How to Play the Piano or Keyboard with Your Left Hand

If you consider middle C the middle of the keyboard, you can think of the keys to the right of middle C as the East Side and the keys to the left of middle C as the West Side. It’s time to head west.

To explore the lower keys, first reacquaint yourself with the bass clef. The best way to figure out this staff is to dig in and start playing. You’ll soon recognize each line and space by sight, without even thinking about it.

Move into position

There are two positions for the right hand: the C and G positions. These positions are the same for the left hand except that C position has LH 5 (pinky) on the C below middle C, the second space up on the bass clef staff. In G position, LH 5 moves down to G, the bottom line of the staff. Check out the proper left-hand C position placement.

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Get used to the new neighborhood

You have several options for playing with your left hand: You can play scales, melodies, simple one-note harmonies, chords, or just plain cool-sounding accompaniment patterns.

For a quick (and stimulating) drill, this exercise helps limber up the left-hand fingers in C position. Sing or say out loud the name of each note as you play it. Seeing, playing, saying, and hearing all at once go a long way toward helping you remember the notes on the staff.

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Here is a similar workout, but in G position. Again, remember to sing each note out loud. Never mind what those around you think of your ranting and raving — they’re just jealous that you can play the piano.

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