Like in so many areas of life (at least our chiropractors would tell us) posture is so very important to your overall performance. Piano is an instrument that benefits greatly from proper posture. In this article I will give three simple “techniques” to help achieve good piano posture.
1. Animal on Head
What? An animal on the head? Yes, really, try it. For our younger students a great trick is to place a small, somewhat flexible, stuffed animal on their head while playing. This help keeps the student sitting up straight and tall. Try putting the animal on their head right at the beginning of the lessons for a few exercises, put it away, and then a little later on-especially as you start to see a C in the spine, sneak the stuffed animal back on the head and see if it stays on. This also makes it a kind of game to see if they can be ready to keep the animal steady even when not expecting it!
2. Heavy Rope Arms – Good Piano Posture
No actual ropes with this one, but using our mind to imagine our arms as ropes. The point of this exercise is to keep the shoulders down-not all bunched up. When we tell our students to raise their wrists off the piano keys, the natural tendency is to scrunch up their shoulders to do so. This is not proper posture. The shoulders need to remain down and rested like the arms are heavy ropes dangling. Being a rope, they still have great movement and flexibility. Keep the head up, and shoulders down!
3. Wrists Up and Fingers Curved
The last vitally important part of good posture is keeping the wrists from resting on the board or the keys of the piano. They must maintain their distance and keep a nice arc to the wrists. Have an imaginary game for this too! When you identify the space on the piano where the wrists should not rest, label it the lava flow. Encourage the student not to “burn” themselves. Or it could be the sticky honey pot that you are trying to avoid. When they forget and start to let those wrists sag, just give a buzz word (pun intended) kind of reminder to get back in proper position.
Good Piano Posture is important and will probably take consistent reminding in the beginning, but if you can make some fun with the process, learning and remembering seem to go much more smoothly!
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