Proper Posture At The Piano

Lisa Witt  /  Practice  /  UPDATED Jan 13, 2023

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How do you sit when you are at the piano? Do you have good posture? I can tell you that after more than 20 years of playing, I STILL have to work on this.

Sometimes I catch myself slouching, my shoulders up by my ears, or even CROSS-LEGGED on the bench! It’s terrible, I know, but it happens! So this is for complete beginners AND for those of us who have been playing for a long time. I would encourage all of you to check in with your posture a few times throughout each practice. Often we don’t even notice when we’ve let things slide.

But why all the fuss about posture? Proper posture will help us to play at our best and prevent injury and discomfort. Let’s review what proper posture is…

Sit nice and tall at your bench with your feet flat on the floor. If they don’t reach the floor you can place them on a short stool or some books. Is your back nice and straight? Relax those shoulders! Check your knees. They should be just slightly underneath that front lip of the piano. 

Now, place your hands on the keys and make sure that you’ve got enough room for your hands to comfortably rest on the keys. Don’t sit too close since you need room to play. You should have a slight bend at your elbow.

Make sure you’ve got good lighting so you don’t have to lean forward or squint to see the page!

And finally, breathe and have fun!

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Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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