How to bow and sit at the piano

 
 

    The most important thing about a child sitting on a piano bench is that s/he doesn't fall off. Usually they will find a good balanced position without help. The organ piece in the movie above demonstrates the amazing ability of a little kid to manage to get hands and feet off of everything at once while balancing precariously on the very edge of the bench.

       If a student sits with his nose above the e' nearest  the middle of the piano, he will be right in the middle of Cuckoo and Lightly Row in book one of the Suzuki Method books. This is a good position for learning to make sense of the Grand Staff when learning to read music, and also for being comfortable while playing these early pieces.

    Later, he may prefer to move a half step to the left. Some experts suggest right above middle d’ always. That way you supposedly can develop a feel for where the piano keys are. I think a mental picture is necessary also, and prefer some flexibility since some chords are not possible to play comfortably by some hands from either of these suggested positions.  When sitting with the nose above middle c’, the right eye will be above bottom line of the treble clef, and the left above the top line of the bass clef. Instead of nose and left ear as in iReadMusic.

    Young children might move right or left on the bench depending where the middle of the

piece they are playing is. As they get bigger

 

Sitting at the piano

This would be after about 7 months of study - not including several weeks without lessons for summer vacation and Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays (8 and a half months total)  6 years old, middle of  first grade.

<Back    Next>  

they can lean to the right or left using the support of the opposite foot, to provide balance and  avoid awkward contortions.

    The bench height should be adjusted  so that the forearm is nearly parallel to the floor when ones flat hand is on the depressed keys. For benches that are not adjustable this be done easily by stacking carpet samples on it.

    If the elbows are slightly lower than the hands it is easier to relax the shoulders and elbows, which is very important. Children whose feet don't reach the floor will need a footrest, unless the bench is lowered.

    If the  bench is far enough from the piano, children will be able to lean slightly forward to see the keys without bending their neck or hunching their back too much.

    Most young children sit naturally with excellent posture. If they don't, gently press their back without saying anything. 

    Some children are just the size to play while standing on the floor. Since children often like to perform on pianos that aren't their own, I think it is good not to insist that everything be perfect all of the time.

    For just about any body or hand position you can imagine there is or was a fantastic pianist who used it. Some of them did serious damage to themselves however, so use your head. Somewhere between boring and ridiculous is probably ideal.