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  • Writer's pictureLorcan Cleary

Piano Posture - How to Avoid Pain and Problems

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Proper posture is very important as a pianist. Ideally we want to be able to have long practice sessions or performances without feeling pain, tiredness or discomfort.

How to sit properly at the piano


Almost all piano method books will start with a page on how to sit properly at the piano and for a good reason! It's very important that excellent habits are established early on. Follow this list to make sure you're sitting properly at the beginning of every practice session.


  1. Don't slouch! Make sure you are sitting up with your back tall and straight. If you lean slightly forward at times this is OK- it allows you to be expressive but you shouldn't have a slouched back consistently.

  2. Rest your feet firmly on the floor for balance so you don't fall over! Younger students may need some books or a stool to rest their feet on.

  3. In order to have proper space to play the keys you should keep your knees slightly under the keys.

  4. Sit on the front edge of the stool to be more engaged with the instrument and to allow adequate weight to be placed on the keys

  5. Straight arms playing piano are no good! You can allow a natural bend in your elbows. It will allow you to reach all registers of the piano with ease and your fingers will fall more naturally on the keys.

  6. You should never feel tense playing the piano. If you sense your shoulders creeping upwards or your hands getting stiff you should aim to relax your muscles before continuing.

  7. The height of your stool to a certain extent comes down to individual choice. In general your forearm should be level with the keys. If you don't have an adjustable stool you could use some cushions to adjust your height.

  8. Your fingers should generally have a curve to them but without tension, as if you are holding something very precious.


The hand positions discussed above are approximate and your teacher will advise of modifications where necessary when different playing styles or black keys are involved.


The phrase 'no pain no gain' doesn't apply to piano playing so if you feel any sort of pain despite sitting correctly you should immediately take a break. Some students take pain as a sign that they are working hard when it could actually be a sign of an underlying technical issue which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury, ulnar/radial deviation, and tendinitis are common signs of poor posture and bad technique in practice. If you feel pain it could also be a sign that you are not taking enough breaks during long periods of intense practice.


Always ask your piano teacher for advice if you are experiencing pain or discomfort and always take plenty of breaks!


Happy practicing!


To enquire about piano lessons with Lorcan get in touch today.

0831990861

lorcanclearypiano@gmail.com

083 199 0861

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