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#1083372 - 11/21/04 12:57 PM chair height
nyccycler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 5
Loc: new york city
Hello - I am new to these boards and I am an Adult returning beginner -
My piano "passed on" recently I am practicing on a keyboard until I am able to replace it and I was wondering if anyone knows the proper height to adjust it from the floor - or what is the height of your keys measured from the floor?

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#1083373 - 11/21/04 01:38 PM Re: chair height
Bob Muir Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 2653
Loc: Lakewood, WA, USA
My bench is at about 19.5" & the top of the keys are at 29.5".

#1083374 - 11/21/04 03:53 PM Re: chair height
nyccycler Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 5
Loc: new york city
Thanks so much - I've had some twinges in my elbows and I don't want to do any permanent damage by sitting wrong!

#1083375 - 11/21/04 04:23 PM Re: chair height
Mathilde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 309
Loc: Decatur, Illinois, USA
I had backaches when I started on piano, and this advice helped me a lot.


The first principle is to sit at the correct height and insist to students (or their parents) that the bench at home be at the correct height. Some piano methods do say things like "the forearm should be level when the student sits erect without hunching the shoulders," which is correct; much the same advice is found in any ergonomics text. If a person is not at the correct height, the body is likely to compensate somewhere. A person sitting too low may hunch the shoulders or lift the elbows, a person sitting too high may drop the wrist or pull the shoulders down. All of these compensations involve static muscular activity that limits freedom and can in time lead to injury.

Since the correct bench height is the one that puts the forearm level, it is not the same for everyone, and it may not be the same even for people of the same stature. The correct bench height is determined by the relation between the length of the upper arm and the length of the torso, and this proportion varies from one person to another. A handy way to find the correct height is to sit upright with the arms hanging freely and the fingertips resting on the keys. Then adjust the height of the bench so as to place the tip of the elbow even with the top of the white keys. To many pianists, the correct height will feel high at first, since most benches are too low for most people. Even adjustable benches do not go high enough for many people.
I am currently using a folded blanket that adds precisely the right amount of height (about 1-3/4") to my standard piano bench to avoid back pain.

#1083376 - 11/22/04 08:08 AM Re: chair height
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Another thing that helped me (and I rarely hear it mentioned) is to pay attention to how close (or far) you are sitting from the piano.

After a lot of trial and error, I found that I was actually sitting too close to the piano. By moving the bench back (not much, maybe 2-3 inches) I was able to very very slightly lean into the keys. This resulted in much better tone, and fewer back aches... particularly near and between my shoulder blades. I think I was trying to push the keys down with my shoulders instead of the full weight of my upper body.

YMMV, of course!


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