Playing Piano Sitting Or Standing Up? (Myths vs. Reality)

Playing Piano Sitting Or Standing Up? (Myths vs. Reality)

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After researching our clients’ and readers’ needs and questions, we discovered that doubts still exist about playing the piano sitting or standing up. Some players wonder about the possibility of playing the piano while simply standing in front of it, as we may have seen during live performances and in movies.

So, is it a real possibility for piano players? Is the piano bench actually expendable? What are the benefits and costs of this choice? What about electronic keyboards? We will explore this question and its potential answers in today’s article.

The Truth About Playing While Standing Up

Imagine yourself playing the piano by standing in front of it, flowing over the keys with grace and excitement, and producing music in a very dynamic way. It is an attractive image, right? Yet, there are a few important caveats to take into consideration.

Playing the piano while standing may work on a stage, trying to perform with showmanship alone or alongside a band, but only for a brief amount of time. The thing is, proper technique at the piano, especially for classical pieces, requires sitting down on an adequate seat, preferably a piano bench.

Most if not all pianos have a set height that is strictly conditioned to players sitting down on piano benches.

Playing while standing up, which happens and could even be usual among some seasoned pianists, will quickly lead to considerable physical discomfort and increased risk of injury. A quick search online will show you the testimonial of multiple piano players arguing about how painful it can be to play while standing up for more than a few minutes. The punishment on the body can be immense on multiple levels.

We have explored in detail the different injuries that pianists face in this article (click here to read). Just to give an example, the hazardous position in which we engage if we play the piano while standing up can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a terribly painful condition caused by the median nerve getting pressed at the wrist, exactly in the carpal tunnel.

Why If Sitting Feels Wrong?

We have also found that some pianists feel uncomfortable sitting down and playing the piano. It is, of course, unreasonable to argue with these players: if they say they feel uncomfortable, we absolutely believe them. However, the cause for this is potentially other than being sat down.

Discomfort and pain while sitting down and playing the piano either comes from:

  • Using an inadequate seat, and/or
  • Having poor posture while playing the piano.

Pianists who neglect these elements during their practice will find themselves uncomfortable and can even experience physical injuries that may hinder their capacity to perform. Again, there is a high risk of physical injury while playing the piano with the wrong technique… and a big part of the technique comes from the posture.

In our blog, you can find a detailed article on good posture while playing the piano (click here to read it).

If you have tried playing the piano while sitting down, leading you to think that standing up is a better idea, we invite you to revisit your posture and ensure your form is healthy. Take a good look at your own posture while playing the piano and pay attention to the details. We promise you: this can make or break your piano practice.

What About Electronic Keyboards?

When it comes to electronic keyboards, the conversation considerably shifts. Piano and electronic keyboard players differ immensely in style, technique, and equipment. The latter heavily influences how the practice develops as many keyboardists invest in the equipment necessary to adjust the keyboard’s height.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Either for the piano or the electronic keyboard, everything comes down to proper height. Pianists achieve this by adjusting the piano bench’s height, while keyboardists can adjust the seat’s or the keyboard’s height itself. Because of the physical properties of a keyboard, placing it high or low is a feasible option, while doing so with a full-size piano is not possible.

This being said, it is not reasonable nor helpful to compare these scenarios. Electronic keyboards are different instruments and their circumstances differ.

Take Care of Your Body

The question of playing piano sitting down or standing up is all about our bodies. As we have mentioned many times before, poor posture while sitting down in front o a piano can lead to major discomfort, hindered artistic performance, and serious physical injury.

In our consideration, standing up while playing the piano is a bad practice, one that can be considered an unhealthy posture. Trying to do it yourself for an hour or so can give you enough information to form an original opinion about its pros and cons. As pain and discomfort begin to kick in, it is important to remember that these are symptoms of a greater issue, one that can lead to long-lasting injuries.

Taking care of your body while you are invested in your piano practice is key to producing good results. Part of this is paying attention to how your body feels during the practice and what is the role of your current posture in it.

That is why we believe it is paramount to consider piano benches as your main option when it comes to playing the piano. Even when in doubt, if sitting down doesn’t feel good, we definitely recommend you pay special attention to your posture and also to the quality of your current seat.