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Symphony of Pain: Proper Sitting at the Piano

Symphony of Pain: Proper Sitting at the Piano

Often times, many people find music as a great way to spend time with friends and family.

Music often serves as a unifying source for people all around the world, especially when someone is playing a piano. If you have ever partaken in a piano-playing activity, you may have noticed that your back might start to feel a little stiff and sore. You may also be placing several hours of practice into your piano training before you notice that your neck and arms might feel a bit weak and heavy. A big cause of all of this comes down to one word: position.

Positioning at the piano is important to ensure that as the musician/artist, you get to enjoy several notes of music without the irritation along the neck, back, shoulders and legs. The following are some big positioning points to remember as you sit at the piano no matter how tall or short the piano bench may be.

  • Height – Be sure that your seat height is enough to allow your arms to rest comfortably at your sides with forearms parallel to the floor.
  • Distance – Keep the distance between your abdomen and piano just close enough where your elbows can sit comfortably in front of the center of your body.
  • Feet – If you have to tuck your feet under you or if they barely touch the ground, be sure to bring the seat up or put a pad/lift under your feet, respectively. The goal is to keep your feet flat on the floor with knees and hips bent at around a 90 degree angle to maximize your comfort.
  • Pelvis – Most pianists/musicians will sit at the edge of the seat/bench. The key is to make sure you are sitting through the pelvis, NOT on your butt bone or the front of your pelvis. You will know if you are on it by rocking your pelvic forward and backward. The “happy place” where you are sitting comfortably without feeling like you are sitting right on the bones is the position where you are mostly on your pelvis.
  • Patience – It takes time and practice to find your most comfortable position so be sure to give yourself that time to find it to enjoy your piano experience.

Try these simple 5 points each time you want to play a tune and you’ll be sure to notice more comfort as the songs progress!

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Jonathan Ebert, PT, DPT
Jonathan is a New Hampshire native, arriving in California in 2012. He enjoys going to the beach with his wife, running, and playing lacrosse. He is currently a member of a Southern California men’s lacrosse league.