Ergonomic Tips for Playing Piano

The ergonomics of playing the piano revolve around your posture and position. To play piano efficiently, you’ll need to understand these piano playing ergonomics before you get started. Everything from your ability to play for long stretches of time, to the tone you produce is affected by the way you sit at the keyboard. Sitting the right way may seem useless, but without proper form, your playing can cause muscle stress and even injury.

Follow the 9 tips below to see how you can automatically improve your piano playing.

Relax Your Shoulders

Before you play, release any tension in your shoulders. Your shoulders should be in a neutral position — not too high, not too low. If you play piano with too much stress on your muscles, you won’t be able to play for very long, and you even risk injury.  

Sit Up Straight

Not only will this tip keep your piano playing comfortable, it will make you look confident and commanding. When you sit with a straight spine, you’ll automatically look and feel like a better piano player. Having good posture at the keyboard will also open up your body for more movement.

Keep Your Forearms Parallel to the Ground

Make sure your elbows are level with the piano keys to relieve tension in your wrists and elbows. Having your arms in the proper position will help you feel comfortable when you play, but will also make it easier to play with dynamics.

Loosen Your Wrists

Everyone’s tone on the piano is unique, but the best tones can only be achieved with loose wrists. Beginner pianists often play with stiff wrists and fingers, making it practically impossible to play with any emotion or variation. Keep your wrists loose to take your piano playing up a notch.

Arch Your Fingers

Always press the keys with the balls of your fingers. To do this, you’ll need to keep your fingers slightly arched. Arched fingers also make it easier for your fingers to move freely across the keys when playing fast. Flat fingers, on the other hand, make your playing clunky.

Check Your Piano Bench Height

The height of your piano bench or chair is one of the most important aspects of having a good piano playing posture. Your bench should be high enough to let your elbows be level with the keys. If your feet dangle off the bench, put a book or box beneath your feet to keep them flat. This will give you more power and stability when you play.

Sit Deliberately

Before you start playing a piece, check to see where on the keyboard a majority of the notes appear. If most of the notes are on the lower half of the keyboard, move your piano bench a few inches to the left. Similarly, if most of the notes are on the higher half, move to the right. This way, you won’t have to strain to reach any notes.

Use Your Whole Body

Piano playing isn’t just about how dexterous your fingers are, it’s about how well your body can work as a whole to produce a good sound. When you move around the keyboard while playing a piece, your body should move with you. Turn or lean your body slightly depending on whether you’re playing high notes or low notes.

Sit On the Edge of Your Seat

When playing piano, you need to be able to play with power. Sitting too far back can limit your freedom and movement, and can limit your sound. Sit forward enough that your elbows are still slightly in front of your torso, but back enough that you feel comfortable.

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