How to play piano with small hands

How to play piano with small hands


Hi Scott Houston here hey do you ever
feel like your hands just aren’t big enough to play piano right I hear all
the time from students “Scott my hands just won’t stretch far enough to play
these four note chords or some of these bigger things we’re doing right” well
you’re not alone a lot of people think that but I’ve got a few two or three
pragmatic things I can show you that ought to take care of that and make that
a non-issue moving forward so let’s tackle that right now in this quick
video okay what we’re going to tackle is this
this issue that a lot of beginners really feel like oh my hands too small I
just have these you know little short stubby fingers and Scott I watch your
videos you have these long skinny fingers and I’ll never be able to do
this right don’t worry I don’t have any exorbitant long skinny fingers and you
will be able to do this so let’s dig right in at the piano here so the issue
is you know people will say no problem playing these you know three note chords
or a triad but the minute you go to okay how about a c7 chord and then
that also has this note attached right these three plus a B flat on top well then all
of a sudden uh-oh you know danger zone thinking like oh my thumb’s not long
enough I’m never gonna get there right and then you you try to get it played
it’s all messed up and you’re giving yourself the carpal tunnel and all that
right well relax here’s something I need to show
you listen to what this note sounds like would you okay sounds good right
now keep listening hey it sounds exactly the same no matter
where I’m playing it right well of course it does well it’s a weird thing
beginners and I only know this from having done this for so long a lot of
beginning students have this tendency to want to play way out on the keys they
want to play way out on the ends and what that does then when you have to use
your thumb or your pinky if you’re doing something you know on a black note
you’re in deep trouble because you got to wrench your hand all sideways
well here’s how you solve it as ridiculously simple as this is just
shove your hand away you know away from you toward the piano an inch or two
until your finger gets long enough to play it piece of cake problem solved
right that’s it same thing happens if your pinkies gonna play a black note
like say you want to play a b-flat major seven it’s these four notes
right so you’re all good here and then you think oh no oh you’re you know
trying to get your pinkie out there just push your hand away a little bit just
Zoop about an inch or two and just very relaxing-ly will get there so point to
be made with this is you should never have your hands all wrenched around
whether you’re playing left or right hand chords you should never have to do
that it’s just it should just you know be this pretty straightforward relaxed
thing and you may have to put your hands forward a little bit but you can get to
everything you need to like that so that’s one great thing all right so
there’s one issue just push your hands away from you all right now here’s
another one um there are some times when you’re really like playing say you’re
splitting a chord over two measures sometimes for like accompaniment reasons
you do something like write something like that or you just you know
there’s just some sort of a simple thing you’re doing well that’s kind of a long
stretch no doubt about it but the way you can do it if you’re ever really
stretching longer than you can just reach right just kind of – they called
arpeggiate – just try to rock up to it from the bottom just don’t play them all
together if you’re trying to do this just go like this instead ba-dum right but you want to do it real
fast and just do it with your pedal held down and it’ll just kind of fake
everybody out so I don’t care how little your hands are you can always do
that so just kind of rock back and forth that’s like the old octave trick when
you want to play octaves if you have a struggle with that for hand-size
reasons just play one first and then the other like that and you know if you need to
you can move back and forth finally the third thing you can always do if you
really are still struggling is you can always just play an inversion of a chord
and I’ve got other videos about inversions but basically when you invert
a chord you just stack it in a different order so for example that’s and I
wouldn’t be doing this but I’m just doing this so you can see all the notes
cegb flat that’s a c7 chord well if you want to invert it you just take
whatever’s on the bottom and move up an octave and put it on top well by doing
that that’s usually a much simpler thing for a lot of people to play you know
because they think it’s well it is it’s a little bit closer together
you can do it one more time and bring that up here and play like this right that’s
like a closer hand position than having to do this although frankly now that I
taught you this trick about moving your hand away this should never give you
fits again so there you have it so a couple two or three solutions I promise
that you don’t have excessively short hands it’s funny I did live workshops a
lot in the past and people always walk up to me after workshop with kind of a
funny look and it was like a scientist like a Star Trek thing a Vulcan thing
they’d walk up and do this to me they’d be like put your hand up here I want
to see how big my hand is compared to yours and you know invariably it was you
know minute differences but yeah the point to be made here it’s just either
push your hand away from you or use your pedal but I would be really stunned
assuming you’re over the age of you know ten or eleven maybe if you’re a really
young kid that’s an issue but once you get to be adult age it’s it’s normally
not an issue it’s just a function of learning a few of these tricks so enough
of that hopefully that puts another little issue to bed and as always have
fun playing piano

33 thoughts to “How to play piano with small hands”

  1. Thanks for the helpful video. Plenty of practice certainly stretches the fingers over time. I'm finally able to play octaves! but I still need to practice. I've got short thumbs too. I felt really unfortunate in the beginning but I'm able to play the 1-4-5 chords in all 12 keys. That's quite something for an oldie like me.

  2. I cant reach an octave and strongly dislike the rolled sound too much. Like for the odd chord its okay but too much and it loses the clean sound it should have. So I just leave the note out.

  3. I can't do a rolled over effect half the time cuz I feel it needs extra attention especially with a very demanding challenging piece. I usually just take out a note (or two *gasp*)

  4. "All you have to do is simply move your hands up the notes, closer to the聽piano."

    Just this one sentence has fixed my life right now lol.

    Thank you so much, Scott.

    Liked and Subbed.

  5. Almost every medium piano songs i have to put my fingers on g and another g far away after it i have to fastly change it which is a pain to me if there will be 3 left hand notes (i am right handed) because it messes up because of my small hands ;-;

  6. I am trying to do the sweet home Alabama solo and can鈥檛 play the first part which is G sharp A F sharp. My index finger keeps hitting other black keys when on the G sharp

  7. My right pinky is always killing me when I have to play spread out chords in quick succession. I was really trying to learn a piece that required that I played 3 four-note chords back to back. None of the chords were too difficult to play individually, but when I had to move my hands from each chord, it really stretched out my pinky and it was difficult to play. It鈥檚 always my right hand pinky that gets into pain. I鈥檝e tried playing the bottom three notes with my thumb, pointer, and ring, I鈥檝e tried doing my thumb, pointer, and middle, and I鈥檝e tried every combo I can think up to give myself the most comfortable transition of notes, but it鈥檚 not working. It鈥檚 probably a problem that I鈥檓 teaching myself piano, but I鈥檓 not paying for lessons lol I find myself not enjoying some beautiful pieces because my hands just really hurt afterwards.

  8. I don't know who started the myth but it prevented me at first.

    I ended up impulse buying a keyboard. Taught myself moonlight Sonata and fur Elise. Still don't know how to read music but I'll get it eventually.

  9. When I was 12 years old I dropped piano lessons because I had a hard time playing octaves with my small hands and the teacher never told me that it's fine to play from "deeper" position. Now i want to find him (if he's still alive) and kick his butt xD

  10. I would love to say this helped but I literally can't reach from one c to another, this is a problem I don't know how to fix. I tried the moving the hand up the keyboard thing but the black keys jutting up make reaching it far worse, and the rolling thing doesn't sound right because I have an electric keyboard with no pedals.

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