It’s highly likely that you have no memory of ever having to learn to … sit down. But if you’re a pianist, the way that you sit at your piano is more important than you might think. When combined with your knowledge of technique and theory, a correct playing posture can make a world of difference to your playing, and is really easy to learn. And, if you maintain the correct posture, then you’ll also avoid any future back problems. In this blog, I explain how you can improve your piano playing, by simply learning to sit down!

Playing the Piano: Correct Posture & Hand Position

Playing Posture: Easy to Learn & Makes a Massive Difference

Learning to play the piano can be fairly difficult. You have get to grips with the technique, music theory … all of it makes a difference to the quality of your playing and takes a lot of time nail. Luckily, there’s another detail that makes a massive difference and is really easy to learn: your playing posture! Here, I’ll explain what you need to pay attention to when sitting at your instrument so you can adopt the correct posture, and what you need to do with your arms, wrists, and hands. To makes things even easier for you, I’ll even close this blog with a step-by-step plan.

Piano Bench Height

Before you even think about sitting down, it’s important to check the height of your piano bench or stool. When you sit on the stool, with your arms resting at your side, your elbows need to be at the same height as the keys. This way, your elbows are almost completely relaxed and you can extend your forearms straight over the keyboard, so that your arms form a right-angle. This is actually exactly the same recommended position when sitting at the keyboard of your computer. If you were to place a couple of books underneath your PC keyboard, you would immediately notice how quickly your elbow, wrists, and fingers get tired. So, make sure that your piano bench or stool is at the perfect height so that your elbows and forearms can comfortably adopt the right position.

Playing the Piano: Correct Posture & Hand Position

Piano Bench Position

The position of your bench is also essential. The distance between the piano and your bench or stool needs to be wide enough so that you can move freely, but shouldn’t be so wide that you’re forced to stretch to reach the keys. You can check the distance easily by lifting one knee, and if it comes up against the back of the piano, then you’re too close. If your knee doesn’t even touch the piano, then you’re too far away. As soon as you’re able to brush your knee against the underside of the piano keyboard, then you know that your stool is in the perfect position.

Where Do You Sit at the Piano & How?

So, you’re piano bench is in the right place, but now you need to think about how you actually sit on it. Before you sit down to play, make sure that you’re completely relaxed. This will mean you can move more smoothly and you’re less likely to cause yourself any back, neck, or wrist pain. This is especially important to remember if you’re just about to play for an audience, so it’s a habit worth forming. Make sure to always sit on the front half of your piano bench and that you’re always in the middle of the seat, and resist shifting left or right to reach the highest or lowest notes, since by just moving your upper body and hands in the right way, you’ll be able to reach both ends of the keyboard. Always try to sit upright rather than leaning forward so you can read your sheet music, or you might risk losing track of your hands and your back will start to feel uncomfortable.

Playing the Piano: Correct Posture & Hand Position

Hands & Feet

If you’re already sitting in the right position, then your hands and feet should naturally find themselves in the right place. Because your bench is at the perfect height and in the perfect position, then your forearms will automatically adopt the right angle. Just to be sure, check that your elbows are at the same height as the keys (they can also hover just above). In any case, it’s important that your wrists form a straight line along with your forearm, so that your fingers have complete freedom to move and you can play with optimum precision. If you don’t use pedals whilst playing or have none, then make sure both feet are placed flat to the floor and make sure you’re not resting on them too much, since this will result in back tension. If you do use pedals, then only rest your heel on the floor so that your foot can move easily to press and release the pedal.

Step-By-Step Plan for Improving Playing Posture

Below, I’ve listed all of the little tips and tricks we’ve gone over in a useful little step-by-step plan. At some point, you won’t even have to follow the steps every time you prepare to play, since you’ll find that they become automatic. But, at first, it’s worth committing these simple steps to memory and paying attention to them every time you play, and I’m certain that you’ll notice an immediate improvement.

  1. Check the height if your piano bench or stool is correct and that your elbows are at the same height as the keys when your arms are at your sides.
  2. Make sure that your bench or stool is at the correct distance from the piano, making sure that your knee brushes the underside of the keyboard as you lift it.
  3. Sit in the right place. Sit on the front half of the seat and always in the middle.
  4. Make sure that you’re always sitting in an upright yet relaxed posture.
  5. Lay your hands on the keys and check once more than your elbows are at the same height as the keys. They can also hover a little above.
  6. Hold your wrists so that they form a straight line with your forearms and are not forced to bend towards the keys.
  7. Lightly bend your fingers and make sure you are only playing using your fingertips.
  8. When playing using pedals, rest the heel of your foot on the floor.

If there’s something I’ve forgotten or you have some great tips you want to share, let us know in the comments!

See Also…

» Learn to Play the Piano or Keyboard
» Classical Piano for Beginners: 6-Well-Known Pieces
» Three Piano Pedals: What Are They For?
» How to Play Basic Piano Chords
» What’s the Difference Between a Keyboard and Digital Piano?
» Digital Piano Buyer’s Guide

» Piano Benches
» Piano Stools
» Keyboard Stools
» Piano Books
» Piano Stands
» Keyboard Stands
» Digital Pianos

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