I am quite cross-dominant - in some areas more than others. For instance, I consider myself right-handed, I write right-handed, I'd kick a football with my right-foot, but I play snooker/pool left handed and I'm more dexterous (sinistrous?) at some things with my left-hand. (e.g., I can twirl a stick much better left handed than right handed, but if I need to do precise motor movements I'd use my right hand). For things like sweeping or digging, I'm equally comfortable with either hand.

When playing piano and trying to relax and play fluently, one of my most common errors is that my left hand starts to play right-hand parts, or vice versa. I'm sure there is an element of this for all piano players, what with trying to do two things somewhat independently at the same time, but do any other cross-dominant players suffer especially from this? And what do you do about it? (if anything other than practice, practice, practice!)

  • What counts as cross-dominant? I'm right-handed, but I shoot right instead of left, and I unscrew jars with my left hand (because my right hand is too busy holding the jar down). I also tend to flip pages with my left hand. (My trills and tremolos are faster in my right hand, though.)
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 1:05
  • Is your left hand playing the right-hand music? Or does it just start to play, for instance, the rhythms of the right-hand music?
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 2:19
  • Most often it's notes in the wrong octave (e.g., I play the RH notes in the LH octave). Some pieces I find particularly difficult to 'de-sync' to the extent that (for instance) I concentrate hard on correcting the mistake in my LH only to find I then play the RH incorrectly...it is very annoying....and persists even when I slow right down
    – Kyudos
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 2:27
  • Practice, practice, practice. That's all there is to it. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 14:01

4 Answers 4


Sounds like your situation is somewhat like ambidextrousness.

You should practice each hands’ part individually, if you have not done so already. When practicing together, focus on one hand (the hand that has harder music). You shouldn’t play the same thing in both hands if you focus on one.

  • I don’t know anything about ambidextrousness so I can’t contribute a full answer, but it seems to me that focusing on only one hand might actually cause the problem of the two hands “joining”. Removing focus from one hand makes it a prime candidate to join the one you concentrate on. Instead I would recommend focusing on how the hands combine (which notes are together, which intervals do they create). When one hand forgets its own part and joins the other hand, the relation between the two hands is lost, so if you focus on this relation, both hands have to contribute.
    – 11684
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 23:53

I am cross dominant, and I suspect one of the most fortunate kinds for playing piano. I write and eat with my left hand and do almost everything else right-handed, though I'm often comfortable using my left hand if necessary for things like throwing or punching, but not for very intricate and ingrained things like guitar. I started playing piano three years ago aged 31 and within a few weeks was playing music that may take the average learner a few years, and although I would say I am gifted with an ear for music, I feel like my cross dominance has been a huge asset from the very beginning. I have achieved in three years what others take ten years or longer on the instrument all without the aid of formal training or tuition. Both my hands are very often able to perform independent of one another and I find I can even swap hands easily. I learnt how to improvise twelve bar blues in just a couple weeks, to a very high standard and I pick up new techniques all the time that I don't even know the names for (in fact I could still not tell you barely any of what it is I'm able to play). I think there are several things that have compounded to make me a natural pianist and composer/music producer, and I feel like being cross dominant is certainly one of them.


This has been an issue for me with learning musical instruments for most of my life. I have always been better at wind instruments, which only required one active hand at a time. I could never play piano without my hands 'fighting' over the melody.

Finally, however - and at 35 years old, I managed to work it out. It was on the accordion of all things. I can't tell you a specific exercise I did, other than constantly forcing the fingers on one hand to play a different rhythm than the fingers on the other, even when not actively practicing.

I have no certain idea of what happened neurologically. My best guess is the practice eventually engaged the right synapses. But I can tell you I was losing hope, and one day it just clicked.

My best advice is not to practice each part separately so much as very slowly with carefully monitored tempo. It's all about the timing.


You ability will get better with practice. As Piano players, I am sure we all have had such experiences at some point in our musical journey. Struggling is normal. It doesn't matter which hand one uses to engage in his/her day to day activities. Playing piano depends mostly on for how long you practice.

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