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#2038424 - 02/24/13 12:53 PM small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
i am starting piano, adult so i am not growing anymore. just did a measurement, i can do a comfortable 9, edged 10, and stretched 11. i have been reading and that is the median for men, would i have issues because it seems african americans have larger hands than average.

i read you need to be comfortable with 11ths (for mozart?), just to get around the keyboard for most music without any compromises (although if we all had russian hands then this wouldn't be an issue).

what are "walking bass line 10ths"? can someone post an example.

what are some exercises to increase the span of my hand? how much can i go? i would like a comfortable 11th but that seems like a stretch. i can settle for a 10 but i assume some chord combinations would be difficult and awkward.

i am also slightly double jointed on my thumbs (45 degrees), would that help or hinder? trying to see if i could get a stretch somehow.

what is a beeline stretch for your hand, can someone a pic?

here is my hand:



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#2038427 - 02/24/13 12:56 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
JoelW Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 5107
Loc: USA
Your hands are fine.

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#2038431 - 02/24/13 01:02 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
You have huge hands. I can reach a octave and I play Mozart just fine. You will find lots of support in the ABF, and you could ask about walking bass in the non-classical forum.
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#2038442 - 02/24/13 01:27 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Your hands are fine.

+1

Please, not only for yourself but also for us because it pains us to think about it ha ....please forget about "increasing hand size." But, you might think of working on relaxing the hands to let them stretch more comfortably -- not to stretch further than they do now, but to do it more comfortably. (The hand looks quite tense in the pics, but maybe that's just because you were straining to stretch as far as you could, which is further than you really need to for most anything.)

BTW, in all my 200 years I never heard of needing to stretch an 11th for Mozart, or really even a 10th (or a 9th). Wherever you saw or heard it was full of crap. smile

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#2038444 - 02/24/13 01:32 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6418
Loc: St. Louis area
Have you tried putting your hand in a shop-vac?
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#2038453 - 02/24/13 01:46 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 220
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Hi Adak,

You have big hands. Your tenth looks like my ninth, which I rarely play because it's too big a stretch for me.

If you learn to play tenths reliably, you'll be able to do some great stride stuff that's literally out of reach for me, but I'm not sure your hand is quite big enough for that. You don't need tenths to play stride, it's just another arrow in your quiver.

People like to watch me play anyway so I guess I do OK, and I'm sure you will do.

Have fun,

Andy

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#2038455 - 02/24/13 01:47 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
bennevis Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 6646
This 11-year-old kid only just managed to stretch to an octave at the time he played this music:
http://youtu.be/3FJeOaRjZaE
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"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2038464 - 02/24/13 02:06 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1555
as far as C,F,and G for 10ths your fine...how about A,D, and E chord in 10ths?
most pianists with average size can do the C,F,&G hanging off the edge..

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#2038471 - 02/24/13 02:27 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: Bob Newbie]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Bob Newbie
as far as C,F,and G for 10ths your fine...how about A,D, and E chord in 10ths?
most pianists with average size can do the C,F,&G hanging off the edge..


I fall 1 short of each, so CFF and ADD is as far as i can get. this is with both on edge, both they are 10ths. the ones you posted are 11ths. if i stretch and practice would i eventually be able to get them or is it physically impossible? what won't i be able to play so i can try to avoid them.
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#2038494 - 02/24/13 03:03 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22773
Loc: Oakland
The best way to increase hand size is through genetic engineering. But it would be far better just to add another arm or two.
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#2038504 - 02/24/13 03:23 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
bennevis Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 6646
The quickest way to injure yourself - especially if you're an adult beginner - is to 'stretch' your fingers beyond their natural capability.

A warning from history - Robert Schumann derailed his ambition of becoming a concert pianist permanently by using a finger-stretching device that caused a permanent injury. (Fortunately for us, that meant he channeled his energies towards composing instead..... grin)
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#2038582 - 02/24/13 05:25 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: BDB]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: BDB
The best way to increase hand size is through genetic engineering. But it would be far better just to add another arm or two.

Don't listen to BDB. He's selling you a line. Genetic engineering is far too expensive. I still stand by my offer of finger extensions for $85,000 per finger. Remember, it's "forever".. (Works for DeBeers, right?) wink
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#2038600 - 02/24/13 05:49 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
It that were possible, most people would probably be extending other appendages first.

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#2038606 - 02/24/13 06:05 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: debrucey]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20356
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: debrucey
It that were possible, most people would probably be extending other appendages first.

Reminds me, I have a few thousand e-mails that went directly to 'junk' (no pun intended).... grin

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#2038731 - 02/24/13 11:06 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I believe I read recently an even better article than this on the subject of lengthening the hand-span, but can't for the life of me remember where it was. That said, this is still really good:

http://www.jeff-brent.com/Lessons/lh10ths.html

The best advice on the subject will be similar to the following quote:
Quote:
you're not stretching the tendons. The main part of the hand that stretches is the "web" between your thumb and forefinger.



edit: Oh! I remember now. The more recent resource was a short video by pianist/pedagogue Sara Davis Buechner discussing her thoughts on her and Dover's recently released re-print of Alberto Jonás's Master School of Virtuoso Piano Playing and the first two "stretching" exercises. You can watch here: http://www.saradavisbuechner.com/the-master-school-of-alberto-jonas/
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#2038774 - 02/25/13 01:26 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: Derulux]
outo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 1483
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: BDB
The best way to increase hand size is through genetic engineering. But it would be far better just to add another arm or two.

