You might have noticed I spend the first portion of each lesson ensuring that each student is seated properly at the piano, and I continue to make adjustments during the lesson as I see the need. Why do I use valuable lesson time to do this?
The answer deals with how closely related posture at the piano is with the development of good technique. It is nearly impossible to demonstrate and practice good technique without first assessing how the student is seated – by this I mean the student’s distance from the piano, posture, and bench height. To see what I mean, click over to one of my favorite resources in this area, scroll towards the bottom of the page, and read the text that accompanies each picture of a student at the piano.
It’s amazing how our bodies compensate for our poor form. If you are seated too low at the piano, your wrists will attempt to “lift” the hand to a higher position, and this causes undue stress on the wrist and may lead to pain or long-term damage. This is why I adjust the bench for every student at the beginning of their lesson! It would be fruitless to teach beginner students to play with a relaxed, natural arch to the fingers if their height at the bench prevented proper support from their arm and shoulder!
In general, I have found that most students are seated too close and too low at the piano. Please take some time to examine your practice area at home, and have someone take several pictures of you while practicing. Examine your posture, distance from the piano, and the bench height and make adjustments. You’re welcome to send photos and I’ll make suggestions as well!