What Is The Best Hand Position for Playing The Piano?

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Emily Sigers

The “self helper” among piano students is often so bewildered by a mass of contradictory directions regarding certain basic factors of his study, that he finds peculiar solace in the Scriptural affirmative “all men are liars!”

Take, for instance, the position of the hand – a matter of prime importance. The student is warned by numberless and undoubted authorities that he can never hope to attain eminence as a pianist unless he holds his hand “perfectly flat”; “a little arched”; “slightly inclined toward the thumb”; “inclined slightly toward the little finger”; “pointing slightly inward”; and one of the latest advises him to hold it practically “any old way!”

Bewilderingly simple, isn’t it? The question being all or none, or if one, which one and why?

The cause of all this maddening mess is that, very naturally, each method-maker recommends his own hand position, the position that best suited its structure, and one of the factors that has enabled him to attain his super-human technical dexterity. There was a reason for that position, and there should be a reason for every individual’s “normal hand-position”.
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One or another of the above positions will suit any hand to a nicety, but it is the height of absurdity to think that a long, narrow, super-flexible hand and a short, broad and stiff hand can use the same normal hand-position and attain the same results.

Place, now, your own hand on the piano keyboard, and see if you can tell which position suits it best and why? If not, and you are a real self-help student, the sooner you obtain from proper textbooks or a competent physician a knowledge of the anatomy and functions of the fingers, hands, arms, etc., the sooner you will begin to save hours upon hours of practice time.

One absolutely cannot order his practice to the best advantage without such knowledge – and it is perfectly easy to attain it.
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About the author: Written by Edwin E. Holt, this article was taken from the January 1922 issue of “Etude Musical Magazine.” This article is featured at thepianopages.com, along with free piano lessons, sheet music, products, and lots more.

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