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Hi!

I have a hard time keeping my the end of my fingers straight, and when I try to I hit the keys with my nails. It's like there nothing in between, either I curve my finger or I hit it with my nails. Maybe I have very pointy fingers?

Here is a picture (it's not my hand):
[Linked Image]

Maybe the overall curvature of my hand is wrong? Any advice?

Thanks.
Regarding the nails, I’m constantly trimming mine short enough so that they can never hit the keys.
Originally Posted by kangarooster
Hi!

Here is a picture (it's not my hand):
[Linked Image]

Maybe the overall curvature of my hand is wrong? Any advice?

Thanks.

Have You considered lopping off the end joint

Just Kidding

Not really

Maybe


~Lucubrate

ps - I have the same issue
I have the same problem as you.

Number 1 - Trim your nails. You might need to trim it every day. I have to trim mine every 3 days. If you land on your nails, you will slip.

Number 2 - You may not be able to hit the keys with the tip of your fingers because your nail bed is too long. That is an anatomical possibility. If this is the case, I'm not sure what you can do. Maybe someone has a suggestion/solution for this? Do you have a teacher that you could ask?

Number 3 - You just have to be very aware that your joints bend like that and whenever you notice it, make an effort to keep it from bending. It is an un-ending battle for me too, but it does get better with practice.
Originally Posted by kangarooster
Hi!

I have a hard time keeping my the end of my fingers straight, and when I try to I hit the keys with my nails. It's like there nothing in between, either I curve my finger or I hit it with my nails. Maybe I have very pointy fingers?

Here is a picture (it's not my hand):
[Linked Image]

Maybe the overall curvature of my hand is wrong? Any advice?

Thanks.

What happens when you do the other option - 'hit with your nails' is not clear ? I think this is a common problem. I really have no idea how you can get help for these piano difficulties online and it normally ends up in piano wars here so I wont go there again ! I fixed it with my teacher but I'm not sure it'll help you with your difficulty as you are a different pianist and may have a different problem. Have you a teacher you can ask ? If not maybe it'll be a good option.
Originally Posted by Lucubrate
Have You considered lopping off the end joint

It is an excellent suggestion. I would suggest a surgical wheel inserted instead which is really helpful for glissandos and also would stop this difficulty. I imagine we will have some 'expert' video coming soon which I wont watch due to allergy x

I have also suggest a teacher is advised so I am allowed to make silly suggestions. cool
It's possible to play with the fingers only slightly curved and many pianists do that at least on some passages. It's not necessary to play with ones fingers nearly as curved as the third finger in the picture you posted. That, together with trimming your nails should solve the problem although for most people it wouldn't necessary to avoid the problem. Try playing very slowly and not collapsing the last joint.
You need to train your fingers. Find some staccato pieces and start your every practice session with playing them. Then proceed to non legato pieces.
Thank you. I think my nail beds are long after comparing my fingers to other people's. Using staccato pieces sounds reseaonable though, I will try it!

Regarding chopping off my finger tip. Thanks for the advice, I will take it into consideration.
When I’m playing music, I doubt that my fingers are perfectly curved as I’m not looking at them.
However, when playing scales, I watch my hands meticulously.

Over time, I hope that my brain will find a happy medium between the two.
One of my kids had the same problem playing piano and it was not from long nails. She has hyper-extension of her joints. Maybe that is not the correct medical term but it has to do with her tendons being very loose and flexible. Do you have this issue with other joints? Probably your best bet is to get advice from a piano teacher on how to deal with this issue.
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
One of my kids had the same problem playing piano and it was not from long nails. She has hyper-extension of her joints. Maybe that is not the correct medical term but it has to do with her tendons being very loose and flexible. Do you have this issue with other joints? Probably your best bet is to get advice from a piano teacher on how to deal with this issue.

I have the same flexibility/hyper-extension in My fingers


~Lucubrate
I had the same problem but my teacher fixed it. If you have a teacher, ask. I think people who don't have the same problem don't always understand it (unless they have taught students with this problem) So if you take a side view of the fingertip, it tapers to a point where it meets the nail. There is very little flesh or padding at the fingertip. If you cut more nail off you'll be cutting into flesh and blood everywhere.
Trim your nails.
From the photo, it seems like your wrist is too low, forcing your finger to press on the key and your finger joint to collapse.

Your arm needs to be at an optimum level so that your wrist doesn't collapse forcing your hands and fingers to do all sort of funny things to compensate. That said, the finger itself does need to be trained to have a certain level of resistance from collapsing at its joint.

I'd suggest that you check your sitting position so that it is at the right height and distance from the keyboard. That way, your arms are at the optimum position to supports your hands. In turn your hands are at the optimum position to supports your fingers.

