Summer is over and for those students who may have taken some time off from piano lessons, the school year is back in swing. For many teachers, it’s always quite surprising how tall a student can get even after two weeks of not seeing them, let alone the entire summer! Therefore, it is important for the piano teacher to address the issue of sitting at the correct height at the piano. Adjusting or re-adjusting the height will happen frequently as the student grows taller in height.
In considering this, a couple of points must be communicated in order to achieve the optimal height:
1) Students’ feet must be planted on the floor for balance. No crossed legs or other forms of leaning.
2) Student should be sitting up with back straight. No slouching or raised shoulders.
3) With a relaxed arm, student lifts up arm (usually from the elbow joint) and, with a proper hand position, places hand on piano as if ready to play.
4) What is important to notice is the level of the wrist and elbow:
• Look for a level/even wrist (neither too high nor too low)
• Elbow should be at the same level as the surface of the white keys
With these simple guidelines, one can set up a student correctly for playing with greater ease, comfort and, most importantly, with no possibility of injury.
Below are examples of wrist positions that are too low/too high based on the sitting height of the student:
The following posiiton shows a level/even wrist:
Below image shows wrist and elbow at the level of the keys, based on sitting height:
Sitting at the right height is an important step to setting up your student to succeed! And we at YOUniversity of Music and Arts are lucky to have such dedicated and talented students that skipping this step would be an injustice. If you don't have adjustable benches, you can also use foam pads to achieve proper sitting height. These pads are soft, comfortable and are easily stackable. I recommend testing them out. I am sure that by taking the time to adjust your students’ heights, you will see faster and more solid results from them. The less they struggle, the more they will enjoy their lessons!