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#1316385 - 12/02/09 12:16 AM piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair?
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1176
This thread is in the same realm as the "unlearning bad habits" one. I've taken some of your feedback to heart (for those who've watched my video), and yes, I realize my wrists are quite low and inclined to drop. My piano is a little higher relative to the bench. I also noticed a couple weeks ago that when I played on my childhood Kimball (which is at my sister's house), it is considerably lower than mine and my wrists sit higher....

That said, I want to correct this bad habit for both myself and my 6-year old - who also has the same problem with wrist and forearm position.

What do most of you use for seating? Anybody use an actual adjustable piano bench? I know there's adjustable stools, but I prefer a bench so you can "slide" around when needed. smile
_________________________
YouTube Channel
Scott Joplin Repertoire


Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach



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#1316392 - 12/02/09 12:32 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: CebuKid]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1325
Loc: Canada
My bench is a little low for me so I use a layer of blankets to prop myself up a little higher. Adjustable artist's benches are nice but they cost around $500, and I don't really need one since I'm the only one playing. I'd consider getting one of those adjustable chairs, since they're less expensive. Check first to make sure that it fits both you and your daughter. Ideally, the forearms should be parallel to the ground or elbows slanted slightly towards the ground.

We're not really supposed to slide around when playing, but rather center ourselves and then adjust the torso by shifting from side to side without moving our place on the bench. The wideness of a bench is only used fully when playing four hands duets. If you watch videos of the pros, you'll sometimes see them bouncing up and down but never side to side (at least not to my knowledge...post a video if you see otherwise!)


Edited by Frozenicicles (12/02/09 12:33 AM)
Edit Reason: Can't spell

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#1316401 - 12/02/09 12:43 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: CebuKid]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20129
Loc: New York
I'm hooked on those "concert stools" -- those adjustable 1-person leather (or I guess vinyl) seats like performers use.
BTW.....they also come in "2-person" size.

I have almost no use for regular piano benches because I don't like to be locked into that height, which is usually too high for me.

When I'm someplace where they only have a "piano bench," I look around for any regular plain chair to use instead, because those are usually lower -- and they're fine.

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#1316403 - 12/02/09 12:44 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Frozenicicles]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20129
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
My bench is a little low for me....

Low, eh? I guess those benches are made for people who are the average of the two of us. smile

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#1316432 - 12/02/09 01:28 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Mark_C]
WeatherTheLizard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/09
Posts: 142
Loc: NY, US
I have a Kimball that came with a bench and I think it's perfect for it. 19 inches high. I used the same bench for my Yamaha and found it to be too low, getting a lot of pain in my elbows, cushions weren't sturdy enough. I then invested in a drum throne, which is adjustable and have it at 22 inches.

Weird... I just measured the height to the top of the white keys on both pianos. 28 inches for both. About the only difference I can think of is the weight of the keys. The Yamaha being very heavy, maybe I need to be higher to compensate for pressure I have to apply?

Anyway, I like benches / slide around a bit, but got the drum throne cause it matches my piano. :p


Edited by WeatherTheLizard (12/02/09 01:30 AM)
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Kimball 4520, Yamaha CP70-B, Yamaha PSR-150

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#1316440 - 12/02/09 01:55 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: WeatherTheLizard]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20129
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: WeatherTheLizard
...Weird... I just measured the height to the top of the white keys on both pianos. 28 inches for both....

I LOVE stuff like that. smile
It makes us realize that there's often more to stuff than we might imagine. There can be all kinds of unseen dimensions.
Quote:
About the only difference I can think of is the weight of the keys. The Yamaha being very heavy, maybe I need to be higher to compensate for pressure I have to apply?....

Seems like a reasonable guess.....

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#1316449 - 12/02/09 02:37 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Mark_C]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
I made my own bench from stuff from the timber yard. I wanted one large enough to seat two people comfortably, and double as music storage. Total cost was about £20 and an afternoon in the shed.

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#1316455 - 12/02/09 02:57 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: kevinb]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4497
Loc: San Jose, CA
Well, back in the day I used to use a wooden piano bench, a stool, and also an office chair (well, a kitchen chair). Now that I'm old and wore out, it's a Jansen adjustable bench, with longer legs to fit my longer legs.

