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The small-handed pianist support thread


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#121 corenfa

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 11:28

I did both exercises away from the piano, as well as etudes. One exercise (at the piano) that helped a lot was to play an arpeggio holding all the previous notes so- C E G C' becomes a four note chord hold for a few seconds, then repeat for all keys, then repeat for all inversions of the major and minor triads (takes a good 15 minutes to do all the combinations). I could see the improvement month by month.
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#122 corenfa

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Posted 21 July 2020 - 19:48

... Of course the proof of that will ultimately be whether I can eventually play the Chopin Polonaise Op. 53 that I want to... 

 

Nine years after I started this thread, I just played the target Polonaise in my teacher's student concert (albeit online), up to tempo. So that's how long it takes. 

It's only in the last year that I feel my consecutive octaves really became manageable, and it's all due to stretch across the palm of the hand. Also, I notice I needed to build up a lot of finger strength, much more than I thought, to support the octaves. And for a few months I had forearm pain while those muscles got used to the stretch.

For me anyway, playing octaves appears to use a lot more different muscles than I thought.

Next stop, exam. But I may postpone that to next year. Was planning to take it at the end of this year but who knows if they'll be offering it even.


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#123 EllieD

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 06:31

Wow, amazing! It would have been so easy to believe your hands would never be able to do it and avoid such pieces (after all, there is enough music for a lifetime that doesn't need this) but you have achieved something amazing! You should be so proud! And very inspirational to me. I am going to make sure that I always have a piece on the go that requires octave stretches - even if I can't perfect each piece, eventually I will get there. So, watch this space, come back in 2029 and I will report back on my own performance of Chopin Op.53!!


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#124 corenfa

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Posted 22 July 2020 - 09:22

Wow, amazing! It would have been so easy to believe your hands would never be able to do it and avoid such pieces (after all, there is enough music for a lifetime that doesn't need this) but you have achieved something amazing! You should be so proud! And very inspirational to me. I am going to make sure that I always have a piece on the go that requires octave stretches - even if I can't perfect each piece, eventually I will get there. So, watch this space, come back in 2029 and I will report back on my own performance of Chopin Op.53!!

For years I did believe this, in a way when my teacher told me what I would have to do to get there it made it more plausible that it could happen because - there was now a plan. It did take years but that also made it more believable because it was realistic. I started by being able to play it badly, slowly, then I was able to play it well, slowly, and now I'm at the stage where I can play it badly up to tempo  :P

 

I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress! 


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#125 Solipsister

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 20:51

I am a beginner and already finding my hands are too small for some pieces! I thought this wouldn’t begin to be an issue until I was playing more advanced repertoire. Do stretch exercises really work? Think I’ve injured my thumb trying to stretch to an octave with my second and fifth finger. :/


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#126 corenfa

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 20:58

I am a beginner and already finding my hands are too small for some pieces! I thought this wouldn’t begin to be an issue until I was playing more advanced repertoire. Do stretch exercises really work? Think I’ve injured my thumb trying to stretch to an octave with my second and fifth finger. :/

 

They worked for me- over a period of years. Same as how with yoga, I can now stretch further than I used to be able to a decade ago. 

 

Extreme care is required especially if you are doing it without a teacher, don't push anything too far at one time. 


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#127 Solipsister

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 21:20

 

I am a beginner and already finding my hands are too small for some pieces! I thought this wouldn’t begin to be an issue until I was playing more advanced repertoire. Do stretch exercises really work? Think I’ve injured my thumb trying to stretch to an octave with my second and fifth finger. :/

 

They worked for me- over a period of years. Same as how with yoga, I can now stretch further than I used to be able to a decade ago. 

 

Extreme care is required especially if you are doing it without a teacher, don't push anything too far at one time. 

 

Yes, I wasn’t really trying to stretch my fingers out, just trying to reach. I feel like I stretch much further to build chords on guitar than to do the same on piano, but it’s probably just angle and perspective.

 

My teacher is big on finding alternatives, which is probably what I should focus on, but maybe I can try and gently stretch my hands in the background.


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#128 EllieD

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:48

I don't think stretching your hands, if you've already hurt them that way, would be the best thing. Try going with alternatives instead. As you play the piano, your hands will naturally become more flexible, without trying to force it. I can definitely reach more than I could three years ago, and I have done no exercises (other than playing the piano) to achieve that.


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