All the best!
Originally Posted by Tubbie0075
From the photo, it seems like your wrist is too low, forcing your finger to press on the key and your finger joint to collapse.

Your arm needs to be at an optimum level so that your wrist doesn't collapse forcing your hands and fingers to do all sort of funny things to compensate. That said, the finger itself does need to be trained to have a certain level of resistance from collapsing at its joint.

I'd suggest that you check your sitting position so that it is at the right height and distance from the keyboard. That way, your arms are at the optimum position to supports your hands. In turn your hands are at the optimum position to supports your fingers.

All the best!


The picture of the hand is not the OPs hand
(Not sure why he did this)
One or two of my fingers are inclined to do that when playing exceptional positions. If it happened all the time I might do something about it but provided I am generally fluent and things sound all right I ignore it.
Thanks for the replies. I am on vacation right now so I don't have access to my piano, that's why I used an image I found online.

I do however have access to my fingers so here are some photos of my middle finger (the nail bed is the same for all fingers).

https://ibb.co/5WgtBht
https://ibb.co/v3P0MXj
https://ibb.co/yWhcNxq
Haha Kangarooster, there is no problem with your fingers! You do have flesh at the tip. You should see mine.
I agree with wszxbcl. I cannot see flesh behind my nails, even if they are cut as close as possible. So yes, you should be able to play on your finger tips!

Those All look like Keepers

No need for the Loppers


~Lucubrate
Try playing with the last joint of your fingers at around 45 degrees to the keyboard. As I said earlier you may be trying to play with your fingers too curved and/or your wrist too high. Playing with your fingertips does not mean playing the the very last part of your finger before the nail.
It doesn’t look your nails are the problem.

Do you do any finger exercises or scales? When I say finger exercises, I don’t mean anything strenuous, just things like going backwards and forwards between C and G (slowly) or Hanon #1 (very slowly) and watching your fingers very closely?

Personally, I think that I learn more about hitting keys correctly from practicing scales than I do from playing music. There’s too many other things going on while playing music to even think about how bent my fingers are.

My practice session will always start with scales, chords, exercises where I will study how my hands are doing and with my main objective being to hit every key absolutely perfectly.
Maybe try tapping on a table surface.

I'm definitely in the camp that thinks this is all just practice. Finger and wrist position were some of the main things that required practice when I took lessons as a kid. Even as an adult that haven't played piano for decades, I still find it very natural to use my finger tips whether it's typing or just tapping on a table.

To actually try to get my finger joint to collapse like that, either I have to put my wrist and hand in a very unnatural position or I have to actively change the way I'm applying pressure with my finger but it's certainly doable. So I would think that the reverse would be true for you.

If your hand position doesn't have any major issues, you may just have to relearn how how to press things with your finger and practice until it becomes 2nd nature. It's like with any movement in the body, people don't always move correctly naturally and will need some practice to establish the proper muscle coordination.
I've actually found a way to solve this recently. I don't think it's a major issue and there are great pianists who have some degree of collapsing. But fixing this can give you more stability, power and control.

The solution is hard to communicate in words but I'll try anyway:

prerequisites:
1. having your hand and arm behind the playing finger. A finger isolated from the hand will have harder time maintaining structure.
2. nails should be somewhat trimmed, not extremely though.
3. the fingers should 'take' the key, not push it (see this for illustration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALDzxU452gA around 34:00) - have your teacher explain it properly.

Now for my 'solution':
Each finger has three places where it can bend and 'take' the key:
1. the one closest to the hand
2. the middle joint
3. the last joint, closest to the tip

When one's finger is collapsing, it means she/he activates only the first two. You need to activate the third, and your finger will not collapse. Think of it as trying to clean some dirt off of the key.

A couple of things to pay attention to:
1. this should be done VERY gently with minimum effort. As soon as you start thinking about this last joint it won't collapse. Don't try to curl your finger, just make sure you send energy to all three points. Stop all effort (or 99% of it) once the sound is produced.
2. this takes some conscious effort at the beginning, so try to isolate it in a specific passage, scale or arpeggio.

You'll see it becomes harder to achieve on black keys, on finger 3 and 4, and closer to the fall board. This is where prerequisite (1) comes into play.

I hope it was somewhat clear.
It sounds like you push too hard on the keys, or position your fingers too upright. My fingers also have longer nails then that. You should really discuss this with a teacher or somebody in person.
I really appreciate all the answers I've got.

@Ido thanks for a nice explanation, I will give it a try.

It is very much a possibility that I am pressing the keys too hard, curl my hand the wrong way or a combination of both as well as other things. I will discuss this with a piano teacher!

Thanks all, very helpful!
This happens to me too, some. I know it's a heresy, but I sometimes play with slightly straighter fingers.

You might also try sitting a bit lower.
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