Building the right technique – the kind that grants you freedom, competency and confidence at the piano – is indispensable for any piano students, from beginners to performers. And I find it hardly stressed enough over the years of my teaching career, observing all levels of students playing in ways detrimental to not only their learning and performance but also their love and passion for such beautiful art. Therefore, I decide to write a series about posture in general for YOU – piano beginners and parents (if the students be youngsters) in the hope that such matter is to be attended closely right from the start of this music journey.
I. Sitting Posture
Why do we have to be aware of our sitting posture? The correct posture can help us balance our body, so that we can utilize our body weight in our playing, that our fingers be light and fast flying across the keyboard. Imagine doing Kung-Fu : you must have a solid lower body stance (you would understand if you have ever watched any Bruce Lee or Jacky Chan perhaps?), in order for you to move your upper body and arms lightly. A lot of time we see that piano beginners have collapsed finger knuckles, and that is mostly due to a lack of bodily awareness and coordination. When one sits with a poor posture at the piano, the whole body weight is not supported with feet planting firmly on the ground, s/he has to support the whole body with fingers pushing into the keys. As a result, the fingers are very heavy, and that makes moving them very difficult. Fingers may also become very tense, and the finger knuckles would collapse with such overtension and overweight. As a lot of beginners focus mostly at the fingers rather than the feeling and coordination of the whole body, the problem becomes increasingly serious, which directly affects not only the playing but also the enthusiasm and confidence in the whole learning process. Therefore, even in our piano beginner program, we make a point to our students and their parents that they must pay attention to the sitting posture. For young children, their feet might not be able to touch the ground and be planted on it firmly. So we provide them with a short stool to put their feet on, and we suggest their parents to do the same at home during practice. When the little body is relaxed, the fingers are also free to move, and the student is now ready to make some beautiful music at the piano!