Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours

Posted by: kristal

Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 02:55 AM

Hi All, I am new to this forum after being lurking only recently. I am a second time adult piano learner. Having started, classical at age 27 and then stopped at 39. Started learning again last year at age 49. I am learning to get my grade 7 and find my hands are sore after practising and what also make it worse, I have small hands and can barely touch an octave. It is a challenge and can be frustrating when I find certain notes I cant stretch enough or if I make it my hands become sore at the end of my practise. Any advise you can give to reduce my soreness and coping with small hands will be appreciated. I hate to give up learning piano just because of my small hands. I stand at 4ft 8 inch and have baby hands (that's what most people described). Thanks for reading.
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 03:08 AM

I can't give any advice but the topic of small hands has been looked at before, here is a link to a PW thread

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...0size%20ke.html
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 03:10 AM

Sounds like you may benefit from looking at the piano yoga website. The book has a structured course for expanding the hand. It would have been very useful except i have terribly fat fingers and cannot adobt the flat finger position the book uses...


Lovely put together book too. Shame i am a fatty with giant hands. :-)
Posted by: jdw

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 07:27 AM

In this video clip, Edna Golandsky talks about hand size. She says that allowing the hand to fall open, instead of stretching, will ease the tension that can cause pain. You also can reach further that way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ziwF61MvDA
Posted by: CarlosCC

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 09:46 AM

Originally Posted By: kristal
Hi All, I am new to this forum after being lurking only recently. I am a second time adult piano learner. Having started, classical at age 27 and then stopped at 39. Started learning again last year at age 49. I am learning to get my grade 7 and find my hands are sore after practising and what also make it worse, I have small hands and can barely touch an octave. It is a challenge and can be frustrating when I find certain notes I cant stretch enough or if I make it my hands become sore at the end of my practise. Any advise you can give to reduce my soreness and coping with small hands will be appreciated. I hate to give up learning piano just because of my small hands. I stand at 4ft 8 inch and have baby hands (that's what most people described). Thanks for reading.

Hi kristal, and welcome to PW!

I think soreness is not related to the size of the hands. I'm not an expert but I think you need some advice regarding with posture. If you feel pain is probably because you are "striving " with your hand. Speak to your teacher.

I have small hands and I usually do not have pain. I try to be as "natural" and relaxed as possible.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 10:15 AM

What music are you playing? Can you provide specific examples of places that don't feel comfortably within your reach? It is most likely due to your technique, but there also may be changes you can make to the music to make it playable for you.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 11:29 AM

Can you post a video of you playing something?
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 11:51 AM

kristal, I have read your post, here:

Hi All, I am new to this forum after being lurking only recently. I am a second time adult piano learner. Having started, classical at age 27 and then stopped at 39. Started learning again last year at age 49. I am learning to get my grade 7 and find my hands are sore after practising and what also make it worse, I have small hands and can barely touch an octave. It is a challenge and can be frustrating when I find certain notes I cant stretch enough or if I make it my hands become sore at the end of my practise. Any advise you can give to reduce my soreness and coping with small hands will be appreciated. I hate to give up learning piano just because of my small hands. I stand at 4ft 8 inch and have baby hands (that's what most people described). Thanks for reading.

__________________________________________


Sore hands have nothing to do with small hands. Child as young as 4 or 5 five and very,very short don't have sore hands.

How long do you practice for - 10 minutes at a time, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 2 hours, 3, 4, 5, etc. How long?

What piece are you working on at the moment so people can understand what you are playing. I am a beginner so I can't help you on the music.

As others have said, you MUST be RELAXED without exception when practicing or playing. It is interesting that you say you have to stretch and it hurts, etc.

I am a beginner and I am 63, and I have just learned
a one note extension in the left hand and it is going to take me a month or many more months to be relaxed when I have to make my little finger go from G and stretch over the crack of the key to the next key of F. You can' force that move or stretch the little finger. I play the move very slowly and am very patient learning the move.

Don't focus on the hands, the small hands, focus on playing the piano. The fact that I am very, very, old isn't the reason I can't play very well. The reason I can't play very well is because I have been only playing for one year.

cheers,
Posted by: raikkU

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 11:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I have to make my little finger go from G and stretch over the crack of the key to the next key of F. You can' force that move or stretch the little finger. I play the move very slowly and am very patient learning the move.


I'm curious, can you elaborate on this? Pinky finger of left hand goes from G to F and has to be completely relaxed?
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 04:01 PM

Quote:
Sore hands have nothing to do with small hands. Child as young as 4 or 5 five and very,very short don't have sore hands.

Directly, yes, this is true. But consider: most piano related pain is a result of inflammation, which worsens over time, and as we age, our body recovers slower. Adults also work, which, for most people, means they're using a computer and/or a phone. Added stress. Additionally, most 4-5 year olds aren't playing much beyond a very basic beginner piece, in which you certainly almost never need to span an octave; and they typically don't practice for hours every day. So, there are valid reasons why we don't often hear of a child with this type of issue.

Having small hands certainly makes it more difficult to reach certain stretches, which means if you don't have near-perfect technique, you will likely cause more injury to yourself than someone who has larger hands and doesn't have to reach the limit of their hand span as often.

