Piano Music for Right Hand

Piano Music for Right Hand

BrokenThumb 003

Yup, I know my student broke his LEFT thumb… this photo credit: ourbarnyardshenanigans.blogspot.com

One of my students broke his LH thumb the other week (footy accident!), so I began researching good music for Right Hand alone. As I was doing this, I thought a few links might be useful for other teachers or students who might come to this page via a google search for the same.

I originally used to get a bit frustrated when a student presented at a lesson with an arm in a sling and instructions not to play for six weeks, but I’ve since learnt that it can be a really good learning experience (unless this happens just before an exam or recital!).

So often when practising, we don’t get enough time to focus on building confidence in each hand alone (particularly the left hand for most pianists). This means that when one hand is out of action, we can totally blitz the work on the other.

For my student, we’ve concentrated mainly on phrasing in the RH and ensuring that every detail is followed in the score. There’s lots of potential for one-hand sight-reading. Scales can be practised in all sorts of ways with just one hand and students can even be challenged to compose their own piece of music for the one hand they have available with some guidance and demonstration from the teacher.

I’ve already got plenty of music for LH (and have written a previous post about some LH projects I’ve found online), which is generally a more popular genre, but had to dig around a bit more for RH music. I didn’t originally know it, but IMSLP has a page for all the scores for RH alone piano. Also, this is a great list of music for both Right and Left hand which I found during the search online.

I also discovered that one of my favourite composers for teenage students, Melody Bober, has a series of books that can be played by either hand alone called “Great One-Hand Solos”. Double the value for your money and there is 6 books in the series! Each piece is fingered above for RH and below for LH – a clever way to approach this double-writing. Here’s a link to value packs of her books on offer at Sheet Music Plus:

Grand One-Hand Solos Books 1-3 Value Pack 2012 Grand One-Hand Solos Books 1-3 Value Pack 2012
Arranged by Melody Bober. For Piano. Method/Instruction; Other; Promotional Packet. Grand One-Hand Solos for Piano. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.105434)…more info


Grand One-Hand Solos Books 4-6 Value Pack Grand One-Hand Solos Books 4-6 Value Pack
Arranged by Melody Bober. For Piano. Method/Instruction; Other; Promotional Packet. Grand One-Hand Solos for Piano. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.105493)…more info

There’s plenty more available, just search on Sheet Music Plus for “left hand alone” or “right hand alone” to see the range. I’ve ordered a whole heap of these and will blog about the best in due course.


Tim Topham

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular Integrated Music Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as integrated teaching, creativity, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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  1. […] The guest soloist, Andreas Haefliger, deftly played Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. In case you were wondering, as I was, there are pieces for the right hand only, and, this one was really on my mind during the concert, a series of books with music that can be played with either hand alone. […]

  2. There is way more music written for left hand alone than for right hand alone, and the body of music for left hand alone that is worthy of public performance, rather than study pieces or mere finger excercises, is much more varied in difficulty. For example, the Nocturne for Left Hand of Aleksandr Skrjabin is, albeit with some difficulty, playable for an intermediate pianist.

    The only somewhat famous works for right hand alone are the Trois Etudes, Introduction Et Finale by Charles-Valentin Alkan, and are excruciatingly difficult. I have tried studying them while I had an elbow injury a few years ago, and while I have succesfully learned all 4 the Chopin Ballades and performed the Schumann piano concerto (combining the solo parts and orchestral cues, of course leaving out notes here and there but significantly raising the difficulty compared to the solo part alone) I came nowhere close to ever getting them in a performance-worthy state.

  3. My wife lost use of her left hand due to a Motor Vehicle Accident. She will never regain use of her hand. She has played for over 50 years and this loss is devastating. Any ideas thoughts words of wisdom for her. This was her self care and therapy so if there is any way for her to play again it would be life changing.

    • Oh harry I’m so sorry to hear that – how difficult that must be for her. There is LOTS of music available for one hand alone. Just google and also search the IMSLP database at IMSLP.org.

      Melody Bober also has some great music for one hand (called something like Advanced one hand solos?) – again, a look on Google will uncover a lot of great stuff.

      You might also value Youtube and searching for “right hand piano music” there too.

      Please wish her all the best from me.

  4. I played the piano for about 20 years. In 1977 I lost the use of my left side. I tried to find music written for just the right hand, I did manage to find one book. The name and composer escapes me and the book was lost. ( I believe it went with one of my pianos).
    Might you know of any music written for just the right hand.
    All I remember is that the book was blue.
    Your help with this search would be appreciated

    • Hi Shawn – did you check the links in the article above?

  5. I recently had a student in this situation as well! One thing we discovered is that a lot of blues and boogie pieces work great as right hand studies. The right hand lines are interesting and fun enough as solos and we were able to put them together as duets (with me playing the left hand) in the lesson.

  6. Thank you for the heads up on Melody Bober. I also get students with mainly sports injuries and we do use the “available” hand. This should add more variety to my limited one handed repertoire.

  7. I have a student working on Turk’s “Dedicated Most Humbly to the Right Hand Little Finger” … and that, combined with your post, has given me a great idea! I think I will dedicate two months of the next year to one-hand-only music!

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