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What is the problem with a left-handed person playing a left-handed string instruments (bowing with left hand), and a right handed person playing the traditional ones made for right-handers? I am a lefty force writing righty that knows the challenges of lefties, as I am actually one of them. I play the flute, guitar, and piano so, I consider myself a musician.

Here's why I am writing this: 2-days ago my left-handed niece got her first instrument, a cello for her classes at school, a right-handed one of course. I called the store told them we needed to exchange it for a left-handed one. I was shocked when the man informed me that they don't make left-handed ones. Are you kidding me, in 2012 they don't make them? He then further goes on to inform me that it's an advantage for her since she fingers with her left-hand, plus she wouldn't be able to play in a professional orchestra...lol. This is one of the spews I have been reading over and over as reasons lefties should play a traditional string instrument. I have been reading forums and blogs in an attempt to support my argument when I make my case to the district manager to accommodate left-
handed players with left handed instruments.

It is my wish to assist people who do not fully understand that a true left-handed string instrument player is at a disadvantage playing traditional string instruments. I use the word true because not all left-handed people are right-brained, but for this argument I believe that it is the most challenging for the true lefty. I think this is probably one of the reasons some of the lefties state how easy it is bowing right handed, and feel like it’s ridiculous for left handed people to think they are at a disadvantage. I am no doctor or scientist, but I was a compound archery competitor. Brainedness, also known as eye dominance, determines whether you needed to use a left or right handed archery bow, regardless of what your dominate hand is. I happen to be one that is right brained and so is my niece. In my personal experience, strumming with my left hand is easier than with my right.

A few misconceptions made by some musicians, that are not left-handed and don’t know how challenging it can be doing certain task, that did not know that NOT all lefties are right brained, or that have adopted popular beliefs of those in the industry (basically the spew they heard from someone else in the industry) that I want to clear up:
1) Playing the flute is simply fingering positions achieved by using both hands to create one note. In reality the manipulation of air flow, using the tongue and lips, controls the rhythm and length of notes which is done using the bow on a string instrument. Therefore, it is no more challenging for a left or right handed player to learn to play most wind instruments and the playing field is equal.

2) Playing the guitar; however, is more challenging because the rhythm and beats are achieved by strumming with the hand that is not fingering. That hand should be controlled by your dominate hand, if you are a lefty and are right brained, it stands to reason that you should benefit from playing a left-handed instrument. But, left brained lefties might actually have the advantage using the traditional ones.

I am honestly frustrated by the number of musicians that are not in support of giving lefty beginner students the same chance of being successful as a right-handed student. To be honest, I believe that most left-handed children give up and quit because of the slow progress they are making trying to play on a traditional string. Can you imagine always being last chair no matter how much you try everyone else teacher included making you think you suck and should just give up. Yes, there are those lefties that do continue and end up being decent musicians, but do we know if they are the left brain lefties.

The idea that teaching a lefty is more difficult, why? The finger positions are still the same achieving the same notes and reading music sheets is the same. So, you might have to think a second when you are correcting a lefty, but from what I read it will be easier to stand in front of them instead of beside or behind them, which really seems like what a good teacher would do anyway. Take the extra time to insure the success of each and every student in their class.

Another issue I have is the fact that people are trying to say that left-handed instruments stay on the shelves. The main reason is because parents and students t are told that there are no left-handed ones, there is no demand for left handed instruments when you are told you have no option. Most parents that are not lefties or musicians trust what the teachers and store owners spew to them and don’t know what they were told is absolutely not true. They make them, and would make and sell more of them if people would stop with the famous spew, and encourage lefties to get lefty instruments and finally allow them to realize their true potential.

But most importantly why in the world do you care if I use left handed scissors instead of traditional, you do not have to use them and I will make sure that I don’t sit close enough that I cut your paper with them, so why do you care if I use a left-handed cello? I mean really can my niece have an even playing field and not have to overcome just to learn to play an instrument? Nothing will change unless we try to educate people on the misconceptions people have about left-handed instruments and players and the advantages they have which clearly is not true, for the true lefty. I mean even if you believe the spew, don’t you think I should be allowed to learn with a spoon how to eat soup just like you do , instead of being forced to eat my soup with a fork? I mean you can still eat the soup with the fork, but it is unnecessarily more difficult, and I choose not to make it more difficult for myself or others, especially since they do make spoons that I can buy and use at the store too. Oh, and trust me you wouldn’t want to have to use a fork to eat your soup either and you would buy a spoon as soon as you could, and no one would blame you for wanting a spoon instead.
Please Make a difference and encourage, not discourage.....
 

