Piano Forum logo
October 23, 2014, 01:45:22 PM *
   Forum Home   Help Search  


Live Streamed Piano Recital with Murray McLachlan

A new piano recital series has been launched in Stockholm this fall. The first recital, with pianist Peter Jablonski took place on September 15 and today, you can hear British pianist Murray McLachlan play live from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Read more >>

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Very small hands, advanced music  (Read 2265 times)
shera
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 8


« on: November 19, 2008, 02:55:53 AM »

Hello,

Does anyone have any tips on teaching young kids with small hands playing very advanced music?  What should I focus on, avoid, be careful of, etc.  These students are new for me this year.

Some problems they have are flat fingers, not connecting even when it's an easy reach, and even using 2 fingers on one key unnecessarily.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated!

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
hyrst
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 439


« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 11:12:39 AM »

Hi,
I'd be interested in knowing a little more about the level of music and the age.  I might be able to give you some more specific ideas.

I have a ten year old playing grade 6 and a seven year old playing grade 7.  Most of my students are very young, and others are about grade 3 or 4.  None of these students can reach octaves. 

I guess I don't tend to think a lot about it for most of them - I am simply used to my students having a small span.  When a student shows me they can stretch an octave on the edge of the keys, I am so unused to this that I tend to respond with surprise.  It's kind of funny.  I actually have a hard time knowing what to do with students who easily reach a large span - I also have very small hands. 

Anyway, back to your question - sorry for going on for a bit.  Just trying to empathise.

Up until about grade 6 or 7 there is a huge range of repertoire with only occassional octaves played as a chord.  Avoid pieces that really rely on these octaves.  All other pieces I teach broken octaves, rewrite chords, use chords instead of octaves, arpeggiate chords - whatever works for the piece.  I know this is an extra technical challenge for these young students, but this is just one of the things they take in their stride - part of playing at their levels.  I am happy for them to learn the necessary skills - it puts them ahead for higher grades and things just get easier for them as their hands grow. 

My real issue is starting to develop with the young girl who is playing past this level.  I play through pieces I give to her and determine the likely technical difficulties.  I avoid pieces that do rely on unison octaves.  She has the technique to deal with most other things, but options are significantly limited.

Issues with legato are common among my very small (mostly preschool) students.  There does seem to be a choice between playing either legato with flat fingers or detached with a better hand position.  I think the better option is to allow some detachment in pieces / scales/ arpeggios, but work with small patterns that can be reached comfortably - even if this is using fingers 1 to 3 on notes side by side.  Strength is the problem when it comes to the reach - leading to the flat fingers.  When you play at your greatest reach, you have to use the small finger muscles - in the young ones these muscles are not quite strong enough to grip as needed.  It is better to play lightly / portamento in a proper position over the keys.  If they must play legato when the fingers are not ready, they could depend too much on the wrist and create bad problems here. 

It really depends on what age and level you are working with to say much more than this.  If you work on developing the stretch between fingers, make sure the student/s learn to 'regroup' or rest the hand after each stretch or short period of stretch. 

I think the 2 fingers on one key is probably something that will pass.  At least the hand is is not strained when doing this. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
jinfiesto
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 247


« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2008, 07:01:27 AM »

I have huge hands, ( I can reach a twelfth) and I use double fingerings all the time. It's a convenient way to support a sound that's larger than you would usually be capable of. I wouldn't discourage the practice, unless it's getting in the way. I also use it if I need to match sound in a voice spread across the hands. For instance in un sospiro, I use 45 when playing the octaves in the crossing octaves section with my right hand, so that the sound is more similar to that of my thumbs.

Anyways, the topic at hand. Certainly I'd avoid music if possible, that has such large reaches. There's no shame in filling out her repertoire a little bit without necessarily advancing forward technically while her physique catches up to her technical ability. If she's momentarily surpassed her physical capabilities, there's really nothing you can do without hurting her. I'd just have her fill out her rep a little bit. It'll be great for her in the long run. There are lots of wonderful useable pieces that she'll probably be able to learn. Many Chopin waltzes and mazurkas can be used professionally, and many of the Mendelssohn songs without words are wonderfully, and see professional use as well. The Grieg lyric pieces, and lots and lots of Bach never hurt. Maybe even take a break and teach her improvising or composition if you're capable! I think that learning those skills are really invaluable if you have the time to do it, and I don't really think there's a better time than when she can't move forward technically on account of her simply not being physically developed enough. Technical growth isn't the only kind of growth you should strive for in your students Tongue
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dan101
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 440


« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 11:03:03 AM »

We had someone in college with tiny hands that specialized in Mozart.

Your repertoire selection can't go against nature. I would pick pieces without octaves and four note chords.

