How To Sit To Play The Piano – The Right Position for Your Back, Arms and Legs.
You probably think you know all that you need to know about how you are supposed to sit down to play the piano. I mean, how complicated can it be?
Heres the thing. Many of us have a certain way of sitting normally. It may the correct way or the wring way. You may feel the repercussions of your posture or you may not now or later in life.
But the fact is that there IS a way you are supposed to sit when you play the piano. Or you definitely will feel the repercussions of a wrong posture as aches, pains and even injury.
The reasons is that when you play the piano, you are performing a certain physical activity in a certain position of the body. As you keep praising and playing more often, this position can affect your muscles and your bones.
It is something like when you work out in a gym. You are taught the proper way to pick up weights that cause the minimal stress in the wrong places and avoid injury. While you are not picking up heavy weights when playing the piano, you are still causing your body stress if you are not sitting in the right posture.
Many of you will have noticed that not having the right cushioning on the car seat or not seating properly causes backaches when driving for prolonged periods of time.
The same is true when sitting to play the piano. When you play the piano, your shoulders, your wrists, your back, your elbows and even your lower part of the body comes in to play. Not playing the piano in the right position can cause pain and injury in any of these parts.
So without further ado, lets talk about what your correct posture for playing the piano should be.
You must have been told many times as a child to sit up straight. Good advice. You need to follow this now.
When playing the piano your back should be straight. No slouching or bending. You can lean forward a little bit towards the keyboard. In fact many players do. Especially when playing something aggressive. It brings you closer and more intimate with the keyboard. But keep your back straight.
Secondly, the seat that you are seated on should not be very soft. Most of the piano benches and stools are hard. Some luxurious ones have cushioning but it is never very soft. You need to be seated firmly at all points of time and the seat should not provide much leverage. If choosing a cushioned seat or stool to play the piano and it has not been specifically made for piano playing, always choose a firm cushion that does not shift with your weight. Otherwise you will get a back pain.
Third, the seat should be high enough so that your shoulders can relax and you do not have to lift them up to reach the keyboard. Your arms should fall almost straight down from your shoulders and be bended at 90 degrees right angle to access the piano keyboard. The shoulders should be completely relaxed and hand down. If your having to lift your shoulders then the piano keyboard is too high.
Basically, the ideal position of the keyboard is when it feels like it is almost sitting on your lap.
If there are adjustments to be made to the height or otherwise, make them to the piano or to the piano seat rather than to your posture. Your posture has to be what it has to be. Don’t make adjustments there.
Your wrists should be relaxed as well. Before you lay them on the keyboard move your wrists up and down a few times to relax them. They should not be locked and there should be no tension. Then lay them on the keyboard so that the wrist acts as movable joint and they are not locked up.
Now for the feet. Your right foot can rest on the left pedal with the toe on the pedal and the heel on the floor. Usually this is the position that most of the piano players take. If you feel the pedal is too high for you to comfortably rest your foot like this, use a piece of carpeting to raise the floor height under the keyboard.
The right foot can be placed in a similar way on the right keyboard. It is also very common to place it on the side and slightly behind the right pedal.
Now that you know the posture for sitting on the piano do your level best to follow it to the tee.
Believe me when I tell you that this is important. And not sitting properly at the piano can and will cause pain and discomfort.
There are also ways to allay injury and pain when staring to play the piano. Doing small hand exercises when ever your fingers and wrists start to hurt is important. Stretch and contract your fingers several times, basically closing the opening your wrist quickly. Rotate your wrist clockwise and anti-clockwise as well as up and down. If your back hurts, get up and walk around. Do some stretching and maybe even leave practising the piano till the next day.
All the best!