and still not equal to the RH in terms of speed at intricate pattern-work.

The only thing that's been giving me consistent (although slow) results is a combination of repertoire work which features the LH (either alone or in combination with the RH in unison or at various intervals) and simply executing scales for the LH alone or with the RH.

Or fragments of scales, or even melodies:  like, say, taking a 32-bar standard melody at very fast tempo, and putting it entirely into the LH or making a game of it by alternating the melody between hands.  For me, that's jazz tunes, but it could be something else.  I like "Donna Lee" starting in Ab and transposing up and down, tunes like "Parisian Thoroughfare," any and all "rhythm changes" tunes in Bb, and improvising at the octave HT, or just LH solo. 

Could be any melody, though:  those are just ones I like personally.

This presumes knowing the absolute best fingerings, adapted for your own hand, which is also going to vary depending on the patterns one is executing.

There are certainly some specific pieces of repertoire or even melodies that I favor for this ongoing challenge, but it's a really wide range of pieces that will challenge you, so, I'd say you could make your choice:  it's really a fundamentals type of question which can be adapted to what you're playing at the moment.

As for exercises written out?  There are quite a few good ones in various bits from Czerny, but they're really just echoes from moments in Beethoven.

You could try the Moszkowski G minor étude if you like:  it's pretty musical, and certainly will give you something to practice.  About as difficult as the Chopin "Revolutionary," except it doesn't drone on forever and ever.  IMHO.

I personally have preferred to isolate the technical or mechanical aspect, and incorporate any results into a revolving door of pieces from repertoire or even just improvisation, but that's really down to how you prefer to work.

And I did develop a tendon problem (since healed) by overdoing it with the G major Chopin prélude by forcing myself into a technique which wasn't correct for me, so you should probably avoid strain at all costs:  that's the main reason I'd insist on looking very objectively at your technique while deciding the correct approach, and not be mesmerized by the flashy appearances of various pieces and the temptation to play a given piece at full tempo (that is, making it sound "good" and perhaps fluffing over some details with the pedal) without having the correct mechanics isolated and mastered.

Not that the Chopin prélude is especially difficult, but there are a few uncommon adaptations one must make for the LH, played as quickly as possible, without pedal, except maybe a light "splash" on each downbeat of the bar to assist with the RH melody ringing out, and for overall effect.

/* That said, I don't know exactly what aspects of your LH needs work:  for all I know, you may be struggling with wide leaps, and not scalar passages, or need help making larger intervals playable for your hand, which can also be addressed, but in slightly different ways. */
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Best LH strength exercises
«Reply #2 on: August 07, 2021, 10:22:25 AM »
See if you like Brahms' transcription of the Bach D minor Chaconne for the left hand. It's got lots to work on, fast scalar passages, arpeggios, wide, rolled chords, voicing, it's great. I hurt mu right hand a few years ago (from stacking firewood, not piano playing) and learned this piece and it greatly improved my left hand. It's also just a beautiful piece of music.




Offline anacrusis

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Re: Best LH strength exercises
«Reply #3 on: August 07, 2021, 05:25:27 PM »
I think strengthening is a bit of a misnomer, but if you mean improving coordination I'd advice you to play pieces that put more focus on the left hand to develop your skill in using it!

Offline lelle

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Re: Best LH strength exercises
«Reply #4 on: August 09, 2021, 11:02:26 PM »
I agree  with the above posters. You could do something as simple as check out some collections with Czerny exercises and pick those that focus on the left hand. I did that a few years ago and it was certainly enlightening on how deficient my left hand was.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Best LH strength exercises
«Reply #5 on: August 10, 2021, 02:48:28 AM »
I agree  with the above posters. You could do something as simple as check out some collections with Czerny exercises and pick those that focus on the left hand. I did that a few years ago and it was certainly enlightening on how deficient my left hand was.

Out of curiosity, since I too have gained something from several of the Czernys (I don't remember which ones), while fully hearing or recognizing their derivation from repertoire:

Have you ever tried the Brahms-Bach Chaconne (dm)? 

I'm not suggesting it, as though I'd "recommend" something to you, but it is ... well, most anything one would want to do in LH. 

It's such a long a piece to sight read though, and I'd have a more comfortable conscience recommending more manageable sections from, particularly Beethoven and Bach, when it comes to strong scalar passages that must be integrated within the whole.

What are your thoughts on the Brahms-Bach chaconne as a pedagogical tool? 

As I said, I think it's far too lengthy and disparate a work to be really a serious suggestion, but I'm curious about your opinion.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline dogperson

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Re: Best LH strength exercises
«Reply #6 on: August 10, 2021, 02:59:39 AM »
I am LH dominant. but a few years ago I realized my LH had
suddenly become quite lazy— do I downloaded a couple of Godiwsky’s waltz poems for the LH alone.

I could almost hear my LH scream ‘stop! I’ll behave if you stop’
It was what I needed.