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#2038548 - 02/24/13 04:43 PM small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
(hi i just found out about this section of the forum after another member suggested i should post here)

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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#2038848 - 02/25/13 06:00 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
zapper Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/13
Posts: 77
practice yoga for your hands.

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#2038941 - 02/25/13 10:26 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Jonny Guitar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 87
Its all about the limber stretching. Yuja Wang has tiny hands but she can reach twice the range that she should be able to. You need to do some exercises to stretch out the parts that are restricting your reach. It is the same as touching your toes: when you start you can barely touch your knees, then you can touch your toes, then you can basically fold yourself in half. Because of guitar, my left hand (fretting hand) can reach about 1 1/2" further than my right hand so I have to do stretches on my right hand to catch up.

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#2043232 - 03/05/13 07:44 AM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
tend to rush Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 55
I searched Google images for walking 10ths, hoping to find this notated, but no luck. Basically, the little finger of the left hand plays a bass line - say -
C, D, D#, E,
F, G, G#, A
while the thumb plays 10ths, above -
E, F, F#, G
A, B flat, B natural, C
etc.

Hope this is clear. When 10ths can't be played together - D to F#, for example - they are often "rolled" - appegiated, in effect. I'd be careful about painful stretching.


Edited by tend to rush (03/05/13 07:53 AM)

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#2048369 - 03/14/13 06:45 PM Re: small hands for jazz? how can i increase hand size [Re: adak]
Thomas Williams Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 62
Loc: NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: adak

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).


I'd call into question the knowledge of whoever told you this. Mozart very rarely, if ever, demands such a large hand span. Some later music does frequently involve larger harmonic intervals, but pianists with small hands find ways around most of the challenges that their hand size presents. (Sometimes this involves interpretive choices -- such as rolling or otherwise splitting a large chord in such a way as to convince the audience that it was intended to be played that way.)

You can, of course, do exercises to improve the flexibility of your hands, but care should always be taken to maintain healthy technique -- you don't want to injure your hands in an attempt to increase their versatility. By and large, the more important thing to do is to learn to use the hands that you have to their best advantage and potential -- and how you do that will depend on what sort of music you're playing, etc. (A subject for another thread -- or many threads.)
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