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This topic comes up frequently here and on other boards. Threads of interest to you.
http://www.talkclassical.com/9721-left-handed-violinists.html
http://www.talkclassical.com/16596-being-left-handed-violinist.html
http://www.talkclassical.com/11050-left-handed-violinst-orchestra.html

Other sources of info.
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=22240
http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/326279-left-handed-playing/page__st__20
http://www.cello.org/heaven/mbarchs/2001/july8/lefties.htm

I thought this was the most relevant post.
Well, for the edification of anyone with a similar question:

I finally did find someone who has played a normal cello in reverse for years. They were quite good, but you could see that they couldn't use the full length of the bow on the C-string. She had to give up a few inches at the tip.

Another disadvantage to playing a normal cello left-handed is caused by the curvature of the fretboard. It's hard to describe this problem. Simply put, the arrangement of the strings combined with the curve in the board all work together to make it much easier to hold down the C-string (largest string) if you are fretting with your left hand. It's not too difficult with the right hand... it's just that you tend to apply force less efficiently because of that curve in the board. You notice this especially when your fingers tire.

I would say to anyone wanting to play a normal cello left-handed that it's certainly possible to do it, and to become very good at it. It will be considerably harder for you during that first year or two, but that could be worth it if you lean very strongly towards playing that way, and don't have a lot of money.

Preferably, though, if you want to play left-handed you should get a left-handed cello. It will ultimately be worth it. It will also add a minimum of $500 to the price of the cello you want because you cannot simply restring the instrument.

As a final option, you could start with a normal cello, and play it left-handed for a while to discover if you even like the instrument. And then you can get a left-handed one after your sure it's worth the money. I've read of violinists who did this. Well, fiddlers, really. Violinists are probably as repulsed by left-handed playing as cellists.

As for me, I played left-handed for about a month, and made good progress. During that first week, I tried a few times to play the cello normal, but it was very frustrating, so I stayed the course. My teacher was pleased with my progress, so I stopped being concerned with changing the way I played. Then one day about 4 weeks in, I picked up the cello like a normal cellist would, and I started playing. It wasn't frustrating or difficult at all. I am a little ambidextrous, maybe that helped. After about a week of very earnest effort, my muscles caught up with my brain, and the transition was complete.
 
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A left handed stringed instrument just wouldn't work in an orchestra. Uniformity of bowing within a section is expected at all levels of play. It is drummed into orchestra players from the beginning. Not to metion that in tight quarters that orchestras sometimes end up playing in, the chance of collision and damage to someone's instrument becomes very high.

And physically speaking, there really is no reason that a left handed person can't learn to play a regular instrument. Learning to play a stringed instrument is difficult for anyone, regardless of which hand they favor.
 

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I strongly agree.

What is the problem with a left-handed person playing a left-handed string instruments (bowing with left hand), and a right handed person playing the traditional ones made for right-handers? I am a lefty force writing righty that knows the challenges of lefties, as I am actually one of them. I play the flute, guitar, and piano so, I consider myself a musician.

Here's why I am writing this: 2-days ago my left-handed niece got her first instrument, a cello for her classes at school, a right-handed one of course. I called the store told them we needed to exchange it for a left-handed one. I was shocked when the man informed me that they don't make left-handed ones. Are you kidding me, in 2012 they don't make them? He then further goes on to inform me that it's an advantage for her since she fingers with her left-hand, plus she wouldn't be able to play in a professional orchestra...lol. This is one of the spews I have been reading over and over as reasons lefties should play a traditional string instrument. I have been reading forums and blogs in an attempt to support my argument when I make my case to the district manager to accommodate left-
handed players with left handed instruments.

