How do child prodigies manage to play piano pieces that require large hands?

  • Firstly, children’s hands vary enormously. Ten-year old boys will often have hands larger than most adult women. Sometimes even very small children can have hands much bigger than average for their age: an example being a renowned female pianist in Australia who recalls that she could play octaves at the age of 4. As an adult, her hand span is unusually large for a woman.
  • Children will normally play repertoire that they can manage at their stage of development, which can include quite virtuosic works but without the large stretches and thick chords favoured by certain composers. They may also omit notes or modify the score if needed.
  • As child prodigies will normally be playing the piano for hours a day they are especially prone to developing unhealthy and faulty technique if the keyboard is the wrong size, potentially leading to injury later on.
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