The piano is one of the toughest instruments to master. It takes a hell lot of practice and a lot of expert guidance for years and years until you can call yourself even “decent”. While there are many astute online tutorial videos available, make sure you find a suitable instructor at least in the beginning since it is paramount to get the basics right.

piano hands
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Rule numero uno: Cut your nails

Once you have decided to make the piano your best friend, you will have to bid adieu to all your long nails. They should be regularly trimmed. No matter how good you become in this world we live in, if you have your long nails tapping the keys while playing, you will sound more like a typist than a piano player. There is nothing more irritating than to hear those “clickety-click-clicks” from the perspective of the audience.

Hand posture

The primary and most basic aspect of stellar piano players is their perfect hand postures. Once you get this one right, everything else becomes easier.

Why is hand posture so important?

Poor hand postures can result in a piano performance becoming the audience’s nightmare. This is mainly because of two major reasons:

  • Shortage of Dexterity: If your hands are in an awkward and tight position, getting access to the keys will become difficult. This will result in a lack of quickness and this will ultimately hinder your ability to efficiently play the piano. The performance will be with all the wrong notes and will sound horribly clumsy.
  • Cramps: Poor hand postures will give you cramps very quickly. This would mean an obvious shortage in playing time. It will affect your practice sessions and we all know what happens to a piano player with the lack of practice.

Here are a few practices you can do to improve your hand posture:

Playing Catch!

hand posture
Image Courtesy of Wiley Media

This fun exercise requires a ball. Now the size of the ball depends on your hand size. So choose anywhere from a ping pong ball to a tennis ball. Here are the steps to do this exercise:

  • If you have a friend, make him throw a ball at you. If you don’t have anyone, use a wall. Throw the ball at the wall such that it rebounds back to you, without knocking yourself out that is or smashing your nose in!
  • As the ball comes near you, catch it.
  • As you catch the ball, make sure your fingers are curved around its top portion.
  • Now observe how the fingers are wrapped around it. That is exactly how your hand position should be while playing the piano!

The handshake game – time to meet someone new!

You can do this exercise – either with a partner or by yourself. If you decide to do this on your own, make sure no one sees it. They might mistake you to have gone bonkers.

  • If you have a friend, shake his or her hand. If you are doing it alone, stick out your hand as if to shake someone’s hands.
  • Now grasp your partner’s hand for a second and maintain the hand posture even after letting go.
  • Now try flipping the hand so that the palm goes down.
  • This is exactly how your hand position should look like. To describe it – knuckles will be firm with curved fingers while the thumb and index finger should form a C-shape.
hand shake
Image Courtesy of Free Stock

Is anybody thirsty?

This is the simplest of all the exercises. This can be done alone without the help of anyone. You will need a glass for this. Make sure to grab one suitable for your hand size.

  • Grab the glass.
  • Try observing the shape of your hand while holding it.
  • Experiment different positions, try to figure out which is more comfortable.
  • Now let go of the glass (place it on the counter or piano top on a pad or coaster – no reason to drop it!) and transition your hand so that your palm is facing down.
  • Place your hands on the piano keys without changing its posture.
  • This is very similar to the “handshake game”. Pay a lot of attention to the fingers’ curvature and the distance between the index finger and the thumb.
drinking water
Image Courtesy of Public Domain

Important pointers while doing the exercises:

  • The hand and fingers should be completely relaxed. There should be no tension whatsoever.
  • Relaxed doesn’t mean floppy. The part of the knuckles close to the fingertips should be bent and firm.

Just enjoy the whole thing. Do not put too much stress on getting better. As long as you love what you are doing, getting better happens naturally! Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat guard) excelled in basketball because he loved playing it – this same idea and aspect can be the same for you in regards to the piano.

Featured Image: Image Credit

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