Choosing the right piano bench is critical for the playing experience. Whether you are buying for yourself or to equip an academy, it is no small investment, resulting in product research to occupy the time of most future customers.
In our experience, the same question constantly arises: What should one look for in a piano bench?
Months ago, we tried to answer this question in the more comprehensive mega-guide we published on piano benches. Nonetheless, we decided to save you a little time and write more precisely on the question of exactly what to look for.
In this article, we will explore the different criteria to take into consideration when choosing a piano bench. The caveat here is that we will not factor the price in. Yes, costs are important but we will focus entirely on those considerations that directly affect— both in the short and long term, the overall experience for the piano player.
Comfort: How You Feel
All artists must feel comfortable with their tools. Keep in mind that in this context, the instrument isn’t the only tool that matters. Every single piece of equipment that is necessary for the practice must receive attention, and this is especially true for piano benches.
A piano player will regularly spend long hours sitting on the bench when practicing. So, if comfort is not a possibility, the experience will certainly be negative and end up affecting the performance.
For countless companies in the piano bench industry, comfort has been one of the main goals, with a lot of work and dedicated effort focused on reaching perfection in design and materials. Do not overlook the comfort features of the bench.
Posture: How You Sit
When we talk about posture while playing the piano, we are referring more to ergonomics and safety than comfort. While comfort can be a relative aspect of the experience, experiencing injuries is objectively negative.
Long periods of sitting down in poor positions will certainly cause stress on the spine, back, neck, and thighs. This can lead to mild to serious injuries for piano players.
A good piano bench will provide the right conditions for the piano player to keep a healthy posture and avoid strain. The ergonomic design of the bench must keep arms and shoulders relaxed, elbows slightly elevated above the keys, and feet firmly planted on the floor where the piano pedals are within reach.
If conditions aren’t met, it is fair to consider that such a piano bench doesn’t meet safety standards. Ergonomics are an integral part of a positive performance experience, especially in the long term.
When looking for a piano bench, it must provide sufficient information on how its design and structure help with proper posture and ergonomics. Without addressing these essential matters, it wouldn’t be advisable to recommend the bench.
Height adjustability also plays an essential part here (more on this below). One sure way to help your posture is the ability to adjust the height with precision. Every piano player is different, so a fixed height will not go a long way to help individual users. The solution is an adjustable piano bench.
Stability and Durability: How Long It Lasts
This aspect of the piano bench covers two arguments.
The first is the experience of using a firm piano bench versus a wobbly one. Naturally, the latter is bound to negatively affect your piano practice, distracting and stressing you, ultimately leading you to make mistakes. The lack of firmness can also poorly influence posture, thus increasing the risk of injury.
Also, a wobbly, unstable piano bench is a symptom of poor construction. In this situation, the piano bench will not likely last long.
The second argument would be the economic factor. Durability is a key factor to consider in the investment. You don’t want a piano bench that breaks after a few months of use. A good piano bench will last much more than that.
Here, aim for high-quality materials and construction, especially if the use of the piano bench is going to be in academics (music schools and conservatories). Either way, durability is a must if you want to be satisfied with your investment.
Adjustability: How Tall You Are
As we mentioned before, height adjustment is a major factor to consider in your decision-making process. An adjustable piano bench will give you a world of options in contrast to a fixed-height piano bench. It is worth noting that this is not only the case where the piano bench is going to be used by multiple players but also for one repeated player to have the flexibility to adapt his or her posture depending on the day.
With a fixed-height piano bench, you are forced to attempt to choose a product that perfectly fits your height and ergonomy. Instead, go for an adjustable bench that will allow you to choose the precise position of the cushion reliably.
If the piano bench is going to be used by children, take into consideration that most of the adjustable piano benches in the market have a minimum pressure required to activate the hydraulic mechanism. Fortunately, features like Hidrau Tech are more sensitive and respond to lighter weights, making it perfect for users under 110 pounds.
The Risks of Choosing the Wrong Piano Bench
A piano bench is no small investment. It is a piece of essential equipment that will accompany you for years, with a profound influence on the way you play the piano. As a result, most people take the time to do some research, to ask what one should look for in a piano bench.
Despite how demanding and tiresome the decision-making process can be, we all put in the time and effort. The points described above aim to help with this process by laying out in simple terms what is important when choosing a piano bench.
So, it is fair to ask yourself, what is the risk of choosing the wrong piano bench? As described above, the consequences of a piano bench that: doesn’t support your posture, doesn’t provide the comfort necessary for long hours of practice, isn’t flexible enough, and is constructed poorly are a negative playing experience and potentially severe health problems in the long term.
Posture is significantly more valuable than most people think and will have an effect, both in the immediate and long run, on how you play the piano. Besides the risk of injury, poor posture will influence the quality of your performance. Additionally, poor posture built over time gets exceedingly more difficult to correct, demanding much greater efforts in the future.
If you are reading this, it’s because you understand what is at stake. You understand that a good piano bench is as pivotal for your practice as the piano itself. The knowledge to choose well will always be appreciated.