Our Music on Wings Piano Beginner Course Series (Student Version) is available on Amazon
Last month we talked about Sitting Posture. This month let’s talk about Pedalling.
Place both feet on the floor. Have left foot securely planted on the floor. Lift right foot up onto the right pedal. Secure the right ankle firmly into the floor. Place the ball of the right foot on the pedal. Keep it stick to the pedal. Try not to lift it up as much as possible. Even when you have to lift it up, try to keep it low and close to the pedal.
You don’t have to press the pedal all the way down all the time. Most of the time we don’t. (We can use full pedal, half pedal, a quarter pedal, or even “flutter pedal”).
When you use the pedal, press the ball of the foot halfway down into the pedal while the heel of the foot is still on the floor. When you release the pedal, the ball of the foot should still be on the pedal.
Feel the sheen of your right foot (as well as the front of your right calf) is controlling the lifting up and pressing down of the foot, not the sole of the foot.
Avoid abrupt movement of lifting up or pressing down the pedal. Remember, when the physical movement in your playing is abrupt and not smooth, your music would also sound abrupt and not smooth as well.
We do not always play and press down the pedal at the same time. Sometimes we can first play a note(chord) and then use the pedal. For the same reasoning, we can first release a note (chord) and then release the pedal.
WRONG: The heel is up in the air. It should stay ON the floor at all times.
WRONG: The ball of the foot should stay ON the pedal most of the times if not all times for smooth control of pedalling, to avoid abrupt release of pedal and potential noise.
CORRECT VERSION: both heel and foot are at the right positions!
One more thing: Your body weight (center of gravity) should not be shifted to the back or front because of the use of pedal.
More on pedalling later,
Starting from April, I will give a pointer every month for you to pay attention to and work on.
The first and foremost: sitting posture.
Now, many of you might think, “what does playing the piano have to do anything with how we sit?”
How we sit affects how we play.
If we do not have the right sitting posture, we cannot play well.
Remember from now on, we do not play with only our fingers.
Instead, remember, we play with our whole body.
Sit properly with your bottom situated firmly on the piano bench, with your body weight spread evenly among the two sides of your bottom.
Plant your feet firmly into the ground. Spread them a bit more hip width apart. You should be able to find a V-shape formed from your hip creases out to your knees.
Your feet should be so firmly planted into the ground that you can stand up from your sitting position on the bench without the help of your hands (holding on the bench or the piano).
Start straightening from your lower back all the way up.
Think and move your back as one solid plank, so that you cannot crunch or curl your back to the front or to the sides.
When you have straighten your back more, you can feel your body weight is distributed more evenly to your upper body instead of all down in your lower body.
Sit up straight, my students!
Your thighs should be more parallel to the the ground- Julian is not tall enough yet so his thighs are more slant now.
Now go back to your bottom again. Make sure you are not leaning backward. Check if your back is leaning to the back and your weight going to the back as well. Your body weight should be at least situated in the middle if not to the front.
Tilt your pelvic bones to the back, so that you can feel your body weight moving to the front and to the feet. If you are leaning backward, then your pelvic bones are being pushed to the front. Move them back, so that your upper body is folding to the front. You can now feel your body weight is grounded heavily to your feet.
For the kid students whose feet cannot touch the ground and therefore cannot be secured to the ground yet, place a little stool or steady box to let the feet step on it.
Use a stool under the feet to maintain a steady sitting posture
Try to maintain your forearms more or less parallel to the floor.
Again, if the stool is too high, use a box or something sturdy to step on.