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Joined: Feb 2008
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kit1197 Offline OP
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I want to play some open chord positions that require pinky finger on one note and the thumb on the octave above. I find this REALLY difficult. Is it something that will come with practice?

At this point I can reach the two notes but the side of my thumb (left hand) hits the 7th note as well and the inside of my pinky hits the 2nd note as well.

I want to take Edward Weiss' course that uses a lot of these stretches but I'm hesitant if trying to do the impossible will cause problems for my hands.

Thanks!


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some ppl have bigger hands and longer fingers, if you can't reach an octave comfortably your hands might be in the smaller range.
Don't be discouraged, just keep practicing. One trick is "relaxing" your fingers; they will stretch better and less fatigued.
I am fortunate to have long fingers that could reach 2,3 notes beyond an octave, but without stretching and being relaxed, I sometimes have difficulty too.

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Are there stretching exercises I can do when not near the piano?


Monique from Ottawa
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I hope so! I'm in need, too.

I do know that if you wash your hands in hot water for about 5 minutes before playing, your muscles will relax--the problem is, when working with the hands and fingers, you are dealing mainly with ligaments and tendons.


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Your reach can be improved in a number of ways, but it is far too dangerous to take advice remotely. Find a good teacher.

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I always quake when I tell somebody how I learned to do something when I just invented it myself. I have long fingers but small hands. Can barely do an ocatave stretch and was forever hitting the 7th myself. First I spent some time literally looking at my hands and walking each of them up and down in ocatave stretches. I did not do this excessively as I feared some sort of strain or injury. I worked it over time. It was more just to visually see where the thumb was supposed to hit each time.

Then I practiced some easy pieces I knew well and used an octave stretch to enrich a single note or notes in a few sections. By knowing the piece well already, I could do a quick glance down at my hands and make sure I was going to hit the eighth.

Debbie


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My hands are not real big or real small; I’d say they were medium size. However, I too had trouble playing octaves when I first started playing the piano. You would be surprised just how wide you can stretch your thumb and little finger if you keep working on it.

I can now comfortable play the octaves but I tend to bobble a little while playing fast tunes while playing the octaves.

I’ve noticed some professional pianist use octaves quite a bit.

Hope this helps,

Rickster


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I had issues initially with reaching notes. My hands aren't very big (roughly 8.5 inch handspan) but I can cover the octaves (treble clef) on say, Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca where the key first changes without any sloppiness now --- it just took a lot of practice on that piece and others.

I found the hardest part was not the reach but keeping the fingers in correct position while playing that series of octaves, both my pinkies have joint laxity/hypermobility, but eventually they seemed to be "strengthened"? enough to do it.

YMMV


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"It is dreadful when something weighs on your mind, not to have a soul to unburden yourself to. You know what I mean. I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Chopin

Currently memorizing for class: Debussy Prelude #8

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