Healthy Home Practice Environment Part 2: Ergonomics

Welcome Back for part two of our Healthy Home Practice Environment Series, and if you missed the first post about choosing where to put the piano you can read it here. I've titled this second part 'Ergonomics' for lack of a better term, because today we'll be talking about ways to make the space as functional, and as supportive for good technic and ease of movement, as possible. 

I've talked on the blog before about how important technique is to keeping your piano kids hands, wrists and even shoulders healthy as they (hopefully!) spend more and more time at the instrument. And there are some simple things to do in your home set up that can encourage this. 

Here are 4 quick things to take into account to support healthy technique. 
  • Leave plenty of space behind the piano bench. One of the biggest factors in poor technique are when students are sitting too close to the piano.
    • If you have another piece of furniture (like a table etc) right behind the piano bench, the student won't be able to sit far enough back. Clear the necessary space, and watch their technique flourish! 
  • Make the piano seat tall enough. The other really big culprit in hindering a student's technique is when the bench is too low. I've talked more extensively on the blog about bench height & distance, so if you have questions on this be sure to check out that post and evaluate your piano kid's bench height.
  • Accessible piano books. I like to set the stack of books right next to the student or on the lid of the piano before they begin playing so they can easily work through them. I have actually seen it happen where a student is leaning backwards or to the side to grab a book off the floor, and the whole bench falls over on top of them. Keeping books handy will cut down on the piano bench gymnastics & potential injuries. 
  • Good lighting - it's much easier to read music when we can see it well, and it's easier on our eyes when we don't have to strain. Look at the lighting in your piano space, and consider if it is appropriate or if you should add a little more, especially for evening practices.
If you have any other ideas for improving the functionality and ease of use of our practice space, I'd love to hear them! And if you're looking for some special ways to achieve these upgrades to your home practice space, check in next week for a list of some of my favorite piano accessories.