It is my wish to assist people who do not fully understand that a true left-handed string instrument player is at a disadvantage playing traditional string instruments. I use the word true because not all left-handed people are right-brained, but for this argument I believe that it is the most challenging for the true lefty. I think this is probably one of the reasons some of the lefties state how easy it is bowing right handed, and feel like it's ridiculous for left handed people to think they are at a disadvantage. I am no doctor or scientist, but I was a compound archery competitor. Brainedness, also known as eye dominance, determines whether you needed to use a left or right handed archery bow, regardless of what your dominate hand is. I happen to be one that is right brained and so is my niece. In my personal experience, strumming with my left hand is easier than with my right.

A few misconceptions made by some musicians, that are not left-handed and don't know how challenging it can be doing certain task, that did not know that NOT all lefties are right brained, or that have adopted popular beliefs of those in the industry (basically the spew they heard from someone else in the industry) that I want to clear up:
1) Playing the flute is simply fingering positions achieved by using both hands to create one note. In reality the manipulation of air flow, using the tongue and lips, controls the rhythm and length of notes which is done using the bow on a string instrument. Therefore, it is no more challenging for a left or right handed player to learn to play most wind instruments and the playing field is equal.

2) Playing the guitar; however, is more challenging because the rhythm and beats are achieved by strumming with the hand that is not fingering. That hand should be controlled by your dominate hand, if you are a lefty and are right brained, it stands to reason that you should benefit from playing a left-handed instrument. But, left brained lefties might actually have the advantage using the traditional ones.

I am honestly frustrated by the number of musicians that are not in support of giving lefty beginner students the same chance of being successful as a right-handed student. To be honest, I believe that most left-handed children give up and quit because of the slow progress they are making trying to play on a traditional string. Can you imagine always being last chair no matter how much you try everyone else teacher included making you think you suck and should just give up. Yes, there are those lefties that do continue and end up being decent musicians, but do we know if they are the left brain lefties.

The idea that teaching a lefty is more difficult, why? The finger positions are still the same achieving the same notes and reading music sheets is the same. So, you might have to think a second when you are correcting a lefty, but from what I read it will be easier to stand in front of them instead of beside or behind them, which really seems like what a good teacher would do anyway. Take the extra time to insure the success of each and every student in their class.

Another issue I have is the fact that people are trying to say that left-handed instruments stay on the shelves. The main reason is because parents and students t are told that there are no left-handed ones, there is no demand for left handed instruments when you are told you have no option. Most parents that are not lefties or musicians trust what the teachers and store owners spew to them and don't know what they were told is absolutely not true. They make them, and would make and sell more of them if people would stop with the famous spew, and encourage lefties to get lefty instruments and finally allow them to realize their true potential.

But most importantly why in the world do you care if I use left handed scissors instead of traditional, you do not have to use them and I will make sure that I don't sit close enough that I cut your paper with them, so why do you care if I use a left-handed cello? I mean really can my niece have an even playing field and not have to overcome just to learn to play an instrument? Nothing will change unless we try to educate people on the misconceptions people have about left-handed instruments and players and the advantages they have which clearly is not true, for the true lefty. I mean even if you believe the spew, don't you think I should be allowed to learn with a spoon how to eat soup just like you do , instead of being forced to eat my soup with a fork? I mean you can still eat the soup with the fork, but it is unnecessarily more difficult, and I choose not to make it more difficult for myself or others, especially since they do make spoons that I can buy and use at the store too. Oh, and trust me you wouldn't want to have to use a fork to eat your soup either and you would buy a spoon as soon as you could, and no one would blame you for wanting a spoon instead.
Please Make a difference and encourage, not discourage.....
I am left handed. i first learned piano at the age of 6 played off and on until i was 14 the last day i played a left handed piano. and i fell in love with it, it was easy to do runs with my left. but buying one is 5 thousand more than i had at the time. then i picked up cello. And the ignorant things i hear. You would think come from a 7yr old. #1 if left handed people have an advantage playing a right handed instrument, then why dont right handed people play left handed instruments? i could end the argument there. #2 it is 2015 (this post is older) but we have prodigies left handed that destroy right handed players. how about instead of not allowing them to be in orchestras, how about 1 half side be left and the other right.. i will stop before i read anymore ignorant posts from people who like to force right handed on kids or think it should only be right handed.
 