At some point, your young student will probably grow into pieces that require more of a hand span.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Daniel E. Friedman, owner of www.musicmasterstudios.com
You CAN learn to play the piano and compose in a fun and effective way.
communist
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1100


« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2008, 10:19:58 PM »

try and give the alot of Scriabin ( i am serious but in a joking way )
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

"The stock markets go up and down, Bach only goes up"

-Vladimir Feltsman
amelialw
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1106


« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2008, 08:43:58 AM »

i have small hands too, that can barely span an octave and i'm 21 haha

You should take a look at Mozart, especially, his pieces suite people with small hands. For Debussy, try Children's Corner. a few of chopin's nocturnes, waltzes, Bach's preludes and fugues, schubert impromtu's....there's alot more pieces so you have to explore with your students. That's what my teacher did with me for 4 yrs but eventually, it will reach a point when you will have no choice anymore so you can always modify octave sections or just encourage the students and they will finally get past it.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu
point of grace
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 581


« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2008, 02:46:58 PM »

bach is great for kids.
if not try with the little nigar by debussy or some bartok mokrokosmos.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Learning:

Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
Brahms Op. 79 No. 2
Rachmaninoff Op. 16 No. 4 and 5
communist
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1100


« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2008, 01:13:32 AM »

i have small hands too, that can barely span an octave and i'm 21 haha

You should take a look at Mozart, especially, his pieces suite people with small hands. For Debussy, try Children's Corner. a few of chopin's nocturnes, waltzes, Bach's preludes and fugues, schubert impromtu's....there's alot more pieces so you have to explore with your students. That's what my teacher did with me for 4 yrs but eventually, it will reach a point when you will have no choice anymore so you can always modify octave sections.


thats why you have been learning the same pieces for like 3 years
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

"The stock markets go up and down, Bach only goes up"

-Vladimir Feltsman
amelialw
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1106


« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008, 05:54:22 PM »


thats why you have been learning the same pieces for like 3 years

wow...that is a huge insult. seriously, i don't care! LOL
and I have not, where's your proof. and there are only 2 pieces that i practised for 2 yrs, which is the chopin nocturne and the bach partita, that's it. some pieces appeared on my list many times but were taken out and replaced a couple of times simply because i was seeing if i was ready for the piece/my teacher taught i was but i could'nt cope.
I know that i have improved alot for the 5 past yrs and you can't say anything because you have not heard anything i've played either or even if you did, it was'nt at my best at all.
And to top that off, I just completely lost respect for you! Roll Eyes
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu
amelialw
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1106


« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 06:00:54 PM »

besides that you don't have small hands yourself or hands as small as mine(the chances are extremely slim too)

my teacher who has been with me for 5 yrs ( and did not teach me for 6 mths because i've been back in singapore) is very proud of the progress i've made especially for the past 2 yrs or so and she does not just praise anyone except on occasions where she sees that i really deserve it. I had poor training for many yrs too before that time

just to prove to u that i haven't stuck to anything for small hands that much here's a list:
J.S Bach
Mozart
Beethoven
Haydn
Chopin
Schumann
Mendelssohn
Rachmaninoff
Debussy
Prokofiev
Tsitsaros

and finally.....you will never understand

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu
communist
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1100


« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 08:20:23 PM »

wow...that is a huge insult. seriously, i don't care! LOL
and I have not, where's your proof. and there are only 2 pieces that i practised for 2 yrs, which is the chopin nocturne and the bach partita, that's it. some pieces appeared on my list many times but were taken out and replaced a couple of times simply because i was seeing if i was ready for the piece/my teacher taught i was but i could'nt cope.
I know that i have improved alot for the 5 past yrs and you can't say anything because you have not heard anything i've played either or even if you did, it was'nt at my best at all.
And to top that off, I just completely lost respect for you! Roll Eyes



lol i was just joking around, i do that with everyone, and believe me you not the first person i insulted


and sorry if i offended you that badly  Cry
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

"The stock markets go up and down, Bach only goes up"

-Vladimir Feltsman
amelialw
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1106


« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2008, 02:43:29 AM »



lol i was just joking around, i do that with everyone, and believe me you not the first person i insulted


and sorry if i offended you that badly  Cry

you really need to stop joking around then. There's the 2 ways, joking just for fun and joking at other people's expense so you just have to be careful not to do that again.

apology accepted
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

J.S Bach Italian Concerto,Beethoven Sonata op.2 no.2,Mozart Sonatas K.330&333,Chopin Scherzo no.2,Etude op.10 no.12&Fantasie Impromptu
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  


Need more info or help?


Search pianostreet.com - the web's largest resource of information about piano playing:



 
Jump to:  


Most popular classical piano composers:
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

o