When we were younger, we were often scolded by our elders to “sit up straight,” “don’t slouch,” or similar phrases. Turns out they were not doing it just for the heck of it. It’s essential to learn how to sit correctly at the piano before bad habits become too difficult to overcome and fix.
Incorrect posture or form can cause a lot of complications – neck, shoulder, arm, and back pain. It also results in additional stress on muscles, bones, and joints. That’s why it’s important to observe proper body mechanics while doing anything, even when you’re “just” playing the piano.
Body mechanics is the way you hold your body when you move around. Learning proper body mechanics helps you avoid unnecessary injury and even muscle fatigue whether you’re engaged in the practice or doing your daily chores.
As you aspire to become the best piano player, one of the first things to learn is to have the correct sitting position. And in the process, you will recognize the outstanding importance of having the right piano bench.
We cannot stress the importance of posture for piano players. Maintaining proper posture helps you reach the maximum level of nimbleness to reach all the keys and assists in learning the proper techniques for striking the keys.
As a player, you don’t have to maintain a rigid position while playing. What’s important is you keep a posture that is not only comfortable and effective but allows you a degree of flexibility while playing. You’ll learn this along the way, but a good piano player also knows how to move their hips and body, aside from their hands, to reach the optimum level for their playing style.
There’s no prescribed height to follow as this depends on the pianist, but as a rule, elbows and arms should fall freely from your shoulder. Your forearm should be parallel to the floor, and your arm should form an angle slightly more than 90 degrees. To achieve this, it is best to have a piano bench that allows you to adjust its height with great precision, like the ones we produce at Hidrau.
Most studios have an adjustable chair, but if you practice privately, we would recommend you to get a piano bench that offers good adjusting possibilities. You don’t have to worry though, as there are tons of options available.
After placing the bench at a comfortable distance, sit on the middle part, or at a point where you can easily move your torso but back enough so that you won’t fall off. In the same vein, check if your elbows are in the correct position: they should be slightly in front of your torso when your hands are on the keys.
Remember that you’re in front of the piano and not at the dinner table. Picture yourself in a recital; that could take hours to finish, right? You want to be comfortable and stable while sitting on your piano bench. Therefore, you should sit further back, with a good space between your torso and the edge of the piano keyboard, in front of Middle C. Adopting this position lets you freely move your arms and hands. Knees act as a reference guide and also help in remembering things easily – they should be just under the keyboard. Thus, if your knees are completely exposed, you’re sitting too far back. If half your thighs are tucked under the piano, you’re probably too close.
Other Things to Consider While Sitting at the Piano
When playing, you must make sure to maintain the wrist straight in relation to your arm, at the same height as the piano keys. Here is when the importance of adjusting the height of the piano bench becomes evident.
The fingers must adopt an arch when in contact with the keys, leaving a small space in those arches.
Alternatively, you can ask a friend or family member to check on the angle of your arm. You can even place a mirror or camera beside you to check on your posture. Positioning your arms and hands correctly is part of the learning process. Eventually, you’ll get into the habit of sitting perfectly at the piano, and you won’t have to keep checking.
The mistakes to avoid consist in never placing the wrists under the keys’ height. Besides the potential injury, this mistake will also affect your playing speed. On the contrary, having the wrists too high will dramatically increase the chance of injury.
Slouching is also a big no-no while sitting at the piano. It strains your neck, shoulders, and back muscles. Make sure you’re sitting up with your spine straight but relaxed. Check on your shoulders and try to keep them fully relaxed and not raised towards your ears. You will notice that when you play for an hour or so with an incorrect height, the shoulders tend to lift toward your ears. This results in shoulder and neck pains and even headaches. If not corrected in time, it will result in chronic problems with the shoulders, spine, and even eyesight.
The path to achieving perfect posture is far from simply a “walk in the park.” But, just like practicing the piano, it can be achieved through hard work, focus, and perseverance.
We would like to point out that one of the most important tools to achieve good posture is a proper piano bench.
Having the correct seat does wonder! It lets you sit comfortably while keeping you stable and flexible enough to strike the required keys. Having the perfect piano bench is an investment, as it will be your long-time partner in playing the piano.
So, choose wisely! Hidrau Piano Benches has been one of the world’s trusted manufacturers of high-quality and functional piano benches. We have a wide variety of benches, stools, and chairs available for different budget ranges. So, if you’re on the lookout for a bench, chair, or stool that perfectly suits you, check out what Hidrau has to offer here.