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There isn't much call for left-handed cellos and basses. You can't just re-string them. The bass bar and sound post inside the body need to be switched around. That's virtually never done on a right-handed model (I've NEVER heard of it done). So the cello would have to be made left-handed and that's more or less a custom job. It would be difficult for a left-handed cellist to play in the cello section where everyone else is a rightie. There may be openings in smaller ensembles where space isn't such an issue. It also depends on how good the cellist is. if he or she is really good, some accommodations could and likely would be made. The other problem with lefty cellos would be resale value. It could sit for years with no takers because lefties are so rare. So no one wants to buy them and with little demand there is going to be little supply.
 

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Speaking as a lefty I am quite positive that to excel at an instrument it should be left handed. I play flute, saxophone, piano and steel guitar right handed. However I play guitar left handed. On the piano I still cannot trill well with my right hand after decades of practice. I have been able to trill superbly with my left hand since the day I took up piano at age seven. The fact is that there is a limit to ambidextrousness for the average person. I could never be a concert pianist because of my left handed ness although I can rip up and down the keyboard. I cannot play certain passages even if I work out with a metronome for months. My left hand in comparison to my right is phenomenally gifted. My right hand will never be more than a talented amateur.

I have just started playing left handed violin and my progress has been rapid. There is no way I could progress as quickly playing right handed.

To all the lefties out there, don't let authoritarian righties of the world limit your strengths. History is chock full of lefties that played left handed and ended up at the top. Thank goodness we live in an age where left handed instruments even exist. The dominion of right handed absolutism is over.

If you are right handed I challenge you to play a left handed instrument for three months.
 

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Speaking as a lefty I am quite positive that to excel at an instrument it should be left handed. I play flute, saxophone, piano and steel guitar right handed. However I play guitar left handed. On the piano I still cannot trill well with my right hand after decades of practice. I have been able to trill superbly with my left hand since the day I took up piano at age seven. The fact is that there is a limit to ambidextrousness for the average person. I could never be a concert pianist because of my left handed ness although I can rip up and down the keyboard. I cannot play certain passages even if I work out with a metronome for months. My left hand in comparison to my right is phenomenally gifted. My right hand will never be more than a talented amateur.

I have just started playing left handed violin and my progress has been rapid. There is no way I could progress as quickly playing right handed.

To all the lefties out there, don't let authoritarian righties of the world limit your strengths. History is chock full of lefties that played left handed and ended up at the top. Thank goodness we live in an age where left handed instruments even exist. The dominion of right handed absolutism is over.

If you are right handed I challenge you to play a left handed instrument for three months.
Good post, welcome to Talk Classical JanScott
 

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Handedness matters on guitar, but not necessarily cello

I am honestly frustrated by the number of musicians that are not in support of giving lefty beginner students the same chance of being successful as a right-handed student. To be honest, I believe that most left-handed children give up and quit because of the slow progress they are making trying to play on a traditional string. Can you imagine always being last chair no matter how much you try everyone else teacher included making you think you suck and should just give up. Yes, there are those lefties that do continue and end up being decent musicians, but do we know if they are the left brain lefties.
The main difference between writing, scissors, etc. and playing a bowed instrument is that both hands are involved in the bowed instrument doing very different tasks. No one can say for sure which task lends itself more to "handedness" but challenging a player to switch sides to see the difference is a ruse: switching from what you learned is not easy for anyone. The call to give lefties a "same chance at being successful" doesn't hold up in my experience- I've never seen any difference in success rates or facility between left, right, and ambidextrous students. Playing a bowed instrument requires a certain amount of ambidexterity that develops in use. The convention may lead one to hypothesize that it developed from right dominance, but it could equally be speculated that while such a difference does matter on plucked instruments where the right hand requires much more dexterity than in bowing, the cello position is simply a holdover from that and therefore offers no advantage to righties. Proof otherwise would require much more than single-person experience and anecdotes.
 