Using a technique that reduces and/or eliminates this strain will help immensely, but there are mitigating factors here that may be difficult to surmount. (That's one of the reasons I, specifically, asked for a video.. guesswork won't help. wink )
Posted by: kristal

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/09/13 11:52 PM

Hi Morodiene, Im playing Allegro (3rd movement from Sonata in C) by Mozart, as my 1st piece and second piece, Im playing Berceuse by Frank Bridge. I find that when I play Allegro, I dont get the soreness but after I played Berceuse which is usually the last piece I practice, I will get the soreness at the end. I sit down and play for 1.5 to 2 hrs at a stretch and maybe with 10 mins break in between. With scales at the start before the pieces. The soreness is worse the next morning.
Posted by: kristal

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/10/13 12:15 AM

Hi Michael, Im doing Allegro by Mozart and Berceuse by bridge. I sit and practice for 1.5 to 2 hrs with maybe 10 mins break in between. Its the berceuse I think caused the soreness. not so much for Allegro. My teacher emphasised that I must play legato for Berceuse even with pedal for smoother sound.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/10/13 01:16 AM

Did I miss something? A person that is going for a grade 7 exam in piano, is an advanced intermediate. Surely a level 6 pianist has a teacher and/or other locals that can help, and has already learned many coping mechanisms both for the small hands and the soreness.

For those reading along, here are some common sense suggestions for soreness. Break the practice time down to 20 or 30 minutes segments with rest in between or practice at different times of the day. Cold packs (ice or similar) may help sooth sore hands. Soaking in warm water also can help. Personally, I like to wear gloves, especially on cool mornings. For me, a bare hand on a cool computer mouse causes a near instant flare.

If soreness crosses over to pain, stop, take a day or two off. If the soreness resumes, I would suggest cutting down the practice time to an hour a day and then see how that works. I doubt it is about technique, if the pianist already studied for 12 years and passed a grade 6 exam.
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/10/13 03:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger


If soreness crosses over to pain, stop, take a day or two off. If the soreness resumes, I would suggest cutting down the practice time to an hour a day and then see how that works. I doubt it is about technique, if the pianist already studied for 12 years and passed a grade 6 exam.


As an ex endurance ultramarathon runner, I can well understand pain from a repetitive activity. You may have an injury which can some times be fixed with an over the counter anti inflammatory. However if this is persisting it is a doctor you need to speak to, don't take any risks with these sort of things.
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/10/13 04:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
I doubt it is about technique, if the pianist already studied for 12 years and passed a grade 6 exam.


This is partly true; the occurrence and presence of soreness and discomfort isn't related to technical ability. It's rather that the technique that has been learned/acquired isn't a properly efficient, or pain-free, one.

Originally Posted By: http://pianoandorgantechnique.com/faq_4.html

How do you define “technique?”

The word “technique” means the method or means we use for accomplishing a complex task. It is usually applied to complex tasks in the arts (painting, playing a musical instrument), sports (tennis serve, golf swing), and laboratory science (identifying genes, measuring air pollutants). A technique may be easy or difficult to learn, safe for the user or unsafe, efficient or not. An efficient technique results in the task being performed with minimal energy used, that is, only the amount of energy needed for the job.

In piano playing, an efficient technique is a well-coordinated technique. It means that:

The player is aware of the state of her/her body and senses when muscles are contracted or released and how the body is aligned.

The player knows which muscles are needed to perform a particular task and can control their use.

The player knows which muscles are not needed for that task and can inhibit or prevent their contraction.

The player understands that efficient performance of the task involves awareness and control of all parts of the musculo-skeletal system, which is to say “whole body” coordination. In both music and sports, the whole body contributes to performance.

A player who has a well-coordinated technique plays with ease, with free, resonant sound, and with reduced risk of future injury.


If you don't have access to a knowledgeable teacher in person, then at the very least, a medium-to-high quality video of your playing (a 2 o'clock angle of you sitting and playing at the piano) would be necessary for those that are capable here to try and provide assistance.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/10/13 09:15 AM

All this talk about how to cope with the soreness is great, but the problem is it shouldn't be happening. That is my concern, that there is technically something going on here that needs to be addressed, not simply treating the symptoms.

Originally Posted By: kristal
Hi Morodiene, Im playing Allegro (3rd movement from Sonata in C) by Mozart, as my 1st piece and second piece, Im playing Berceuse by Frank Bridge. I find that when I play Allegro, I dont get the soreness but after I played Berceuse which is usually the last piece I practice, I will get the soreness at the end. I sit down and play for 1.5 to 2 hrs at a stretch and maybe with 10 mins break in between. With scales at the start before the pieces. The soreness is worse the next morning.


It's clear that how you are playing the Berceuse is the issue. Can you post a video of you playing this piece? Also, have you talked to your teacher about this problem?
Posted by: kristal

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/11/13 09:04 AM

Hi All & Morodiene, thanks for the tips. Okay how do I upload my video practice here for your viewing? thanks.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/11/13 09:10 AM

Originally Posted By: kristal
Hi All & Morodiene, thanks for the tips. Okay how do I upload my video practice here for your viewing? thanks.


I think you'd have to upload it to Youtube (create an account there first if you haven't one), and then you can post the link to the video here.
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Sore hands after practising piano for 1.5 hours - 05/13/13 12:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: kristal
Hi All & Morodiene, thanks for the tips. Okay how do I upload my video practice here for your viewing? thanks.


I think you'd have to upload it to Youtube (create an account there first if you haven't one), and then you can post the link to the video here.

There are a few available, with different pros and cons: vimeo, kaltura, ustream .. but yes, youtube is probably the fastest and easiest (and free).

If you're worried about people seeing it, you can set it to private and just share the link with us.