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With Chopin, The Left Hand Always Comes First

With Chopin, always learn the left hand first. I heard Nina Svetlanova say that at a master class, and it is absolutely true.

To fully understand this comment, we need to remember that Ms. Svetlanova was talking about “really” learning the piece, that is, memorizing it, as any piano competitor would be required to do. Since or ear naturally follows the melody, the accompaniment seems secondary, hence the left hand harmony can be sloppily learned, with wrong chord inversions or missing notes, as it often happens. If we start learning the piece by carefully going over the left hand and repeating it, it won’t fall by the wayside. Below is a video highlighting this with Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 62, No. 1: