Piano benches for children tend to have their own characteristics and challenges that set them apart. While a young player may use a regular, non-adjustable piano bench for her practice, the risk of developing bad posture and causing more severe issues in the long term is significant. Here, the importance of finding the right piano bench for a child becomes more visible.
In the past, we wrote a comprehensive guide that will help you choose the right piano bench (you can read it by clicking here) and in it, we shared relevant considerations to understand children’s needs when it comes to playing the piano. On that same note, we decided to dig a little bit deeper with this article.
Good Habits from the Very Beginning
Young age is critical for any practice. Arts, sports, or any dedicated practice that requires technique and the development of body-mind mechanisms require hours of careful repetition. Such dedication will build habits over time and such habits can be very difficult to break. That is why it is so important to take care of habit-building from the very beginning, ensuring that we are doing the right thing before it becomes an ingrained part of who we are and how we operate.
In this sense, players of a young age are the quickest to develop long-lasting habits during their piano practice. When they develop these habits, it can be very difficult to correct course and countless hours of dedicated practice could be required to fix what was at first avoidable.
Therefore, if you are planning to introduce your child to piano practice, it will be of great value to set her up for success right at the beginning, before a poor posture become the norm.
Good posture is so incredibly vital for piano playing that we have talked about it multiple times in the Hidrau blog. Posture can effectively make or break a pianist’s practice and performance, also defining if the artist experiences health issues or not in the long term.
Good piano posture occurs when the pianist’s forearms are above the piano keys and parallel to the floor. At the same time, the feet must be planted on the floor. The distance from the piano bench to the instrument is also critical for posture. Because the player, regardless of his age, must maintain a healthy back posture at all times, it is key that he is not too far away to cause him to lean forward or that he is not too near to lean backward.
There are so many other details that go into a good posture at the piano. We wrote an article titled “How to Sit Correctly at the Piano” covering those details. You can read it by clicking here.
These conditions are true for both adult and child piano players and they will define a big part of the success by reducing tension in the body, avoiding discomfort and injuries, allowing flow and movement, and preventing any long-term risks associated with ergonomics.
This being said, how are piano benches for children different?
Height Adjustment in Piano Benches for Children
Finding the right piano bench for a child can be difficult due to the height aspect being critical. Before the development and commercial widespread of the hydraulic suspensions in piano benches, people had to use whatever they had in hand in order to help the child to sit high enough in her chair. This, naturally, will lead to problems.
Fortunately, height adjustment has become a common feature in piano benches these days. However, despite how useful and relatively common height-adjustable piano benches are at the moment, most models available are not actually suitable for children.
The issue is that most hydraulic systems that are available in the market require at least 143 pounds of pressure to activate their mechanism. This can be a problem for small children who won’t reach that weight just yet. The solution is a more effective, sensitive pneumatic suspension like the one developed and patented by Hidrau, which activates at 110 pounds of pressure.
For even younger children, Hidrau launched the BM41HPM piano bench from the Academy Series, which pneumatic suspension activates at 77 pounds.
The Bottom Line
Children pianists are quickly developing long-lasting habits and techniques that may be difficult to alter afterward. That is why it becomes so important that we support their practice with the right conditions that will set them up for success.
A good piano bench for children is a great start, one that we would call mandatory. Let’s remember that we are not only talking about learning and performance but also about their health as good posture can be so harmful to the body.