Tips on keeping good posture at the bench and why it’s important
Posture is super important (I know my mom is rolling her eyes at me now saying “I Told You So”). I see so many students sitting with a rounded back, T-Rex arms, super low wrists or even (gasp) cross legged on the bench!
So why is this a problem? Let’s go through them item by item.
Rounded Back - this actually changes how you are able to use your arms! Think about it - when you aren’t sitting straight you don’t have use of your whole arm. And let me tell you, you NEED your whole arm! Which brings me to,
T-Rex Arms- you know what this looks like. A student sitting waaaaaaaay too close to the piano with lowered elbows and hardly any ability to move their arm because they have no room! Like with a rounded back, sitting with T-Rex arms restricts your movements. You’ll need lots of room to move around the keyboard to play some of the cooler pieces of music. Plus there ARE 88 keys on the keyboard. Sitting so close means you only have access to a few keys at a time unless you move your body and who has time for that when you’re playing an epic piece of music?
Super Low Wrists- this is usually the best friend of T-Rex Arms. Students that use the key bed to push the piano away by having low wrists are asking for an injury later. I’m convinced of it. I play in lots of places where I have to sit super low to the ground and my keyboard is higher than proper posture would dictate and when my wrists are so low it hurts my wrist and makes my hand work even harder than it should. You limit your ability to play with different articulations and in different registers if you sit like this.
So the students that sit criss cross tend to be very small people who can’t reach the floor with their feet, but this is a habit that needs to be broken ASAP. Again, it’s all about restricting the movement of your torso and your arms. Put a box, stool or something under the feet of students that dangle their feet. It sets them up for success later, helps their back stay tall and prevents sitting criss cross applesauce on the bench.
Posture is super important and can be hard to address once students have developed bad habits. Start early and you won’t be correcting posture at the piano. I’m not convinced it will carry over into how to walk and stand and sit with good posture when not at the piano (my mom would say it does not) but it will help. I promise.