I have an early intermediate piano student who has managed to pull a ligament in her right arm/wrist. Her and her mother would like her to still take lessons but, she has to take it easy on her right hand. I spoke with my instructor and she said that she should not play with her right hand at all. Do you have any other suggestions or recommendations?

Also, I need to find her some left hand ONLY pieces to play for the next few weeks. (Her doctor said that it will take about 3 months to heal but she can start using her right hand to play piano in 3 weeks. I'd prefer not to prolong the process and I'd like to wait about 6 to 8 weeks before she plays with both hands again) Do you know of some good early intermediate left hand only pieces? I found one in the John Thompsons grade 3 or 4 already but, I'd like to have a few more on hand for her to play. Thank you so much for your help!!!

  • It's well above grade 3/4 level, but Brahm's transcription over the Bach-Busoni chaconne is a lovely one. imslp.org/wiki/…
    – Noldorin
    Sep 28 '15 at 17:48
  • 2
    Tape-record the right hand, and let her play along with the recording at home. Give her a variety of tempos to play with. Sep 29 '15 at 4:30

While I can't recommend specific pieces at that level, I give you two great resources for finding piano pieces for left-hand only, all with scores available to print off for free.



Have a scan through some of them, and I'm sure you'll find some nice pieces at the right level. It's hard to judge exactly what the right level is, since many beginner and intermediate pianists tend to have underdeveloped left-hand technique (unless they happen to play a lot of Baroque, especially J. S. Bach).

As an anecdote, you may be interested to know that Paul Wittgenstein (the older brother of the celebrated philosopher Ludwig), who lost his right arm in the First World War, continued his career as a left-handed pianist, and had a number of notable composers write pieces for him. These are available on the above links, but I believe all are significantly above the level you're looking for.


She can work on the left hand parts of the pieces she is or would normally be working on. In my learning of piano, it's never been a problem that I've learned one hand too well. When I've had the left hand down cold, it's meant that I can focus on the right hand and the integration of the two hands. She'll be farther along when she is healed if she has her left hand parts solid.


My teacher has me working through Berens' Training of the Left Hand, Op. 89. I am mostly level 2 or 3 in the Snell books (not sure how that translates to ABRSM grades), and I find these a little challenging to play up to speed, so they might be appropriate for a grade 3/4 student. They are etudes specifically for the left hand, so they won't sound like half of the music is missing when she plays them.


Try looking for some scores for another instrument, for example - flute. When played on the keyboard those are strictly one-handed monophonic pieces of varying length and complexity.
Flute scores are traditionally written one octave lower than intended, but on piano should be played as written.


I don't know the different levels of music, but perhaps she could learn The Merry Farmer by Robert Schumann. This has always been one of my favorite pieces, even though I learned it years ago. It's not a LH only piece, but the melody is in the left hand. This piece is a pretty good piece for learning phrasing and dynamics. I found a score on imslp and there's this lovely performance on Youtube.


Go with some Bach. Left hand partitions are complex compositions in their own right, more than enough to present a challenge. There are simpler ones as well, like the Minuet, if others turn out to be tougher than your student can handle.


Your student needs to play duets with herself. She can record herself playing one of the voices, and then play the other voice along with the recording. Cello duets would be a great place to start. You'll want to give her some fingering suggestions.

It would be a good idea to scan or xerox the parts and cover up the cello fingerings. Make a new xerox copy after the erasures. Then you can start your fingering marks from a clean slate.

In her lessons, the two of you can play live duets.

As she's beginning to learn a piece, you can record one of the duet parts yourself, for her to use at home. Once you have your recording equipment set up to your satisfaction, you'll be able to record easily during lessons.

Recovery from a fracture is an excellent time to work through a music theory book -- look in the book store that is the right level and style for her. Also sightreading.

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