The first thing you should do when you sit down at the piano is to get in a good position to play in the most comfortable and optimal way and avoid lower back pain. However, you still need to adjust your piano bench to the right height. Here are 5 rules to follow to adjust it perfectly.
Your Elbows Should Be at Keyboard Height
The ways your muscles respond depend on your height when seated at the piano. Too low, and you lose power in the wrist and the burden rests solely on your finger muscles to push the keys. Conversely, when you’re seated with your elbows higher than the keyboard, it isn’t your finger muscles that are working to push the keys but your forearms. Your fingers not only work less but also perform worse.
Although the distance of the bench to the piano is a matter of personal choice, it’s generally accepted that the bench should be adjusted so that the elbows and wrists of the pianist are in line with the keyboard when his fingers are resting on the keys. This is the proper seating position, with elbows ideally forming an angle of about 90 degrees. This means, do not hesitate to lower the bench if you are tall or raise it if you are short. The position must also allow the pianist to move freely and with agility and flexibility as well as freely use the strength of his upper limbs and easily reach the pedals. Finally, the piano bench must also be far enough from the piano that the elbows do not touch the body.
Stabilizing the Bench
The stability of the piano bench is also an important factor because it allows the pianist to get proper support from his feet without feeling any wobbling in his legs. A stable bench also avoids producing annoying squeaks.
Place Feet Flat on the Floor
Ideally, the seat should allow your feet to rest flat on the floor. If that isn’t possible, you could use a footstool so your feet can rest flat. Once properly seated in front of the piano, sit up with your back straight and get into an active sitting position.
Simultaneously and Equally Turn the Knobs
On a piano bench, you adjust the height by using knobs on each side. Be sure to turn each one the same amount in the same direction so the seat doesn’t tilt. Pay the same sort of attention to benches with hydraulic systems. To adjust the height, remain seated and use the side levers (it’s the same system you see on office chairs.)
Adjusting the Position
The aforementioned rules for adjusting your piano bench provide a good starting point, but as each person’s body is different, it’s possible that you may need to adjust the height a bit to find a position that minimizes any discomfort and lets you play with as much freedom as possible.
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A proper seated position is essential to playing the piano comfortably and preventing any back pain from arising. This is particularly the case for pianists who like to play large chords. Properly adjusting your piano bench is key, but you also need to adopt an active sitting position and have your feet resting flat on the floor or a footstool.
To sum up, the ideal piano bench height should be located between 18” to 22”. However, some stools can reach 24” when fully extended. Concerning the correct position on the piano bench, your forearm should be parallel to the floor. Your arm has to be at an angle that is almost a right angle. Adjust your seat consequently.
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