When people start playing the piano, it is very important to explain to them the way they are supposed to hold their hands. If they do not know about it, the chances are that they would tend to hold them incorrectly, which, in turn, will slow down their progress on the instrument. The challenge that the player immediately faces is continuously and consciously holding the hand in a position which might initially feel very strange and uncomfortable (we were not simply born to play the instrument!). However after 2 – 3 weeks, if one is consistent, holding the hand correctly will become second nature.
When playing the piano, it is good to perceive the hand as an independent object which is supposed to perform various functions. Fingers are doing their job, while wrists should ensure that there is no tension, but the position of the hand must facilitate the best structure for the player to be able to perform at his or her best.
If you look at your hand, the first most important area to pay attention to is the ridge of knuckles connecting the fingers to the hand. From there your fingers start to work. Those knuckles should be always slightly raised, forming the so-called ‘C’ sign between fingers 1 and 2 (See the Thumb picture).
The second important area is the muscle that holds your thumb (the Thenar Muscle), as it ensures that the hand is not collapsing and in the long run prevents the thumb, which is the heaviest finger, making a ‘pushy’ sound on the keys (Please see the Piano-Yoga® 30 Sec Tip No. 4 below).
The third important area is the muscle which is attached to your little finger, (the Hypothenar Muscle). When its engaged, it holds the hand so that it does not collapse down and towards the outside.
When all these three areas are engaged, the hand is in its perfect playing position.
The whole hand position should be in line with your forearm, which in turn should be at an angle of 90 Degrees to your upper arm. Once you start playing, the wrist should have enough freedom to move up and down while the hand moves. Please note, without proper use of the wrist, a good hand position by itself will not be sufficient to play well, but without it, it will be absolutely impossible to do so!
The simplest way to establish a good hand position is to put the hand on your knee cap. The fingers will automatically form the shape that is required to play the piano. Then, without disturbing this position, raise your hands and put them on the keys.
You can receive a free copy of the Piano-Yoga® Foundation Course eBook when you register with our website (free), which contains various exercises on strengthening the fingers, developing flexibility of the wrist and establishing the independence of the Thenar muscle.
Click HERE to register and then send us an email to request your free eBook.
Enjoy your playing!