Does Playing Piano Change Your Hands? (Explained)

does playing piano change your hands
Written by Corey Morgan

It takes years of practice for 10 fingers to learn to play the piano’s eighty-eight keys. Many aspiring pianists want to know if playing the piano will change their hands in any way.

Playing the piano doesn’t change  your hands in any way. Finger dexterity, agility, and range of motion will all improve over time as you practice, but the bone structure will remain same. Your hands may not change physically, but there are other ways in which piano playing affects them.

What are the long-term effects of playing piano on your hands?

Your piano teacher probably gave you some pointers on how to sit, stand, and move your body when playing the piano. Instead than making your life more complicated, these recommendations are aimed to make playing more fun and prevent harm.

You can avoid pain and carpal tunnel syndrome by keeping your wrist in a neutral position—the same position you use to play the piano!

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common ailment among pianists. Hand numbness, tingling, and weakness caused by carpal tunnel syndrome can severely curtail one’s ability to practice the piano.

Preventing carpal tunnel syndrome is ideal, but if you’ve already had symptoms, don’t give up hope! There are numerous ways to alleviate or eliminate the pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in any work that necessitates repetitive hand motions, uncomfortable hand positions, or a firm grip such as office employees, welders, gardeners, mechanics, and hairstylists are just a few examples.

People who suffer from wrist pain frequently wear wrist supports while they sleep, as it helps to keep their wrists in a more natural position. Consider wrist supports if your job demands you to often move your wrists.

Position and posture of the wrist

When it comes to playing piano, you may wonder if your fingers will get thinner as a result of the physical activity, or if they will become thicker as a result of acquiring muscle.

The tendons in your hands will get stronger, but the size and shape of your fingers will remain same.

In some cases, the tone of a player’s fingers and hand improved when they played more frequently. There would be no anatomical alterations to your hand if you are playing the piano correctly.

Because of this, some people question if they’ll widen their hands by constantly stretching them apart. The only thing that will change is the ease with which you can spread your fingers apart.

This occurs as a result of the loosening of the webbing in between your fingers with time and regular practice.

Your hands shouldn’t be hyperextended, and you shouldn’t try to expand them too much. Over time, the fingers should naturally begin to extend, and they should not be forced.

How should you sit at the piano to avoid wrist and other bodily injuries?

  • Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the floor.
  • It is essential that your head, shoulders, hips, and elbows are aligned while you play a musical instrument, as well as your wrist, pinky finger.
  • To play, use your entire arm’s weight instead of your wrists or fingers.
  • If the bench is excessively low or high, you may not be able to play comfortably.
  • Your piano teacher can help you figure out the best way to sit down!

Workouts and stretching routines

Note: Seeing a doctor is necessary to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to your discomfort.

You don’t need any special equipment to do wrist workouts. You won’t become hot and sweaty or out of breath doing this. And there are a plethora of informative articles and videos available online. Basic stretches can be found in an article on WebMD. It’s crucial not to overdo it on the wrist flexion. Less is more in the case of already inflamed wrists.

Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment options (TTS)

  • Ice your wrists. With any inflammation, ice is helpful.

Playing the piano with ice cold hands and wrists is not recommended. Make sure your hands are warm before you begin playing or purchase fingerless gloves to keep your hands warm while you play if you have cold hands all the time.

As a general rule, avoid sleeping with your hands in or under your pillow. Most of the day, raise your hands above your head. Your hands will feel less swollen as well, which is good for your median nerve.

  • When playing the piano, take frequent pauses. Stretch. Get out of bed and take a walk.
  • If you have severe wrist discomfort, you should generally cease training until it subsides.  It’s okay to take a short break from the piano every now and then in order to get refreshed.

Do playing the piano cause your fingers to grow longer?

Hands with long, tapering fingers are commonly referred to as having “piano fingers”. There is a common belief that these hands and fingers were shaped by playing the piano.

While extensive piano practice can shape the muscles of your hands, wrists, and forearms, playing the piano will not make your fingers grow longer.

If you ever hear a pianist say that playing the piano made their fingers grow longer, the truth is that their fingers would have grown whether or not they played the piano.

It is common for pianists to begin playing at an early age, and as we become older, our fingers tend to develop as well.

What distinguishes the hand of a pianist from that of a non-pianist?

The muscles in the hand, wrist, and forearm of a pianist are developed via regular practice, but not enough to identify a pianist’s hands from those of a non-pianist.

Between the thumb and index finger, some pianists claim to have a discernible muscle. However, there is no clear evidence to support the claim that pianists have a more muscular palm.

As far as piano playing is concerned, the strength of your fingers and hands isn’t all that relevant. With practice, pianists attain a level of speed and dexterity that can’t be seen by simply glancing at their hands.

Great hand-eye coordination and an in-depth knowledge of the piano are required for a successful career as a pianist. Rather than the size or shape of one’s hands or fingers, the pianist’s ability to play properly is determined by one’s analytical mind and years of dedicated practice.

Is it true that pianists’ fingers are more muscular?

Our fingers are controlled by muscles in our palms and forearms. Except for the arrector pili muscles, which have no function in piano playing.

In the context of piano, “strong fingers” refers to pianists, but it isn’t a reference to physical strength. Contrary to popular belief, piano playing does not necessitate brute strength.

Agility and endurance are needed to perform difficult music parts that are defined as requiring “strength.” Playing the piano requires a lot more stamina and control of the muscles than physical strength.

A common misconception is that playing loudly on a piano requires greater strength, but in truth, it is the speed at which you approach each key that determines how loud your sound is.

With this velocity and the weight of the player’s arms, a loud sound can be made powerful. In the palm of the hand, the base of the thumb might acquire a small amount of muscle, but it isn’t enough to make a big difference.

Regardless of how dexterous or agile the hands become, pianists do not have more muscular fingers.

Is having small fingers a hindrance while trying to play the piano?

As long as you can play one octave, there aren’t any significant constraints. Having large or little hands has its perks and disadvantages, and it all depends on the music.

Music that has many large stretches is likely to be more difficult to play for someone with short fingers. On the other side, a player with larger fingers may discover that music with fast scale passages causes their fingers to trip over each other more frequently.

The ability to perform quick passages that need greater hand and finger rotation is one advantage of having shorter fingers. The fingers are simpler to move around with smaller hands, making fast scale passages easier to perform.

All piano players can learn to overcome challenges, however some aspects of piano playing can be mastered more quickly by players with different hand and finger sizes.

Composers frequently produce piano repertoire that is tailored to their own hand size. If a composer has huge hands, it’s easy to tell if their music includes a lot of broad intervals and long stretches to play.

If a pianist with smaller hands comes across music like this, they may learn to roll the chord in order to get over their physical restrictions.

Only a small number of players are severely hampered by playing with smaller hands, yet this is a typical occurrence.

In general, the size of your hands and fingers has no bearing on your ability to master the piano. There are outstanding pianists who have abnormally huge hands and outstanding pianists who have exceptionally small hands.

Do double-jointed fingers benefit from playing the piano?

Those who have double-jointed fingers have more movement than the average person. Known as hypermobility, it’s possible to use this to your advantage if handled correctly.

To play the piano correctly, you need to keep your fingers curled and your fingertips firmly in place. Hypermobile fingers, which are more likely to bend backwards in people with double-jointedness, should be avoided at all costs.

Slow, careful practice may be necessary to develop up consistency in not allowing the joint to flip over.

The joints of the fingers can develop strength and endurance so that the pianist can maintain a curved form all the way through the fingertips. Learning to play the piano can help you acquire control over your finger joints. This includes assisting persons with double-jointed fingers in controlling the direction in which their fingers bend.