Left-Handedness And Music
April 8, 2022

In many cultures of the world, left-handedness in kids is seen as a bad sign. Sadly, southpaws are condemned and often forced to change their dominant hand. But science says that being left-handed makes you right-brained, and that makes you artistic and creative. Regardless, left-handed people still have a difficult time with musical instruments and, in fact, many other things.

How being left-handed affects music education

With 90% of the world’s population being right-handed, it is easy to see why the world is designed for right-handed people. Most languages are written from right to left, making writing without staining your hands with ink difficult for the left-handed. Everyday things like scissors, desks, can openers, and even some doorknobs are nearly impossible to use for the southpaws. One would expect there to be musical variants of this phenomenon, and indeed there are.

The majority of the standard musical instruments today require the right hand to be more dexterous than the left. The higher notes and hence, complex melodies on the keyboard are a right-hand affair. Guitars of all types are dominantly right-handed too. Even instruments like the drum set that make use of all four limbs favor the right limbs in a traditional setup as the hi-hat is hit with the right hand and bass drum the right leg. All of these make learning specific instruments difficult for left handed-children. Teachers are scarce, and learning materials are even less available.

What to do for left-handed children

Although all these solutions have notable drawbacks, there is still hope for the left-handed child.

For instruments like the keyboard, very few left-hand models exist. Still, with enough practice and the right – no pun intended – teacher, all the right-hand dexterity problems can be overcome as the keyboard actually needs both hands.

The guitar has relatively more left-handed variants, but they are not enough in reality. You can always pick up a left-handed variant for the guitar, but you won’t be spoiled for choice. You could also ask for it to be custom-made, but it gets pretty expensive. If any of these options aren’t available to you, the last resort is to turn a right-handed guitar around and restring it.

Drums are somewhat easier to deal with. You can laterally flip a drum setup, so everything is left-handed. The only disadvantage is that children may not encounter such configurations in public, so it will be more convenient in the long run to learn to play it right-handed. One interesting thing is that left-handers play their instruments differently from the conventions, so they have a unique tone and color.

The takeaway from all of this is that left-handed children don’t have to be relegated in terms of their musical pursuits. There is always an option for them. Though finding lessons and instruments tailored to their needs may be difficult, it is not impossible. Being left-handed is an asset. Society needs to come together to help them make the most of their gifts.