Piano Basics

Correct Hand Form For Playing A Piano – Avoid Injury And Pain

Incorrect hand position, alignment and movement can cause fatigue, pain and long term injury. Playing the piano can be strenuous on the tendons of your hand, wrist and the effects can do all the way to your shoulders. A correct hand position and movement will help mitigate the stress of playing and help improve the reach and flexibility of your fingers.

What is the correct way to hold your hands and placed them on the keyboard when playing the piano? It must be emphasised that not placing your hands in the proper way can lead to a lot of stress and even injury in your fingers.

The following issues can arise from not using the correct hand position for playing a keyboard: 

Difficulty in accessing keys quickly and efficiently. You are more likely to play wrong notes and wrong with them if you do not learn the correct positioning of your fingers and hands.

Cramping and injury. Not placing your hands correctly on the keyboard can lead to cramps in your hand. If you get cramps in your hands often you will feel less inclined to practice. And without sufficient practice you are not going to get better at playing the piano. You may also cause more serious injury to your hands by developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Arch the hands and fingers

The best way to explain how your fingers and hand should be shaped when playing the piano is to imagine yourself holding a tennis ball in your hand. You see the shape that your fingers take. They are slightly rounded and curved. This is the shape that you need to maintain when playing the piano. In addition to this the fingers should be relaxed and there should be no tension in your wrist or your forearm. Arching your fingers when playing has the following benefits.

  • Your hands will not get tired quickly
  • You will be able to access the white keys and the black keys more easily.
  • You will be able to move on the keyboard quicker.

One excellent reason why you were told to maintain the curved finger position when playing the keyboard is that you will notice that your fingers are not of equal length. This creates a bit of an awkwardness and playing the piano. But as soon as you curl your fingers the way we have just told you, you will realize that your fingers become equal length. The fingertips are all in line with each other.

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Trim your nails

Trimming your nails and keeping them to the right length is important when playing almost any musical instrument. When playing the guitar, not having your nails trimmed will make pressing the strings on the right fret difficult. Similarly when you are playing the piano, you will find it much more comfortable press the right key properly when you have trimmed fingernails. You are also not share the distracting click clack of your fingernails against the keys.

What is Fingering

When playing the piano or even the guitar, fingering refers to the usage of the right finger to play the right note. This is very important when playing the piano because playing with the correct finger is required so as to easily progress to playing subsequent notes in a song or a melody. Music sheets also have fingerings marked to help you plan which fingers to use to execute a particular musical piece.

The way fingering is done is that you number your fingers 1 to 5. Always starting with your thumb as number 1 for both the left and the right. From there you move on to 2, 3, 4 and 5 moving towards your little finger.

Giving your hands and fingers a rest

You may experience discomfort in your hands when playing the piano. Usually this can be taken care of by maintaining good posture and reducing the muscle tension in your forearms shoulders and your wrist. However, if you do experience discomfort, cease practicing immediately and relax your hands and fingers. Do an opposite hand action such as flexing to ease the pain.

Feeling cramped?

You may feel a cramp entering into your hands and fingers when practicing the piano for a prolonged period of time. For beginners this will happen more often. Even if you are maintaining the right posture, if you experience cramps or discomfort in your hands, it is your body’s way of telling you to take a break and give your hands a rest.

Give them a gentle massage if required. As mentioned before, do something else with your hands that requires a different action.

Avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a career-oriented injury. Basically, carpal tunnel syndrome develops from over-straining the muscles and ligaments in your wrist through constant, repetitive action. Bloggers and keyboard players make a repetitive action constantly with their wrists and fingers.

If you suspect that you might be injuring your fingers and hands, take the help from a medical practitioner immediately. The remedy for this can be simple unless you ignore the symptoms for a long time.

A dull ache in the forearms, wrists and fingers may be a sign that you are over exerting and damaging your muscles. Severe carpal tunnel syndrome even requires surgery to cure. You don’t want to get to this stage so never ever ignore any pain that you experience when playing the piano.

Consult your physician for ways to reduce or prevent it. If you have been diagnosed with carpal syndrome, speak to your physician about your piano playing and ask whether any steps can be taken to prevent any further damage and pain.