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How To Play A Piano: The Importance Of Technique

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How to play a piano - any piano or keyboard, digital or acoustic - requires a certain level of 'technique'.

Whether you're playing a baby grand, upright or portable keyboard, there are a few essential (but easy and straightforward) principles of piano technique which should be followed.

This is often overlooked when learning how to play the piano but I can’t stress how important it is.

Let me explain. It’s the same with any sport or even a special hobby or skill that requires physical activity.

Let’s take tennis as an example. There is a right (and wrong) way to hold the tennis racket, or to hit the ball. If you do it the wrong way, you won’t play very well, and in the worst case you could even injure yourself.

How to play a piano – how you sit, hold your arms and hands (ie piano technique), is just as important. In fact, I can’t stress enough how important it is to use the right technique. If you don’t get these basics right, you may end up with some bad habits and even put strain on your wrists, hands and arms. Whether you play classical music, jazz, blues or any other contemporary songs, the right technique will be better for you and your posture in the long run.

I am always reminding my students to sit up straight or hold their hands It is easy to slip and forget.

So, I would highly recommend printing this page and keeping it nearby as a constant reminder:

Play Piano Music - The Right Way

  1. Relax. Nothing should be tense or uncomfortable. If it is, stop, and try again, making sure you are doing everything on this list!

  2. Sit up straight. Keep your back straight (but not tense, it should feel natural and comfortable. Don’t slump. Take care of your back – you only have one).

  3. Arms should form an “L” shape. You shouldn’t have to stretch your arms out nor should you feel cramped.

  4. Your hand shape and fingers should be gently curved;

  5. learn-to-play-piano-free

    Hand Shape

  6. Legs should be out in front of you with knees bent, not crossed, with feet flat on the floor.

  7. Sit in the middle on the piano stool/chair. Try and sit so that you facing the middle of the keyboard.

Here are some photos that will show you how to play a piano – always, no matter what style and no matter what kind of piano you are playing.


Sitting Correctly

Yes, there are some famous piano players who may slump or even play the piano upside down, but their bodies will very likely suffer for it in the future, whether this is hurting their backs or permanently damaging tendons on their wrists, hands and arms.

I always like to make sure that my students are sitting at the piano correctly, and know the techniques of how to play a piano, so that they will never have these problems in the future.

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