If you are a woman who is interested in playing the piano you might come across one problem you hadn’t thought about yet: your fingernails.
Men usually have short nails. They never have to worry about their nails playing the piano.
But what about the female pianists? Should you play with long nails or trim them? What if you don’t want to trim them, can you play piano with long nails?
Before we dive into it, here’s the short answer: Yes, technically you can play piano with long nails. But if you are serious about learning and playing the piano you will have to trim them.
To Trim Or Not To Trim…Your Nails
Now you might think, why is that so? Maybe you were near a piano and tried it out with your long nails and you didn’t see any problem. In that case, you probably just hit some keys or played a simple melody. And this is totally possible! But keep in mind that a good hand position is very important.
There should be no discomfort when placing your fingers on the keys. For this, your hand and fingers are usually in a rounded position and not flat. Playing with this position, the tip of your finger touches the keys first.
If you have long nails your nails will touch them first.
So depending on the length of your nails you could end up playing with just your nails instead of fingers.
If you feel the need to stretch your finger because your nail is in the way it means your nail is too long.
What Could Go Wrong With Long Nails
If you are new to playing the piano you might think that playing the keys with stretched fingers is more comfortable.
For the untrained person, this might be true to some degree. But you will quickly see that you won’t get far with stretched fingers.
In addition, the stretched fingers put a strain on the hands.
You Wont Be As Good As You Think
But also when it comes to developing technical skills on the piano you will be very limited.
It is humanly impossible to play fast passages on the piano with flat, stretched fingers.
Try it out if you don’t believe it.
If it’s a very simple and slow piece you might get away with it. But as soon as you want to tackle a faster piece you will automatically move your fingers into a rounded position.
If your nails are long now playing in this rounded position will be very uncomfortable.
When you play piano with long nails you are also unable to feel the keys with your fingers the way you would do if you had short nails.
This can heavily impact your performance as you won’t be able to properly convey your expression to the keys.
There are many ways to press down a key.
Depending on how intense you hit a key, how strong or soft you play it, the tone will sound different.
If you play piano with long nails you can not properly do this. You will need to hit the key with your fingertips for that.
Playing very loud for example is very hard to achieve if you have to stretch your fingers because of your nails.
You also can’t really stabilize your finger on the key.
The fingers could slip and hit the wrong key.
This is especially the case when your nails have a rounded shape and are less edgy.
There is one other huge disadvantage: if you play piano the long nails your nails will cause a click sound every time they touch the key. This is not just annoying but it also hurts the piano sound. This way we not only hear the piano but every note is accompanied by that clicking noise coming from your nails.
It all comes down to your (long-term) goals.
Are you just an occasional piano player who only plays a few times a year?
In that case, you probably won’t want to trim your nails. And you probably won’t have to but keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to play faster pieces if you have long nails.
Think of all the beautiful repertoire by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, etc. that all require a proper hand position to play them well.
So if you want to take playing piano seriously you won’t get far with long nails.
In that case, you will need to trim them so far until they are not in the way anymore and your fingertips touch the keys first.
ALL female pianists are doing it, from student to professional world-class pianist. So if you’re serious about this then don’t play piano with long nails.
You will do yourself a favor and your listeners who will be spared from any annoying click sound caused by long nails.
Playing the piano is already a challenge in itself. So whatever you can do to make your life easier you should do!
If you’re wanting to get a digital piano or keyboard to test out playing with long nails, check out our budget options in this article on keyboards under $200