So, how to increase hand span for piano? What are the exercises you can do to increase hand span for easier piano playing? Do longer and wider hands help you in playing the piano? Does having a wider hand span due to genetics only? When it comes to learning how to play the piano, many people prefer to have a wider hand span, as they think that they can do better with it. So, now, we are going to check out if there is a way for you to increase your hand span naturally or none.
Can You Increase Your Hand Size
If you are a pianist, maybe one of your wish lists is to have a wider hand span; however, is it possible? Based on science, the measurements of your hands will only depend on the size of your hand bones. Even if you try to do all the stretching, squeezing, and strengthening exercises, it would still be impossible to make your bones longer and wider if they have already reached their maximum limit.
However, doing the exercises can still help you become a better pianist in the end. There are things that you can do to help your hands become more flexible, which is highly needed to play the piano. So, do not lose hope just because you have small hands, as this cannot stop you from being a great pianist as long as you give yourself time to learn the instrument.
Stretching Exercises For Hand Flexibility
One way that you can do to help widen the span of your hand is to do thumb stretching, which will maximize the distance from your thumb to your little finger. To execute it, you should first gently pull the thumb away from the other fingers with the thumb of your other hand. The second step is to hold it for 30 seconds before you relax. Repeat it with your other hand. It would be best if you did it every day while having some free time.
The next thing you can do to increase your hand span is the finger lift. Although it can take a little more time, it could still help you greatly, giving you an increased range of motion. You can start by placing your hand palm down and flat on possibly a firm surface. Start to lift each finger one at a time gently and off the table that is high enough so that you can feel the stretch along the top of your fingers.
Repeat the specific exercise ten times after you have stretched every finger. The last step is to repeat the steps with your other hand.
The third method you can try to make your hands more flexible, which can greatly help when you are playing the piano, is the flat stretch. It starts by resting your one hand, palm down, and on a table, or you can also place it on other firm surfaces. Start then to slowly straighten your fingers, making your hand as flat as possible against the surface. The next is to hold it for 30 seconds before switching hands. Repeat the exercise three to four times using both hands.
Top Pianists With Small Hands
When you are talking about legendary pianists that have small hands, one that comes to mind is Vladimir Ashkenazy. Vladimir is widely known for his solo acts as a pianist, conductor, and chamber music performer. Born in Russia, he got his Icelandic citizenship in 1972 and has lived in Switzerland since the start of 1978. Vladimir is also famous for his collaborations with orchestras and other solo artists. He was given five Grammy Awards and Iceland’s Order of the Falcon for his works.
As a pianist, he could only span an octave, which is pretty short compared to other pianists. Aside from his small hands, he also had stubby fingers, making playing the piano more difficult. Despite his limitations, many still consider Vladimir to be one of the greatest pianists of all time.
Alicia De Larrocha
The only woman on our list, Alicia De Larrocha, is a legendary Spanish composer and pianist. She is also considered by many as one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Alicia is physically limited as she is under the height of five feet tall and has tiny hands and fingers. In an interview, she admitted that she had to do stretching exercises all of the time to help her overcome her physical limitations.
Alicia won plenty of Grammy Awards and a Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts. She is also credited for popularizing the compositions of Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados. She became the first Spanish artist to be awarded the UNESCO Prize in 1995. Many are also considering her to be the greatest Spanish pianist of her time.
Another pianist on our list that comes in a unique situation, Josef Hofmann, is a Polish-American pianist, inventor, music teacher, and composer that has abnormally small hands, resulting in Steinway making a custom-built piano for him that comes with modifications like its narrower keys. He is one of the few pianists that play with custom-made pianos only for him so that he can play perfectly, as it would be difficult for him to play a normal piano.
Aside from being a pianist, he also wrote books about his journey of having difficulties playing the instrument with small hands. In his books, he cited numerous ways to overcome the disadvantages of playing the piano with small hands. As he could barely reach an octave, it did not stop him from being one of the greatest pianists of all time.
One of the greatest pianists in these modern times, Wael Farouk, is an Egyptian-American pianist who has been known for performing in famous venues, such as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Carnegie Hall in New York, and Schumann’s House in Leipzig, Germany. He was born with very short fingers, as he can hardly open a jar or make a fist, though he is widely known for performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos since he was 19 years old.
His physical limitations did not stop him from being a great pianist, as he was highly discouraged by many in his younger years because of his short hands. He was able to prove to all his doubters that they were wrong after performing the most difficult Rachmaninoff works, which are known to be very difficult, even for professional pianists.
Remember that all the pianists mentioned above are famous for having short hands, which is pretty unusual for a pianist; however, it is not impossible to become a great one, even with the physical limitations. So, if you are a pianist with small hands, it is not a reason for you not to become great, though you will need to give more time with your practice and sacrifices to become a great pianist.
So, how to increase hand span for piano? Though there is no chance for you to make your hands longer and bigger in size, if your bones have grown to their limit, you can do stretching exercises to help your hands become more flexible, so you can still have better reach with your small hands.