Almost everyone struggles more with the left hand (LH) than the right hand (RH) – especially in technical passages, and especially when the LH line is descending, moving from the stronger to the weaker part of the hand, “backwards” in a world that reads from left to right. When I’m hearing technique at a lesson, the LH is invariably weaker and less even than the RH, so I get the student to do the LH alone. Horror surfaces as they realize how weak the LH is on its own. (I do this repeatedly with the same students – I write “Practice LH alone” repeatedly in the same assignment books – and the dance continues…)
I think the reasons are fairly straightforward. Most people are right-hand dominant, we live in a right-handed world, and most music simply has more notes in the RH – the nature of so much music being a RH melody and LH accompaniment. All along the way the RH has gotten stronger.
At this point of the lesson, my students are suddenly wishing they were left-handed, thinking this would help. Not so. Over the years I’ve had a lot of lefties in my studio (I’m not, my daughter is) and with a couple of exceptions, I’ve seen virtually no difference in the technical difficulties that all students face. In the end it’s still the same amount of focused practice that is needed to get the fingers and hands equally strong. There’s no free ride.
Left-handed students do have certain strengths and weaknesses that are related to the whole left brain/right brain thing. Generally speaking, they see and learn holistically, have a better ability to memorize, have a more difficult time with the linear concepts of rhythm and a stronger sense of perfectionism. A very good article on these differences, and suggestions for teaching the left-handed student, appeared in the November 2011 edition of the MTNA ejournal. It’s something I should probably re-read every year.