Music, School of


Date of this Version

September 2002


Published in Keyboard Companion 13:3 (Autumn 2002), pp. 16–17. Copyright © 2002 Keyboard Companion; Used by permission.


Small handedness is a complex problem that cannot be solved in the space of a few paragraphs. Moreover, the severity of this problem has increased over time. Since the invention of the piano circa 1700, the keys have increased not only in width but also in length. The height of the ebonies over the whites and the depth of the keystroke have also increased, along with the heaviness of the action. Because these developments present formidable challenges for small-handed players, there is a need for heightened awareness concerning their specialized technical problems.

Most of the repertoire written for elementary and early-intermediate level students has been composed for a child-sized, and therefore small, hand. However, the movements that will eventually constitute a healthy piano technique are built from the earliest lessons in ever-increasing complexity. Building a coordinated technique is important for all pianists, but is paramount for the small-handed player.

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