V.com weekend vote: Are you right, left-handed or ambidextrous? Do you think it affects your playing?

August 4, 2017, 2:17 PM · Does being right- or left-handed create an advantage for a string player?


Certainly, both hands have a lot of work to do, though the nature of it is different. Left hand work requires dexterity and speed, with the left arm and shoulder taking a supportive role. The right hand is about balance and movement, which has to be smooth, precise and nuanced.

Which is more important? It would be hard to say!

I'm left-handed, and I've received questions on both ends of the spectrum about how this affects my violin-playing: "Does that make things difficult?" or "Is that an advantage?"

I always thought it was an advantage, though I have to say that the development of my bow arm lagged behind that of my violin hand.

Are you right or left-handed? And how has that affected your playing and learning? Please answer the vote and then share your comments below.

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August 4, 2017 at 11:16 PM · I'm right-handed. I think difficulties can go either way, so it doesn't matter.

August 4, 2017 at 11:55 PM · I'm lucky:

- I write with my left hand (ideal for small, accurate movements)

- I play tennis etc with my right hand (ideal for larger, swinging movements).

So for fiddling it feels as if each hand is well adapted for it's job.

August 4, 2017 at 11:57 PM · I do not think it makes a difference.

August 5, 2017 at 12:19 AM · I'm right-handed and my left hand dexterity has always been my strong point since childhood. So I would say being right-handed doesn't affect my playing and learning. I also have talented toes that can pick up things and write with or without a brush, but I haven't trained them to make music yet.

August 5, 2017 at 01:10 AM · Well, Yixi, there was that girl that was playing the piano with her toes, and someone in the audience said how clever she must be to be playing from memory.

James Barton, founding second violinist of the Allegri String Quartet was left handed and played southpaw. In the context of the quartet this was to an advantage, as it enabled them to perform with all instruments facing the audience, an ideal seating arrangement.

My father was born almost certainly left-handed (like my brother, who plays the 'cello bowing with the right arm), but had to learn to write with his right hand and, by the time I knew him, was ambidextrous (bowing, of course, with the right arm).

August 5, 2017 at 02:04 AM · I'm not ambidextrous, however I can use both hands for most things. I can eat with either hand and do many other things with either hand. I have a tough time writing with my other hand. This would make sense though because I never trained it to write.

I believe our brains need to favor one hand because if it didn't some complicated moves using both hands could get confusing.We usually need a dominant hand .My favored hand is my left hand.

In the beginning I thought I would be at a disadvantage in playing a right handed violin and almost bought a left handed violin. I have since changed my mind. I now think it is an advantage for harder to play fingerings.

My bow hand has taken some extra effort in the beginning. Now I'm realizing how I need to compensate or not over compensate my moves with the bow arm/hand.

August 5, 2017 at 02:25 AM · The only thing I ever learned to do left handed was play ice hockey.

August 5, 2017 at 04:23 AM · Right-handed here. The only time I notice a difference is when I try to do the same thing with each hand .

I bet if I tried to play reversed (bow left, fingering right, I would notice a diffence; my right hand would prob'ly learn its new tasks faster...but who would ever do that?

August 5, 2017 at 08:24 AM · Playing the violin since 1963 I find (being right handed) that my left hand improved a lot even to the point I am both left and right handed now.

August 5, 2017 at 11:18 AM · I'm left-handed, more strongly so when I was very young. I'm fairly ambidextrous now, except for writing. From whatever direction we come from, we must end up very ambidextrous - at least on our instrument - so I don't feel that there is a particular advantage or disadvantage in being left or right handed. Joseph Silverstein was a great violinist who was left handed. I'm sure that there are more great examples.

August 5, 2017 at 02:16 PM · Like others, I'm right-dominant (Dexter) but somewhere during the past 40 years of violin playing I've developed more fine motor skills in my left (Sinister) hand and arm. I cannot write with the left hand but I have more ability with my left than I used to prior to playing the violin.

I've read some research that says that this is common for musicians.

August 5, 2017 at 05:49 PM · Right-handed here. But it hasn't adversely affected my playing. I've generally mastered left-hand challenges in playing sooner than right-hand ones.

August 6, 2017 at 08:20 AM · I'm ambidextrous and began Violin right handed because of the relatively wide access to right handed violins. But about 5 years ago I broke 3 fingers on my left hand and found it hard to finger notes after they healed. So I switched dexterity 3 years ago and have found it to be both challenging and rewarding. Nowadays I feel like I can play almost as well as I could before my hand broke.

August 6, 2017 at 04:39 PM · I'm ambidextrous but I find it easier to do daily tasks with my left hand

August 6, 2017 at 05:57 PM · I do everything left handed except violin and guitar which I do the conventional right handed way.

Question for the other lefties out there - which hand do you use for a computer mouse? I find I can't use the mouse in my left hand at all. My brain won't make the mouse moves the correct way, especially if I use it to draw figures or for computer graphics

August 7, 2017 at 12:28 AM · I"m a left-hander, and I also use the right hand for the computer "mouse" functions! I wonder if it has anything to do with having the right hand trained to "bow"!

August 8, 2017 at 01:06 AM · My left handedness helped me with guitar quite a bit, and my left hand is significantly stronger than my right on piano, especially for chords, but as far as string instruments I'd say it doesn't make much of a difference. The left hand is as much ear based as physical, so while it offers some help it doesn't offer as much as it does for other things.


Right handed for the mouse is normal - both the mouse and keyboard are set up for right handed mouse use.

August 8, 2017 at 07:56 PM · I use my left hand for both a pen and a fork. For almost everything else (including musical instruments), I'm right-handed. My left hand's dexterity helps me finger notes, while my right hand has strength. I've played both guitar and mandolin, but I'm not too comfortable using a pick - when playing guitar I prefer fingerstyle. My late conversion to violin (and viola) is a blessing; I'm much more comfortable with a bow.

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