Overcoming Your Own 'Limitations'

Everyone has their own views of themselves in the light of limitations; however, these self-views aside, anyone can learn how to play the piano if they set their minds to it with a positive, flexible, & patient point-of-view. A few examples I've encountered within the 5-ish years teaching piano proves that nothing will get in the way of learning to play with a little perseverance.

Small Hands: In music school, a friend of mine had to overcome having 'small hands' (considered small anyway, in the piano world). Her reach was no more than about an octave. There was the pressure from academic requirements to play a selection of various pieces from various eras. She still played these pieces with long reaches by modifying the technique of how she would play what was written - she learned to play quickly, and with precision. This allowed her to play 2 long reaching notes as if simultaneously, by having speedy hand movement(s), and exceptional muscle memory through isolated, repetitive practice to land on the keys confidently. Also, the strategic & subtle added use of the damper pedal aided in joining the 2 individual sounds. :) 

Missing Fingers: I had a student who had a work accident and was missing a finger. Playing scales and triads took a little more focused wrist movement to evenly distribute the weight to play with proper timbre and balance in sound. With more technique practice and active-thinking towards listening to the quality of the sound of the note played by the missing finger, listeners will never know.

Arthritis: For adults with arthritis, playing the piano can be used as a type of therapy to ease tensions and pain when applied lightly and with mindfulness. Adults who've had lessons in the past will benefit from this most, as focus can be directed towards therapy, rather than music theory. Active-thinking towards gentle use of the wrist, individual finger movement, & arm elevation. Take lots of breaks, especially when signs of fatigue are shown/felt. This should not be considered official therapy! Contact your physician or registered therapist specific to your individual needs.

Carpel Tunnel: There was an adult who worked with computers all day long and was developing CTS (carpel tunnel syndrome). He looked for piano lessons to help keep his wrists and fingers moving with a larger horizontal range.

Loss of Hearing: Playing the piano keeps ears active and well-tuned.

Loss of Sight: Note reading may help focus the eyes by requiring careful and precise near-sighted visual skills; finely-detailed movements between notes on staff (re: note reading) to keep eyes sharp and alert.

Autism: repetition and hands-on aspect will help with music theory and playing the piano using small increments of learning.

Gifted: Keep gifted children entertained as they learn basic note reading & music theory; challenge these individuals by having them improvise using given notes or key. Have them experiment with composing; consider branching out to electronic music -where sound design happens.

*disclaimer: nothing here is scientifically proven ! these are merely my own observations through reflecting about current/previous clients and how taking piano lessons have helped them.