A website devoted to teaching/playing/writing for/ the King of Instruments
Jun. 26, 2016
Small Hands, Part II
(con't from Part I) Once again, it's not your fault if the standard size keyboard isn't the right size for your hands; you are not alone; in fact, there are many others in the same situation. Hands come in all shapes and sizes (photo); find out what your hands can be good at, and play pieces that have those qualities. Cooperate with your hands, and don't expect them to do things for which they're not suited. Be constantly on the lookout for ways of redistributing notes between the hands to find more efficient technical solutions to a passage. When administered under the watchful care of a knowledgeable teacher, stretch and flexibility exercises also can be a tremendous help and produce a slight increase in span, which can make all the difference [See blog, Exercises, Part I, Touch, Part IV], but be aware of this danger: You can overdo it; Schumann had to abandon a concert pianist career after permanently injuring his fingers using a stretching apparatus. So please, be careful with stretch exercises; if you feel tension setting in, or if you feel pain, stop immediately. Extremely careful daily stretching (I cannot overemphasize "careful" enough) can be very helpful, but no exercise in span is worth an injury that would lead to being unable to play at all. But you'll be surprised at what you can do if you persevere carefully, regularly, easy does it, a little at a time. You can stretch your hands using a table top, gently and carefully, as follows: Put your index fingers (the number 2 fingers) on the edge of a table with the other fingers and thumbs handing down; don't just touch the tips of the fingers on the edge of the table, put the entire finger on top of the table. Now S-T-R-E-T-C-H between the number 2 and 3 fingers by GENTLY pushing down. Now switch and put the fingers numbers 3, 4, and 5 on the top edge of the table with the index fingers and thumbs hanging down; stretch between numbers 2 and 3 fingers again. Now put fingers 2 and 3 on the table with numbers 4 and 5 and the thumbs hanging down; stretch; put 4 and 5 on the table with 2 and 3 and the thumbs hanging down: stretch. Now put fingers 2, 3, and 4 on the table with number 5 and the thumbs hanging down; stretch; Put number 5 on the table with 2, 3, and 4 and the thumbs hanging down; stretch. Now put the thumbs on the table with the other fingers hanging down: stretch: done. Do this often and never uncomfortably, and see if this helps. Here's what some people do, that you should NEVER do: they put the thumb and index finger of one hand between two fingers of the other hand, separate the thumb and index finger, and stretch the two fingers in a sideways direction. Not only is this harmful, but it doesn't really stretch what needs to be stretched.