Let’s start at the very beginning, with your seat!
A lot of keyboard players - not just beginners - disregard the importance of getting the right chair or stool. It’s best to do this straight away, before you end up with injuries or strains.
Two things to work out are:
- getting your seat height right
- distance from the keyboard
These two things will affect your back, shoulders, arms and wrist.
Ideally, save up and buy yourself a keyboard stool.
However, if you’re just starting out with the keys casually or are not ready to buy new furniture, stick to your desk chair - just make sure that it is relatively flat (so that you can distribute an even weight) and height-adjustable.
Now that the seats are sussed, we can learn about our positioning.
For those of you who use a smaller midi keyboard, this may not affect you as much but keeping a nice seat distance does allow you to play comfortably for longer. For people with a fuller ranged keyboard - this is quite essential, as keeping a correct distance creates a space for you to maneuver around the keys using your body weight instead of just your arms, which causes tension.
Instead of having your bum all the way to the back and having your chair forward, pull your chair back and sit near the edge of the seat.
This is so that you have more freedom to lean to the side, or to the front or back. Although it may seem awkward at first, sitting like this engages your core so that your back is naturally straight, and this allows you to be less rigid. If you sit near the back of the seat, you’ll find that your thighs are stuck to the seat and the only way to reach different ranges will be to stretch your arms side to side, which isn’t ideal. You want to lean your body side to side in order to distribute your body weight evenly. (Yes it’s possible to lean side to side while sitting at the back of the seat but this hurts your back)
Make sure that the seat height allows your forearms to be nice and straight.
If you sit too low, that means that you have to put more strength into your playing which means that it’ll make your wrist and shoulders become tired easily.
If you sit too high, the arm angle becomes quite awkward and this causes tension in your forearms. A bit like the proper positioning for sitting at a computer keyboard.
Placing your hands / fingers properly.
When beginners learn how to play piano, they’re often told to imagine that they’re holding an egg or a bubble so that they form a round, curved shape with their fingers.
If you do this correctly, your fingertips will be touching the keys rather than the centre of your fingers. The reason why you should curve your fingers is because you’ll build flexibility (if you play piano with flat fingers, you might notice that more strength/tension goes into your movement and this may cause injuries) and this enables you to play songs with more precision and less fatigue.
In terms of where you should place your fingers, this really depends on which line/chord/finger position you play. If you’re just playing the white keys, you would place your fingers just before the tips of the black keys but if you’re required to mix both white and black keys, you would have to dive in a little deeper (in between the black keys) so that the levels meet. Also, if your key size is smaller than piano keys (ie. a small midi keyboard), you can do the same - you don’t have to fit your fingers below the black keys.
Please take rests in between your practices/music making process.
Maintaining a fixed posture for a long time will make you prone to injuries. About five minutes rest every 15 minutes will do. Make it a regular habit to stretch your fingers and forearms while not playing. This helps to prevent injury and strengthen your muscles and joints.
Focus on your posture and technique, and keep up the practice! When you’re ready, click here to start our beginner keys course in Melodics.
Best of luck!