You can’t just sit in any old fashion when you take your place in front of the piano.
There is a correct way to do so, and it can influence how well you play.
Is posture important when playing the piano?
Definitely! It’s one of the most important things to bear in mind when sitting at the piano. This is because you want to feel comfortable when striking the keys. If you’re hunched over, this can hurt your wrists and arms.
However, you don’t want to be too rigid as that can also have some drawbacks. So, let’s look at the piano seating basics to improve your craft.
Piano Posture: Why It Matters
You might wonder why it matters how you sit at the piano.
As we mentioned above, you don’t want to hunch over the keys as that can hurt the muscles in your body and make learning the piano more difficult.
Having a healthy posture will make playing the piano a smoother, more enjoyable experience.
In addition, having an incorrect posture when you play can cause injuries.
You might feel strain in your muscles in the same way you would if you were slouching in front of your computer for many hours at a time.
You could get health problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is when you get a pinched nerve in the wrist. It can display symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain that can travel to the shoulder.
It is sometimes treated with medication or surgery, so it can definitely affect your ability to play piano in the future, and therefore it’s a must to avoid.
When focusing on your posture at the piano, you shouldn’t just avoid slouching – you should also avoid being too rigid.
This is because it can make you battle to play. When sitting at the piano, you want to feel comfortable and flexible, therefore avoiding being too upright can help you.
Position Your Body In The Right Way
There are many things you should do to ensure that playing the piano feels good.
In a similar way to how you should sit in front of the computer in the correct way to remain alert and not put pressure on your body’s muscles, there are some important tips for piano seating.
- Keep your forearms parallel to the floor, but your arms should fall freely from your shoulders.
- Make your hands arc over the keys. Your fingers should be pointing downwards and your wrists should be in line with your arms. This will make striking the keys feel much more comfortable. It’s difficult to get into the habit of creating an arc with your hands, so here’s a trick: imagine that you’re holding eggs in the palms of your hands. This will keep reminding you that you have to have the correct hand posture while keeping your hands relaxed as you play.
- Avoid flattening your wrists. This is something beginner piano players are often guilty of, so try to get into the habit of keeping your wrists in line with your arms.
- Watch your feet! How you position your feet is important for overall comfort. You should have your feet firmly on the floor. If your feet can’t touch the floor, then it’s a sign your chair is too high. You want your feet to be able to keep you stabilized while you play, so keep them still.
Some advice states that you should keep your knees underneath the piano, but you should choose a distance from the piano that makes it easiest for you to reach the pedals and keyboard.
This will vary depending on your body and height.
However, it seems that keeping your knees slightly underneath the keyboard is a position that works for most people, so you should try that first and then adjust your position if it feels uncomfortable for you.
How Far Should You Sit From The Piano?
Bearing in mind that you want to keep your feet planted on the floor underneath the piano, you don’t want to sit too far away from it.
However, if you’re too close to it you might end up hunching over it.
A good distance to sit from the piano can be found when your elbows and wrists are in line with the keyboard and when your fingers are able to rest on the keys, as West Island Music Academy explains.
In addition, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle.
Having this correct piano seating position will also prevent you from leaning too far back, which can cause a pins-and-needles sensation in your feet and make piano playing highly uncomfortable.
Consider that you also want your sheet music to be at eye level so that you don’t have to stop during a piece to ensure that you’re playing the right keys.
What To Sit On At The Piano
Bear in mind that you need to sit at the right height: you should be at a height that enables you to rest your hands on the keys and your arms should be relaxed instead of tense, which can sometimes happen if you’re sitting too low.
If you’re battling to get the right body position at the piano, the problem could be your choice of seating. Here’s a rundown of some common types of seating and how to make them work for you.
Avoid using a chair that has wheels as this could get in the way of your playing if you move around. If your chair is too low, you should use pillows to make yourself sit a bit higher.
If you’re a beginner piano player who battles to remain upright or you lean back too much, a stool can help to correct such errors.
You can also choose an adjustable stool so that you can sit at the right height without having to use cushions to raise you.
If you want to sit on a piano bench, it’s good to know that the average height of a piano bench is roughly 19 or 20 inches, and that’s what’s comfortable for most adults.
For younger piano players, they might need a bench height of 20 to 21 inches.
However, many of these benches can have their height adjusted which makes them much more convenient when you want to play the piano.
Make sure your bench is squarely in front of the piano.
Consider Making Use Of A Footstool
This piece of equipment can come in handy if you’re battling to keep your feet firmly on the floor or if you’re short for the chair.
By keeping your feet on a stool, you prevent putting pressure on your upper body or tensing your legs. A footstool can help to stabilize your body.
How Far On The Seat Should You Sit?
It might sound surprising but you should sit forward on your piano seat, even though you don’t want to be in a perched position.
Sitting forward on the seat prevents you from slumping or leaning back too much, and it means that you can move forward or to the side if you have to reach for certain keys.
How can I stop moving on the piano bench when I play?
Get into the habit of reaching for the keys you need to play, rather than moving your body around to reach them. It’s essential to keep your body still but relaxed in order to avoid squirming.
Can a posture boost confidence?
The right posture isn’t just about having good form when you play the piano – it’s also about feeling graceful and confident.
If you’re slouching over the keys, this can make you feel down or lack confidence, so try to get into the habit of having a healthy posture when you play.
Playing the piano should feel good for your body, instead of leaving you feeling sore in your back and arms.
That’s why the correct posture, body positioning, and piano seating should be chosen, as outlined in this article.
Get into the habit of practicing your piano playing form on a daily basis as it’s an important factor in having good piano technique.
As you get used to having the correct piano seating and form, you’ll be able to play with grace.