Is Your Bench Too Low?

Piano bench height and piano posture can be easily overlooked when starting out lessons, but it can make a huge difference in your piano kid's early technical skills at the instrument. So today's post is asking "Is your piano bench too low?" and giving you some easy tips to fixing it. 

First off, what are we looking for in assessing bench height? Well, keep in mind that most piano benches are made for an adult musician, so typically you sit down at the piano, the base of the keyboard should roughly be across from your belly, and if your arms are relaxed at your sides your elbows are ever so slightly higher than the tops of the keys. Now, have your child sit at the keyboard, and you may notice that the keyboard is more in line with their chest, and their elbows are below the keys - and if this is the case, the bench is too low to encourage good technic. 

Easy fixes: 
The good news is kids will grow into the bench, and until they do there are some easy fixes we can employ to help develop good piano posture and strong technic along the way.
  1. Raise the seat. I like to use a folded throw blanked or two to raise the student up. It's comfortable to sit on (unlike yellow pages or dictionaries), and they won't repeatedly slide off (sliding is almost guaranteed with pillows as the support). 
  2. Give their feet support. Often little piano students will perch right on the front edge of the bench so their feet can reach the floor, which in turn crunches their arms and puts their elbows almost behind them. To counter this, I like to use a small stool or a wood block to give their feet proper support. 
And that's it. Once these two things are in place, piano students can sit tall, with weight balanced slightly forward and wrists in a neutral position above the keys, ensuring that your piano kid is learning good posture & technic from their earliest practice sessions at home.

If you're wondering why technic matters, there's a great article about that on the Musika Lessons blog.