Robert Estrin - piano expert

Can You Play the Piano While Wearing Gloves?

And interesting answer to an interesting question

In this video, Robert tries to answer a question that can sound silly at first but, in reality, is not.

Released on June 3, 2020

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to I'm Robert Estrin with another video for you. I got this question on email today from Alexander asks, "Can you play the piano with gloves?" Now at first I thought it was kind of a silly question, but then I started thinking more about it, and thinking about I've been in situations in practice rooms that were so cold, and you wonder what can you do about that?

So can you play the piano with the gloves? Well, in advance of this video, I went out to my car, and sure enough I had a pair of gloves there, and it's not a spoiler alert. I have not tried to play it yet with these gloves. So this is going to be experiment for all of us watching, as well as me.

But I remember years ago, just as a goofy thing, as a kid, just walking by the piano when I had my winter gloves on, and I was surprised that I could play. That was a lot of years ago. These are a little bit floppy. Let's see what happens. I'm not going to choose something simple. I'm going to do something kind of fast, let's play the beginning of Mozart's 545, because you'll know if I miss a note, because you probably know this, the famous C major Sonata. Here it goes.

Now that's kind of surprising, isn't it? I remember the very first time I ever did that, I was shocked that I could do it. But I guess you know, the gloves don't really add that much mass to your fingers, in terms of hitting surrounding keys.

Now I will say this, if you're somebody with really fat fingers, big hands and fat fingers, the gloves might be such that you won't be able to get between black keys. In fact, I've met pianists whose fingers don't quite fit between black keys, certainly on some pianos. Have you ever gone to an old piano, where the black keys are thicker and sometimes it's hard to get your fingers between them, if you have particularly fat fingers? So with my hands, hey, I can play with gloves, so I'm good if I'm in a cold practice room I guess.

I'm wondering how many of you want to try this now, and tell me your experiences, and if you have thin fingers or fat fingers, and how it works out for you. But Alexander, the answer is yes, you can play the piano with gloves. And I'm curious as to people with big fat fingers, how it works for you.

Again, here I am, Robert Estrin, Your online piano store, and you can always subscribe, and you'll be getting lots of videos from me, and look, I even answer your questions, so keep them coming. Thanks so much for joining me. We'll see you next time.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Eddie on July 8, 2020 @2:27 am PST
Hi, I do sometimes practise wearing those disposable latex gloves that medical people use. The reason I do this is because it is more DIFFICULT to play that way, so when I remove them, I often find that difficult passage I had trouble with suddenly becomes easy.
I think the mechanism underpinning this is similar to an athletic runner who wears a rucksack filled with bricks in order to give him/her self a handicap. When the bricks are removed, they take off like a rocket ! If anyone would like to practice like this then you need to know that you will be playing this way, every day, for at least a week in order to get the effect. It may not work for everyone. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained ?
Good luck.
PS The gloves need to fit tight so that there is some resistance to finger movement, loose fitting gloves won't work.
Robert - host, on July 8, 2020 @12:19 pm PST
This sounds like a good way to increase strength. However, people should use caution since the extra effort required to move the fingers could cause problems for some people.
Ken Cory * VSM MEMBER * on June 3, 2020 @11:57 am PST
If you're wearing gloves to avoid the corona virus, you're better off cleaning the piano keys and your hands before and after playing, especially if other people use the piano. Gloves pick up virus particles as readily as skin, and they transfer them just as easily to the mucus membranes of the face.
Charles Ray Howard on June 3, 2020 @9:51 am PST
Hi there Robert.
Could you do a special request with more info.about using the sustaining pedal?
Thank You.
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on June 3, 2020 @4:53 pm PST
Hi Charles.

We actually published three videos on that subject with Robert, here they are:

How to Use the Pedal on the Piano - Part 1

How to Use the Pedal on the Piano - Part 2

How to Use the Pedal on the Piano - Part 3

I hope you'll find them helpful!
Donna Fiore * VSM MEMBER * on June 3, 2020 @5:21 am PST
I could listen to him play for hours...gloves or no gloves. Such a beautiful sound!
Robert - host, on June 3, 2020 @5:01 pm PST
Thanks so much!
wayne russell * VSM MEMBER * on June 3, 2020 @4:13 am PST

Do you have a video on what considerations to take when moving a grand piano? I am having to do that soon and was wondering whether to hire a professional piano mover or a local moving company.
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