Piano Hands: What You Need To Know

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You may have probably heard about piano fingers as it is a very crucial element when playing the piano, but is there even such a thing? Do your hands need to be in a certain shape or size?

The answer is fairly simple, for us to hit the keys more efficiently, it would be better if we would use all five fingers instead of one as in an octave, there are eight notes. Thus, having the opportunity to perform better using a lesser amount of physical effort is basically what piano fingering is all about.

What Are The Piano Finger Numbers?

Learning to play the piano may sound interesting and fun, but for beginners, this would mean knowing the proper finger positioning for each key. Piano finger numbers, or piano fingerings, refer to which finger on each hand is to be used on a particular note.

Knowing the proper finger placement allows your hand to stay comfortably on the piano with ease for as long as possible while having greater speed, control, and fluidity when playing.

What are the Piano finger numbers?
What are the Piano finger numbers?

Before going more in-depth with the topic, we should start with understanding how finger numbers work in piano music. Starting with our thumb, our fingers on each hand are numbered from 1-5 where they appear as a mirror image of the other.

Thumbs are number one; index fingers are two, middle fingers are three, ring fingers are four, and lastly, pinky fingers are five. When reading piano music sheets, you’ll probably find these numbers written above or below specific notes.

Expert Tip: As a rule of thumb, the upper staff is played by the right hand while the lower staff is played by the left hand.

Since both hands play different staves, it is evident which hand a specific number corresponds to.

What Does It Mean To Have Piano Hands?

What does it mean to have Piano hands?
What does it mean to have Piano hands?

Having piano hands doesn’t necessarily mean a specific hand size or shape as tracking down the ideal hand size is not easy. But rather, it refers to the specific movement of your hand when playing the piano.

They should be flexible, meaning fingers should be strong, curved & never bend backward, be able to move around the keyboard efficiently with minimal effort as possible, have accurate placement & touch, lastly be both powerful & delicate. All these can be developed further through consistent practice over time.

Can I Play Piano With Short Fingers?

Just like any other instrument, pianos are made with consideration of the different kinds of players in mind. With that said, no two people have the same size and shape of hand which means that some suggested fingerings may not work for you. Male and female hand sizes also vary so when it comes to playing piano, hand sizes do not matter much at all.

If that’s the case, you might have to make certain changes to fit your needs, and that’s alright. Come to think of it, if you believe that small-handed pianists can’t play the piano, then how did child prodigies come to be. If famous musicians like Elton John do not believe that their hand size should hinder their abilities and talent, then so can you.

But do note that small-handed pianists should also take extra precautions as they have a greater chance of experiencing pain which may lead to serious injuries if not treated right.

Does Playing Piano make Your Fingers Longer?

Does playing Piano make your fingers longer?
Does playing Piano make your fingers longer?

Playing the piano over time will not change your hand structure physically, but your fingers will become more agile, providing you with greater dexterity. Yes, you will be able to easily stretch your fingers farther, but the bone structure underneath will not be affected at all.

Expert Tip: Your fingers’ shape and length are genetic, so those who have naturally beautiful, long piano fingers are born with them. Lastly, practicing the piano intensively can sculpt your wrist and hand muscle, but no, your fingers will not get longer from playing them.

Is Playing Piano Bad For Your Hands?

You might wonder whether it is even possible to play the piano too much. We can all agree that nobody is passionate enough to be able to do that during their free time, however, in some cases, professional pianists who would practice and play for long periods may pose risks to their health which they might want to be aware of.

Playing the piano is not only about pushing the right keys but also being in the proper position and posture when playing. Having the correct technique not only helps pianists play efficiently but also prevents health problems and injuries such as poor blood circulation, hand and wrist pain, sore neck and shoulders, among others.

To prevent these from happening, try to check in your body once and a while, do simple warmup exercises before any session.


Every person’s personality is unique so do their approach to piano technique but knowing the proper piano fingering, hand position, and body posture are essential to effectively and efficiently play the piano. Stay consistent and be diligent in learning as these will come in handy on your piano journey in the long run.

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About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!