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A piano analogy for small hands ...


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Hi again folks, and thanks for all your suggestions in my last post.

To answer someone's question, ... no, I don't have a teacher (can't afford one anymore) and I'm already playing a 3/4.

I have these short, fat fingers, and to show you what I mean, ... I can't spread and hold down my fingers simultaneously, over the first notes of each string, without a great distortion of the hand.

If I hold my hand nice and proper, with the wrist held straight, I can slide the whole hand, like a type writer slides, between each note along the string.

I have spent the past year, trying to spread the fingers out to cover all the notes within the first position, but I find this is not feasible for me.

Then last night, I was thinking about my piano playing and had this thought:

"If my hand was much smaller, and I couldn't reach an octave on the key board, ... I wouldn't want to stretch my fingers in an awkward position to cover them. That would put me at a disadvantage in my comfort and accuracy.

Instead of that, I would want to simply move the whole hand across the span of notes."

So here I am ... I know I have a good sense of intonation. I check myself on an electronic tuner often and I can tell when I'm the slightest bit off.

I just don't know the best way to slide or pivot from note to note.

As I see it this morning, there are at least four general principles that could apply here:

1. Allow the whole hand to slide (with the thumb) just like a type writer does, keeping the wrist very straight. (I find this uses the biceps of the arm a lot.)

2. Allow the whole hand to slide as before, with the wrist kept straight, but this time, keep the thumb in place as a reference spot and axis. (This feels more controlled than option 1 does.)

3. This time, place the thumb as an axis, but keep the hand reativly steady, and allow the wrist to pivot back and forth. (This is probably the closest to the correct way, but I don't like the feel of the wrist bending)

4. This time, place the thumb as an axis, but keep the wrist straight. Allow all of the pivoting action to come from the whole arm/elbow. (Gosh, this would be a work out!)

If I've made any sense here, and you can see what I'm talking about, I would appreciate any help I could get. This group is going to be a life saver for me.

Thanks a million,


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Do you bring your left elbow forward under the instrument? This helps by moving your palm closer to parallel to the neck. It certainly improves my reach. I'm playing with rheumatoid arthritis, so I have to fight for flexibility. It doesn't feel natural, but that is the right thing to do and actually easy to get used to.

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Well, I can come up with all kinds of ideas and they all have to do with getting someone to help you for a short time. There are lots and lots of good fiddle players in Nashville. Engage one in conversation after one of their performances -or- go to a good fiddle/violin shop (not a music store) and ask for help -or- go to a violin teacher at a local university and beg for a few minutes of their time. We can give you advice here but someone really needs to see you to know for sure what you're talking about. You don't want to develop very bad habits in your playing.

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