As for not moving back and forth on the bench, that may be fine if you're young and have a perfect back, or if you play only in the middle of the keyboard. If you're me, you move a bit to get where the keys are, if necessary--- and I do scales all the way from the bottom to the top of the keyboard. A little movement on the bench also keeps the wrists better-aligned. If you do much piano playing with bent wrists, you are headed for trouble sooner or later.

Anyway, I have two benches, and if someone wants to play four-hands, they can have their own. I don't believe there's quite enough real estate on a single bench.


Edited by Jeff Clef (12/02/09 02:58 AM)
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#1316457 - 12/02/09 03:05 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: kevinb]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
I had a simple adjustable bench that came with my piano. Later I had trouble with it - a screw kept falling out because my normal screw driver was too long to get it back in properly. I took bench back to the shop so that they could fix this for me... And they said " we've decided that this sort of bench is not very good, we don't stock them anymore. You can take your pick of any bench in the shop." So I did

My new adjustable bench is lovely, strong but soft, winds up (and down), elegantly black, tiny velvet lined music storage space for those special pieces.
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1316458 - 12/02/09 03:06 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Jeff Clef]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
.
Anyway, I have two benches, and if someone wants to play four-hands, they can have their own. I don't believe there's quite enough real estate on a single bench.


There is on mine -- it's the width of the keyboard smile But it's a bear to haul around, to be honest.

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#1316459 - 12/02/09 03:11 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: kevinb]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20129
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I made my own bench from stuff from the timber yard. I wanted one large enough to seat two people comfortably, and double as music storage. Total cost was about £20 and an afternoon in the shed.

That is so cool!! Pic available?
(I assume you're serious but sometimes I'm not that good at telling things like that....) smile
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1316467 - 12/02/09 03:36 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Mark_C]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: MarkCannon
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I made my own bench from stuff from the timber yard. I wanted one large enough to seat two people comfortably, and double as music storage. Total cost was about £20 and an afternoon in the shed.

That is so cool!! Pic available?
(I assume you're serious but sometimes I'm not that good at telling things like that....) smile


Yeah, I'm quite serious. But I'm not sure how to put pictures here. It's basically a pine box with a leg at each corner, like a fat, rectangular coffin on stumpy legs. It's essentially a sheet of 3/4" pine board sawn into 6 pieces to make a box, and four lengths of 2x2 studding to form the legs/corners. My wife kindly made a padded cushion to go on top, so it doesn't look too bad. It's been at the back of my mind to cover it in walnut veneer to match the piano for about three years, but it never gets to the top of the to-do list.

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#1316490 - 12/02/09 05:42 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: kevinb]
gintarec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 129
Loc: UK
I got a piano bench when I bout the piano itself - it look like this, just different colour:


I was buying Yamaha digital piano and was asking in the shop about benches, and they said 'oh, we don't know where this one is from, as it is Roland one and we don't sell Rolands here!", so I got it for about half the price!

The top lifts up to store the music books, and it is the right height for me. As I am the only one here playing piano, there was no need to get an adjustable one.
_________________________
Alfred's All-in-One: Level 2 - started March 1st!
Still playing 'Overture'
Clavinova CLP-240

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#1316783 - 12/02/09 02:19 PM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: gintarec]
bolt Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 215
I'm using an adjustable office chair. I have it up high so my elbows are the right height to the keyboard, and I have the flat surfce of the chair tipped forward just a little, which is easy on the back, and I sit a little toward the front of the chair.
_________________________
"There is more to this piano playing malarkey than meets the eye" - adultpianist

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#1316852 - 12/02/09 04:17 PM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: bolt]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1924
Loc: south florida
I have a matching adjustable bench that came with my CLP-380PE. I keep it adjusted so that my forearms angle slightly downward from the elbows to the hands, since that is what I thought I read was the proper position.

I am only a beginner and would welcome correction if I've gotten this wrong.

Jim
_________________________
Reverie - C.Debussy
My Foolish Heart - V.Young
Solfeggietto - CPE Bach



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#1316933 - 12/02/09 05:48 PM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: JimF]
Bart Kinlein Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 715
Loc: Maryland
Quote:
Anybody use an actual adjustable piano bench?