Don't listen to BDB. He's selling you a line. Genetic engineering is far too expensive. I still stand by my offer of finger extensions for $85,000 per finger. Remember, it's "forever".. (Works for DeBeers, right?) wink


I only need them for my right thumb and pinky, the left is fine...Do you take MasterCard?

Oh, are they very painful to install?

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#2038796 - 02/25/13 02:54 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
You can't definitely learn how to feel more comfortable stretching between intervals within the hand. For example with Chopin's Op. 10 No. 1. I often practice arpeggios in parallel 6ths/5ths with one hand. But there is no way to increase the overall span of your hand without injury.

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#2038801 - 02/25/13 03:07 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Are you all sure? People say they usually gain 1 key after playing for a while, so I am at a comfortable 9 right now, I should be able to do a comfortable 10 later correct? There is nothing I can really do about being small-handed but I can still try to make the best of it.
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#2038802 - 02/25/13 03:10 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
JoelW Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 5107
Loc: USA
Love the pic, adak.

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#2038804 - 02/25/13 03:19 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: JoelW]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Love the pic, adak.


What do you like about it?
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#2038805 - 02/25/13 03:19 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
Judging by your pics, you won't gain any more keys. My advice would be forget about it. I know some seriously good pianists who have trouble reaching more than an octave.

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#2038873 - 02/25/13 06:58 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: outo]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: outo
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: BDB
The best way to increase hand size is through genetic engineering. But it would be far better just to add another arm or two.

Don't listen to BDB. He's selling you a line. Genetic engineering is far too expensive. I still stand by my offer of finger extensions for $85,000 per finger. Remember, it's "forever".. (Works for DeBeers, right?) wink


I only need them for my right thumb and pinky, the left is fine...Do you take MasterCard?

Oh, are they very painful to install?

Visa or American Express, preferably. And it's not painful at all. About as bad as a hair transplant, or so I've been told. But it really depends on what size extensions you need. If you need to reach a 17th or larger comfortably, because you are trying to play Bach, it could be more painful. If you're going for a 42nd for Rachmaninoff, you won't feel a thing. You might not wake up in the morning, but at least you won't feel it, right? wink
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Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2038880 - 02/25/13 07:23 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5293
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
The reach of my left hand is greater than my right hand since I play a lot of tenths in my left hand.

I couldn't always play tenths in my left hand so it is possible to slightly increase the reach of your hands.
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#2038885 - 02/25/13 07:36 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12974
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
All kidding aside (some good chuckles in this thread), I would work more on getting a good technique. As Mark_C said, it appears as though your hands are quite tense and you should work with a teacher who can help you relax. You may possibly gain more span in the process, but if not, you'll at the very least gain longevity in your playing and avoid injury.
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#2039128 - 02/25/13 03:50 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 220
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: adak
There is nothing I can really do about being small-handed but I can still try to make the best of it.


Your hands are not small. My advice is, don't worry about it.

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#2039320 - 02/25/13 09:58 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: AndyJ]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Originally Posted By: adak
There is nothing I can really do about being small-handed but I can still try to make the best of it.


Your hands are not small. My advice is, don't worry about it.

You're ruining my finger extension business.. wink
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2039325 - 02/25/13 10:08 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: bennevis]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: bennevis
This 11-year-old kid only just managed to stretch to an octave at the time he played this music:
http://youtu.be/3FJeOaRjZaE


He will probably be able to stretch a 13th once he is done growing.

It would be great if I could even do a 10th on the black and white keys and I am full grown.
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#2039344 - 02/25/13 11:08 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: adak
Originally Posted By: bennevis
This 11-year-old kid only just managed to stretch to an octave at the time he played this music:
http://youtu.be/3FJeOaRjZaE


He will probably be able to stretch a 13th once he is done growing.

It would be great if I could even do a 10th on the black and white keys and I am full grown.

Time for a serious post.

Very, very, very few people on Earth (and probably in the history of people on this planet) can stretch a 13th. And there is no piece of music I have ever seen for which stretching a 13th is a necessity. In all seriousness, what is your obsession with hand size?

Take that jazz piece you posted, for example. I would be willing to be the absolute largest stretch in that piece is an octave. If you want to play it, you're going to have to relax your hand and make it smaller, not larger.

Movement, not size, is the key to playing an instrument where you are required to move in order to play it.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2039359 - 02/25/13 11:42 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: debrucey]
argerichfan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 9072
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: debrucey
It that were possible, most people would probably be extending other appendages first.

Yes, indeed. wink
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Jason

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#2039362 - 02/25/13 11:49 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2450
Loc: San Jose, CA
I just finished learning and performing the Chopin "Funeral March" Sonata. If there was ever any piece that made me want bigger hands, that was it. The Scherzo is murderous. But, there's nothing much I can do except practice more so that I can play with more control and less tension. Your hands are your hands. They may get better the more you practice, but they don't get bigger.

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