Thursday, October 3, 2013

Piano Post Part 2: Why Piano is Challenging

Okay, so now you all know why I love piano! And I truly do enjoy playing... some of the time. Oftentimes, though, I am challenged as well. Sometimes I'm not only challenged, but angered, because I can't get something quite right, or I am limited either physically or emotionally. I hate having limitations, and I HATE it when try really hard at something and I still can't do it. (In other words, sometimes it bugs me that I'm human. :) )

 One of my physical limitations with piano is my hands. They are small. REALLY small. I can barely reach an octave, which makes it really difficult to hit them accurately at high speeds. Oftentimes, I end up "smearing" my octaves because I have to stretch my hands close to the keys to be able to reach so that I accidently hit notes in between. Many times I have been frustrated with myself, even God, because my hands limit me from advancing and playing the music I would like to. But this is an "entitlement" mentality, isn't it? So often I am so busy shaking my finger at God for what He didn't give me, (bigger hands, smaller size, athleticism) that I forget to say "thanks" for what He did! And what makes me think I "deserve" these gifts, anyways? I mean, Jesus has spared me from hell, which is what I really deserve, and here I am complaining because he gave me small hands. Seems a bit ridiculous, yet so often I fall into that trap of focusing on what I don't have.

So, I'll try not to complain about the size of my hands, but I can't say it doesn't affect my piano playing. In about a week I am going to perform a piece for a competition that has a ton of octaves. Even though I have practiced fairly diligently since lessons started, the piece is not quite ready, because no matter how much I practice, I can't hit all the notes. I'm not expecting to do well, not because I'm worried about my memorization, but because I physically cannot hit all the notes.

Another challenge I've had with my hands is that they are weak, so I over-compensate by straining my wrists. My hand position is constantly in need of correction because I am too tense, which causes wrist pain. I have so much to learn when it comes to this.

One last challenge that I am hoping to overcome is the fact that I am a horrible performer. I play best when I am home alone and nobody is watching or listening. An adult mentor who is very dear to me has talked to me a lot about serving an Audience of One, (God) but I still get nervous when I am playing in front of other people, although it is getting better. This has caused me to freeze up in more than one performance, and skip whole sections of songs.

Some of these challenges are annoying, but I think that without them, piano would be boring! It is the challenges and the bumps that need to be overcome that make the victory all the more rewarding!

Question: What instruments, if any, do you play, and what are your greatest challenges and victories associated with them?


  1. You'll do great at State! I'll be praying for you! I'm nervous too, and its because I have a really weak 4th finger and this one section of this song seems to highlight it. Oh well. I really how you pointed out we deserve hell and complaining about the littlest things (ex. small hands) really is ridiculous ... I do it every day. Thanks for the reminder and thumbs up (literally:) on this post!

  2. I'll be praying fro your piano competition!! Hannah, God has created you so special. You bless so many people. You're small but mighty (beast backrow player and server!!!), and a shining light for the Lord. I know you'll do well, let me know how it goes! Love you girl.

  3. What piece are you performing for the competition? My sister-in-law is an amazing pianist, and I'm not sure she has small hands, but she's had trouble with carpel tunnel from practicing long and hard hours.

    I play the piano, and my biggest challenge with it is that I don't have my mother here making me sit down and practice every day! I kind of wish someone would do that now so that I would remember to play.