There is nothing more compelling than watching an accomplished musician sit at the piano – even before they begin to play, their body language shows that they have truly mastered the instrument. While this posture may be second nature to an accomplished pianist, it can be helpful to everyone playing the piano, whether they are a beginner or an expert.
What is Proper Posture for Piano?
When playing the piano it is important for your posture to be correct from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
1. Your Head
Your head should be held high, and your neck should be relaxed. Keep your head facing forwards – move your eyes instead of moving your neck when reading music and finding your fingering.
2. Your Shoulders
Keep your shoulders relaxed when playing! This is one of the most common places for pianists to have tension, but in order to get the best sound out of your instrument, you need to be playing from the shoulders – which requires that they are relaxed!
3. Your Wrists:
Keep your arms lifted, and your wrists above the piano keys. Your hands should be in the infamous “spider” position, and your elbows should be only slightly bent. Again, your arms and wrists should be relaxed in order to get the best tone and expression while playing.
4. Your Seat:
Where your piano bench sits can have a huge impact on your posture! Commonly, pianists only sit on the front half of their piano bench. From this point, you want to be close enough to the piano that it is easy to reach all of the keys without stretching, but far enough away that your elbows are not bent when playing the keys closest to you.
5. Your Legs and Feet
Your knees should be at a 90-120 degree angle, and your feet should be resting on the pedals or directly in front of them. It may take some time to find the perfect ‘sweet spot’ for your bench, but once you discover it, it might be worth marking the spot with a piece of tape so that you don’t need to repeat the process every time you want to practice.
Why is Posture Important?
Posture is important when playing the piano for a number of reasons. For starters, whether or not you feel like it initially, playing with correct posture is the most comfortable way to play and will allow you to practice for longer periods of time without pain. Secondly, by practicing with relaxed muscles instead of tension you are protecting your body from tension-related health issues in your spine, arms, and wrists. Many instruments can cause repetitive strain injuries if the proper playing technique isn’t used, and the piano is no different! Lastly, playing piano with the proper posture is important because it allows you to create the best sound from your instrument. Having freedom of movement, and playing with relaxed shoulders will give you the best expression and dynamics you’ve ever had.
How do I Change My Posture?
Changing your posture can be difficult once you’ve already established bad habits! Try to come up with ‘checkpoints’ throughout your practice when you re-establish proper posture. This might mean that every time you switch between songs you take a few moments to realign your body from head to toe, or that every page of a longer song has a note at the bottom reminding you to straighten up! It can be a nuisance changing something as habitual as the way that you sit when playing piano, and it may be an annoyance for the first few practices. However, taking the time to use correct posture when playing the piano will improve your playing, keep you comfortable and prevent strain on your body – all benefits that are definitely worth the bother of changing your routine!