Pianists tend to complain that their left hands don’t feel as strong as their right, and students often ask me if they should be practising special exercises for the left hand alone to help their weaker hand catch up. Is it possible, though, to develop the left hand to be as agile as the right?

In 2011, Psychology Today published some interesting research that showed that whether a pianist identified as right- or left-handed, the performance of the right hand always displayed a higher degree of evenness and motor control than did the left hand. Also, the more practice time a left-handed player had accumulated, the better the performance of their right hand. 

There are many exercises, studies and repertoire pieces specifically composed for the left hand. Hermann Berens’ The Training of the Left Hand, op. 89 contains both exercises and studies (please see “further links & resources” below for my new video series on these exercises and studies), and there are many other resources listed on this Petrucci Library page.

Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major

As a further option, I decided to create a lightly edited version of Bach’s magnificent Cello Suite No. 1 in G major. This gives pianists an opportunity to familiarise themselves with a great work of art while developing their left hand technique. The edition contains several annotations, fingering and a few pedalling suggestions for each of the seven movements.

JS bach cello suite for developing left hand

How to Access It?

The full version of this study edition is available as part of our Annotated Study Editions bundle or with an annual subscription to the Practising the Piano Online Academy. If you already have an annual subscription to the Online Academy or own our study edition bundle then this new edition will be automatically added to your library.

Alternatively you can also sign-up here for a download of a free excerpt featuring the Allemande (2nd movement)!

Further Links & Resources

  • Berens Training of the Left Hand (Op. 89) – Click here to view video walk-throughs of selected exercises and studies by Berens showing how to use the studies effectively to develop left hand technique.
  • Online workshop – In this online workshop, Graham Fitch presented a range of exercises, studies, repertoire and practice techniques designed to improve left hand skills. Click here to purchase access to recordings and workshop resources.
  • Improving Your Left Hand – Click here to view a blog post with further exercises, practice tips and repertoire suggestions for the left hand.