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The main difference between writing, scissors, etc. and playing a bowed instrument is that both hands are involved in the bowed instrument doing very different tasks. No one can say for sure which task lends itself more to "handedness" but challenging a player to switch sides to see the difference is a ruse: switching from what you learned is not easy for anyone. The call to give lefties a "same chance at being successful" doesn't hold up in my experience- I've never seen any difference in success rates or facility between left, right, and ambidextrous students. Playing a bowed instrument requires a certain amount of ambidexterity that develops in use. The convention may lead one to hypothesize that it developed from right dominance, but it could equally be speculated that while such a difference does matter on plucked instruments where the right hand requires much more dexterity than in bowing, the cello position is simply a holdover from that and therefore offers no advantage to righties. Proof otherwise would require much more than single-person experience and anecdotes.
Another new first post, welcome to TalkClassical .
 

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OMG…Thank God that I finally found some supporting sound to our lefties.I’m a left handed cello player, I don’t know why that there’s too much people prefer to object us instead encourage us.We’re not doing anything wrong, in my experience,there’s nothing inconvenience while teaching.In the opposite, my teacher and I was just like a mirror in the lesson.Maestro Abner Jairo Ortiz Gracía is also a left handed cellist,he plays the cello so well. I can’t totally understand that why we left handed person won’t have the same opportunity like right handed person in classical music world.Pop music world would be much better,Justin Bieber plays the guitar in left handed.(BTW I LOVE your words so much and you truly inspired me A LOT.Thank you so much.
 

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Power to you.

In general, even left handed people will often be taught to play the cello right handed, for a very good reason: in an orchestra, where everyone in the string section is packed in like sardines in a tin, it is safer to have all members bowing the same directions. Add a person that's bowing the opposite direction all the time, and an adjacent player and the left handed player have space issues. And you can't simply move a left-handed cello player to the end of a row - there's a pecking order: 1st cello, 2nd cello, etc.

And visually, it looks a tad sloppy when ONE player is playing exactly the opposite of what all the other
 

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Problem is, we can't experiment that. Like: ask the same person to learn both orientations and compare afterwards. So opinions are unjustified in this area.

Left-handed bow musicians are strongly under-represented. Do professors discourage them? Are right-handed instruments an additional difficulty? Nobody knows. Most bow musicians think that left handedness should be an advantage, but we see very few left handed people among the professionals.

Learning the violin typically takes right-handed children and makes them partly left-handed. Most violinists switch to the left fingers for delicate tasks - but prefer the right arm. That's a good reason why all professional violinists started as children, while wind musicians begin as teens.

A left-handed bowed instrument is a drawback, in that the instrument needs a new fingerboard, and must be opened to swap the bass bar and the sound post. This prevents trying an instrument for instance. Nothing damning, but it's less easy than at a guitar.

Some left-handed musicians play fantastically with the bow in the right hand: Pablo Casals, Nemanja Radulovic
dVJB1ZLFZsw, especially at 415s
I've never heard any other violinist, not even Sarasate himself, play this excerpt like he does.

So left-handed with the bow in the right hand works. I'd happily hear examples with the bow in the left hand, if someone posts links here.
 

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A left-handed bowed instrument is a drawback, in that the instrument needs a new fingerboard, and must be opened to swap the bass bar and the sound post. This prevents trying an instrument for instance. Nothing damning, but it's less easy than at a guitar.
Dunno about the cello, but a left-handed viola or violin would need a reverse-made scroll too, because you need hand space back in the 1st position on the highest string.
 

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:lol:
 

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Is there such a thing as a left-handed piano?
Robert Ester(sp?) talks about playing music on a left-handed piano, how old familiar pieces will have w whole new sound. But that's because mhe's talking about playing the pieces NORMALLY on a BACKWARDS piano, so all the high notes become low and the low become high.

I believe the whole point of a left-handed piano would be to put the high notes under the dominant hand, playing BACKWARDS on a BACKWARDS piano, so the music would come out sounding normal.

Pianos are an extreme example. There undoubtedly aren't very many of them, because the left-handed player would have to learn piano on a left-handed piano in order to feel comfortable. They'd be very expensive to make (lots of custom parts) and the market would essentially be zilch, because nobody would grow up playing one.

So Robert's statement that pieces in major keys would become pieces in minor keys, and vice versa-that only applies if you're playing it right-handedly.
 
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