Yes
_________________________
Steinway 1905 model A, rebuild started 2008, completed 2012
Yahama CVP-401
Will somone get my wife off the Steinway so I can play it!

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#1317004 - 12/02/09 07:53 PM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Frozenicicles]
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1176
Originally Posted By: Frozenicicles
My bench is a little low for me so I use a layer of blankets to prop myself up a little higher. Adjustable artist's benches are nice but they cost around $500, and I don't really need one since I'm the only one playing. I'd consider getting one of those adjustable chairs, since they're less expensive. Check first to make sure that it fits both you and your daughter. Ideally, the forearms should be parallel to the ground or elbows slanted slightly towards the ground.

We're not really supposed to slide around when playing, but rather center ourselves and then adjust the torso by shifting from side to side without moving our place on the bench. The wideness of a bench is only used fully when playing four hands duets. If you watch videos of the pros, you'll sometimes see them bouncing up and down but never side to side (at least not to my knowledge...post a video if you see otherwise!)


Thanks, great tip! I'll probably "go cheap" and get an adustable office chair, or just steal from my wife's home office. smile

I'd like to put a stop to my "bad habits" before they become permanent.

PS-I've owned my "real piano" since Feb. 2009. I played on my Casio keyboard prior to that.
_________________________
YouTube Channel
Scott Joplin Repertoire


Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach



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#1317027 - 12/02/09 08:43 PM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: CebuKid]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4497
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...I keep it adjusted so that my forearms angle slightly downward from the elbows to the hands, since that is what I thought I read was the proper position. I am only a beginner and would welcome correction if I've gotten this wrong."

I would say that's exactly right, if it feels comfortable for you. The dangerous position for injuries is to be seated too low, so that you're "reaching up" for the keys.
_________________________
Clef


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#1317172 - 12/03/09 12:25 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Jeff Clef]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3308
Proper posture at the piano is a key ingredient to playing well, and playing without tiring.

Piano benches, or homemade benches that are just like piano benches, are always the best bet, because they are flat. There is a reason for this...they allow you to sit mostly on your bum with your leg muscles pretty much not on the bench, which allows you to lean slightly forward.

This is considered to be the best posture for piano, because your back is straight, supported by your spine, which requires the least amount of muscle work to maintain.

Here is a link to a picture in Alfred's Adult book that shows this: (Click on the picture of the book on the left, then use the arrows on the right to get to page 6)

http://www.amazon.com/Adult-All-One-Cour...7452&sr=8-2

Notice that the front of the bench is lined up vertically with the front of his body.

If you sit back on the bench, your leg muscles (the ones on the back of your upper legs) will tilt you backwards a bit, causing your torso muscles to continuously work to keep you upright, and to lean you forward when you have to reach. This is tiring.

The same is for most chairs, only worse. Most chairs tilt backwards a bit, thus actively forcing the body backwards. So if you want to play sitting up straight and/or leaning a tad forward, you have to use muscle power to keep that posture. Plus chairs are usually too low for playing at the typical height of most pianos.

Finally, about the $500 piano bench, here is a link to an adjustable piano bench for only $99.99:

http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Musicians-Gear-Deluxe-Padded-Piano-Bench?sku=450321
_________________________
Music teacher and Blues piano player.

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#1317191 - 12/03/09 01:06 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: rocket88]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 20129
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: rocket88
....Piano benches, or homemade benches that are just like piano benches, are always the best bet, because they are flat....

But that assumes the height is OK. For some of us, it's way off.....unfortunately. smile frown
Quote:
......Most chairs tilt backwards a bit, thus actively forcing the body backwards....

Very true, and you're right, that's not too good.

Quote:
....chairs are usually too low for playing at the typical height of most pianos....

I know that for most people that's so.
Quote:
....here is a link to an adjustable piano bench for only $99.99.

Now you're talking! smile

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#1318213 - 12/04/09 11:14 AM Re: piano bench, stool, or plain-old office chair? [Re: Mark_C]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
I use an adjustable artist bench, which came with my Hailun HG178. I love it.

Prior to that, I played a Roland digital piano, and used an adjustable office chair on rollers. I got one that had no arms, to avoid any issues of constraining movement (and it's a lot cheaper!). I'm sitting in it now, and still like it.

Hop
_________________________
HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130

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