Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today I want to talk about something that is very dear to my heart. I’ve done quite a number of videos about how to play piano with small hands. My hands are not particularly large, unlike my father Morton Estrin, a phenomenal concert pianist who had immense hands. I had to learn how to get a big sound with smaller hands. Today’s question is, “Can You Stretch Your Hands for the Piano?”
When I was a teenager, my father thought that maybe it would be helpful for me to stretch my hands. So I started doing stretching exercises. Nothing that would possibly injure, of course. I tried to get more of a straight line from the thumb to the pinky instead of arching out the hands. And I learned that you can’t do it by going straight, but if you arch up a little bit, you can get a bigger reach. So on the outside of the keys I could just barely hit a 10th.
Strength is the answer!
I’m not sure that those stretches did any good. I’d work on them in various ways, but ultimately I found that when I developed more strength at the piano, I was able to negotiate bigger leaps. And, as I’ve talked about before, you can play broken chords very quickly with the pedal in order to play chords way beyond your reach with security. You can work on arpeggios, scales, and repertoire, and through practice you will strengthen your hands to be able to achieve the sound you are after. So, strength is the answer more so than stretching.
I’m very curious to hear from all of you out there. Is there anybody who has any experience with this or has tried stretching and it’s worked? I’m not saying stretching is a bad idea, I’m just saying that it didn’t increase my reach. There are other possible benefits to stretching.
I’m Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
Please feel free to contact us with any piano related questions for future videos!