The correct body posture and hand position for piano playing

It often happens that people who try to play the piano by themselves without an (online) teacher learn a bad body posture and hand position.
And once you have adapted this bad habit, it’s very difficult to deprogram an incorrect body posture and hand position.
But, is an incorrect body posture and hand position really that bad?
Well, that depends… If you only want to play 2 or 3 (very) simple songs, you might get away with it, but if you really want to learn the piano well and to easily play many songs, then the right body posture and hand position will let you advance 100 times faster.
This means that it is very important to adept the right body posture and hand position directly from the beginning.

The correct body posture

First of all, it’s necessary to sit behind the piano at the right height.

For that purpose, be sure to have a piano bench that is adjustable in height.
Adjust the height of the bench in such a way that when you play the piano, your arms are horizontal or eventually slightly downwards.

Your feet should be flat on the ground, or eventually on a pedal and your knees should be just under the piano keyboard.
Keep your back straight.

And, this is very important: relax! When you have a tense posture behind the piano, your playing will suffer.
So: relax your shoulders, relax your body.

The correct hand position

A correct hand position is at least as important as a correct body posture.
Beginners tend to play with flat hands, and in the beginning you’ll get away with it, but when you want to play more difficult pieces later on, you get into trouble when you play with flat hands.
So, be sure to adept also the right hand position directly from the beginning (again: it’s difficult to deprogram bad habits).
Your hand should be as in the second picture below, as if you were holding an imaginary tennis ball in each hand while playing the piano.

So again: be sure to adept those correct positions for your body and your hands, and you will advance much quicker on the piano.

I wish you lots of success!

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Martin Cohen

Martin Cohen is a science and piano teacher. He is also a jazz musician and composer.

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