Mastering Technique at the Piano
Post by: Ben Thompson
As years go by, bad technique at the piano will hurt and possibly affect your arms/hands for the rest of your life. With good technique at the piano, the sound coming out of the piano will improve and, because of this good technique, you will set yourself up for success to play piano for a very long time. Here are a couple very important parts of having good technique at the piano.
Having good technique all starts with posture and how you sit at the piano. When sitting down, you should be at the front edge of the bench sitting up straight while maintaining a good distance from the piano. There is a middle ground of not being too far away and not being too close to the piano at the same time. If you can completely relax your arms and get them to lay on the piano without having to stretch and without them hitting the board on the other side of the keys, as long as you are comfortable, you will be fine.
Make sure that, in addition to having a good distance from the piano, you are sitting at the front edge of the piano bench and sitting up straight. Not only will this give you more comfort in the long term but it will also give you a better sound at the piano since your gravity is tilting towards the keyboard.
Bench height is the next very important part. You should be sitting at the piano not too high and not too low. If you relax your arms and let them fall onto the keyboard, your forearms should be parallel (or slightly angled down) with the keyboard. You can raise bench height by putting something under your bottom (e.g. a pillow). If, in order to get your arms parallel with the keyboard, your feet aren’t touching the ground, put something under your feet so that they have a surface to rest on (e.g. books or a stool). Being comfortable is the key.
Mind Your Hands
Always be cognizant of what your hands are doing and, while you’re playing, remind yourself to check on your hands. When relaxed, your hands should look like they are loosely holding a softball in each hand. It is also important that your hands and arms aren’t overplaying. A good way to get out of this habit is not thinking about striking the keyboard but rather as extracting the sound from the keyboard. It is very mind over matter. But the more you think about extracting the sound from the keyboard, the better your sound will be and the more comfortable your hands and arms will be.
Always keep these steps in mind before you play the piano and while you play the piano. Your piano teacher can easily help check these technique points in your lessons. Keeping all these steps in mind is incredibly important because if we commit this to memory and do it every time we sit at the piano. Not only will our sound approve, but we set ourselves up to play piano for years upon years to come. Good music always starts with good technique.