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Would you mind critiquing my hands?
#2998304 07/03/20 03:32 PM
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Hi.

I have big hands—and I'd like to put them to good use (and not destroy them with incorrect playing). Would you mind critiquing my hand positioning? I suspect I need to be playing further into the keyboard (so that my fingers are in between the black keys), but I'm having a difficult time gauging what's correct based off of what feels comfortable. I am feeling a very subtle soreness in my finger joints and don't know if it's due mainly to over-practicing or incorrect positioning (if not the latter, then I'll take more breaks when I practice), but either way I'd like to nip it in the bud. Here is a quick video.

If I do need to play deeper into the keyboard, what would you suggest as a depth? For example, if I relax my hands completely and rest them on the keyboard such that my thumb is *just* able to depress the keys, my other fingers are about 2 - 3 centimeters between the black keys (i.e. - In the video, my fingers are a bit more curled than they would be in their relaxed position). Though my hand feels more relaxed, the position feels a bit awkward and playing is more difficult—both due to having to navigate around the black keys.

So, this all being said, I'd appreciate an outside opinion. (I'll be glad to take any other videos to better display my positioning if need be)

Last edited by AmagicalFishy; 07/03/20 03:33 PM.
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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998315 07/03/20 03:49 PM
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It's not just the hand but the whole posture that matters. So this video is not enough to judge the posture.

And you need a good teacher to check the posture.

I'm not a teacher. It looks fine to me.


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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
wouter79 #2998323 07/03/20 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
It's not just the hand but the whole posture that matters. So this video is not enough to judge the posture.

And you need a good teacher to check the posture.
Thanks for your response. Indeed, a lot of things matter outside of isolating hand position, but I'm asking specifically about hand position. If anyone has any tips or anecdotes regarding long-fingers / big hands, I'd appreciate that too.

Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998337 07/03/20 04:20 PM
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There's no such thing as an ideal hand position. You have to get used to make small adjustments to your hand position. That said, in scales it's best to keep the hands on or near the line passing through the edges of the black keys and minimize movements. If you observe people who play very fast scales their hands are very quiet and look like they are just moving horizontally up and down the keyboard.

Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998404 07/03/20 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AmagicalFishy
I am feeling a very subtle soreness in my finger joints and don't know if it's due mainly to over-practicing or incorrect positioning ....

Well, if I had to pick one .... I would pick over-practicing because I do not see anything about your hand position that would result in "soreness in my finger joints".


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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998472 07/04/20 02:14 AM
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Hi AMagicalFishy! Welcome to PW, and oh, I envy you your hands!
You play basically with your fingers only, and that will restrict the sound you can create. If you are interested in playing with your whole arm and with a flexible wrist, here is a video you can start with: The secrets of a correct key attack


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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
Qazsedcft #2998473 07/04/20 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
There's no such thing as an ideal hand position. You have to get used to make small adjustments to your hand position.
+1.
Because our fingers all have different lengths, you constantly need to make small forward (to the lid) and backward movements with your hands in order to allow every finger to play most comfortably, and it's extremely important when you play to learn to reach the ideal position for every finger before every keystroke, don't try to maintain static position when playing.

But generally speaking, in order to minimize these forward/backward motions, it's considered best to play black keys near their tips and white keys near the edge of black keys. For the same reason the thumb should play closer to the tips of white keys, but not as close as to accidentally touch the actual edge when playing.

Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
Animisha #2998540 07/04/20 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Hi AMagicalFishy! Welcome to PW, and oh, I envy you your hands!
You play basically with your fingers only, and that will restrict the sound you can create. If you are interested in playing with your whole arm and with a flexible wrist, here is a video you can start with: The secrets of a correct key attack
The OP is just playing scales so I don't think this comment makes sense. And it wasn't what the OP was asking about.

Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
Qazsedcft #2998541 07/04/20 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
There's no such thing as an ideal hand position. You have to get used to make small adjustments to your hand position. That said, in scales it's best to keep the hands on or near the line passing through the edges of the black keys and minimize movements. If you observe people who play very fast scales their hands are very quiet and look like they are just moving horizontally up and down the keyboard.
The OP is looking for a general placement of his hands and asking if he should generally playing further towards the fallboard. I think answers to questions should relate to the level of the student.

Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
pianoloverus #2998555 07/04/20 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
There's no such thing as an ideal hand position. You have to get used to make small adjustments to your hand position. That said, in scales it's best to keep the hands on or near the line passing through the edges of the black keys and minimize movements. If you observe people who play very fast scales their hands are very quiet and look like they are just moving horizontally up and down the keyboard.
The OP is looking for a general placement of his hands and asking if he should generally playing further towards the fallboard. I think answers to questions should relate to the level of the student.

This absolutely is appropriate to the level of the student and to the question. He asked about hand placement and submitted a video of scales. Where to put your hands on the keys = placement 🙄


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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998611 07/04/20 10:36 AM
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I'm going to:
- Generally, move my hands slightly up, so that the tips of my fingers are a bit closer to the edge of the black keys. I will, perhaps, flirt with putting them in between the black keys since my fingers are so long.
- Try to play with my whole arm, not just my fingers. This is especially important; longer fingers means the joints have to deal with a greater amount force for the same amount of pressing. Playing with just my fingers is bound to detriment my music and injure me eventually. I will think more of *fluidity* in the whole of my arm as the video suggested.
- Think more of a forward-and-backwards motion, adjusting as is fit. If I'm playing without my thumb in C-Major, for example, a backwards movement is appropriate while if I'm playing in B-Major a forwards one would be
- Practice with longer, more frequent breaks

From your answers, it doesn't seem as if my hand placement is so bad that something serious jumps out, but I think these improvements will help me a lot. Thanks so much for reviewing; this is exactly what I needed. smile

Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998636 07/04/20 11:34 AM
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As Iaroslav said above, it's not about having your whole hand closer to the fallboard, but about the small movements in and out (or as you say forward and backward) so that each finger plays comfortably. One thing I notice in the video is over-curling of the longer fingers when they need to play white keys. This can easily cause discomfort. A more flexible wrist can help you adjust for the longer fingers also. Your wrists look a bit low to me, especially the right, but as someone else said it's hard to tell without seeing more of the arm.

I'm not sure what you mean about greater force on the longer fingers--they should feel the same as the others, but I think you may be feeling excess pressure because of the curling.


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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2998693 07/04/20 01:37 PM
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Regarding your idea to try to put the fingers between the black keys . I also have big hands but relatively short pinky. Due to short pinky I have to move my entire hand forward so that the pinky reaches the keybed. This 'naturally' but imho incorrectly puts your other fingers between the blacks. ( in fact, I would hit the fallboard if I kept my other fingers in a relaxed, relatively flat position)

For me it never works. If I put them on d, g or a they get often stuck. Lifting them high enough to get them out would be another source of tension.

This means I have to curl up my other fingers quite a lot which looks quite tensioned and easily gets tensioned.

All these things are depending a lot on your entire position adn lead easily to tensions.

Teachers also often have difficulty getting these things right. Flat hand may look natural and less tensioned but may just not work. Maybe a teacher with big hands would be most useful

Last edited by wouter79; 07/04/20 01:38 PM.

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Re: Would you mind critiquing my hands?
AmagicalFishy #2999116 07/05/20 03:11 PM
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If you have an octave or near octave stretch on black notes in either hand, will force you to move your entire hand closer to the fall board. In real playing your hands will move closer, further away and fingers may be quite flat and stretched or tightly nested and curled at any time.

In the case of these scale examples everything looks fine, but they are just scales and all staring on white notes.


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