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#662350 - 01/15/06 09:32 PM Ouch! Sore back!
Ian80 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/05
Posts: 28
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Hi guys,

Hopefully you can help.

I have a Yamaha P120 and the accompanying, non-adjustable stand. I sit on an adjustable piano bench. For some reason, I can only play for about 10 minutes, then my back starts to ache. Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, this isn't helping my desire to play.

Back at home, on my REAL piano (I'm a student) I would sit and play for hours. I can't do that here, because I'm just getting too sore (and I'n only 21 for crying out loud). It must have to do with my setup. Could it be where I'm placing the pedal? The height of the bench.

Has anyone had a similar problem? How did you remedy it? I really need to solve this...


PS -- PianoMagic guys: say hi to Mike for me. I want to rejoin you, just waiting to scrape the money together.

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#662351 - 01/15/06 11:16 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
R Barber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Morgan Hill, CA
Measure what your setup is at your home piano, apply measurments to your digital setup. Measure the distances and angles between your limbs and the instrument, similar to fitting you on a bicycle.
Richard Barber, piano technician
Santa Clara Valley, CA

#662352 - 01/15/06 11:22 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
if you don't want to get hurt playing piano, then get rid of that bench and get a chair with proper hight for your p120. also, always watch out your posture at piano!

#662353 - 01/15/06 11:47 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
Shammy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 115
Loc: Nutter Fort, WV
I'm having a similar problem because I have my keyboard on a long table for sturdiness and it gives me a place to stack all my music books and the monitor speakers. I'm currently shopping for an adjustable drafting chair. My bar stools are too high and my regular chairs are too low. Its a Goldilocks problem! I raised the table up with bricks to help in the meantime but the bar stool gives me a butt ache from sitting on the edge.
...I asked my mother if I was a gifted child...she said they certainly wouldn't have paid for me.

#662354 - 01/16/06 08:06 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
Ian80 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/05
Posts: 28
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Barber, I've been wanting to do this, but I keep forgetting when I go home. It'll have to wait a few weeks now...

Signa, my bench is adjustable. It just seems like whatever I do, my back still hurts.

Here's a question, are you supposed to sit on the edge of a stool? Plainly, where is your butt supposed to be?


#662355 - 01/16/06 11:26 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Here's a question, are you supposed to sit on the edge of a stool? Plainly, where is your butt supposed to be?
Ian, i suspected your problem has something to do with your posture. here is what i consider right posture:

- sit at the half way of your bench (not edge!)
- keep straight back (from your hip bone not from your waist) with your neck aligned also with your spine, and your shoulders must be relaxed and pressed down and slightly backward to compress little bit of your shoulder blades (like what dancers would do)
- lean your upper body (without distorting your back) slightly forward (i.e. your upper body in sitting position is not entirely 90 degree vertical)
- the perfect level of your elbows, when your hands over keyboard, should be parallel to either white key surface or key bed (as key down position)

you should strictly force yourself in such a position when practice and check constantly if such a position has changed (unless your body needs to move to accommodate high or low side of keyboard). if possible, get a big mirror on a side of piano, and watch your posture from there or video tape your playing to check on your posture. it's the most important thing and i wouldn't take this lightly. i have never got hurt practicing even long hours, because i knew this from the very beginning.

#662356 - 01/17/06 06:51 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
Ian80 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/05
Posts: 28
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Thanks Signa!

That is what I was looking for. I just tried it and already I feel a difference. Like you say, the trick will be to train myself to always do it, and not begin to slouch. But it will be worth it.

Thanks again.

#662357 - 01/18/06 09:18 AM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
dhalbert Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 53
Loc: Massachusetts
Are you reading sheet music when you get a backache? On almost all "non-piano-shaped" digital pianos I've seen, the music holder is several inches lower than it is on an acoustic piano. This is probably true even for short acoustic consoles, and certainly true for uprights and grands. So you may be tilting your head and shoulders further down to read the music.

This is something I'm worried about and think I need to solve before I get a digital piano. --Dan

#662358 - 01/18/06 08:41 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back!
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 796
Loc: Northern, Northern California
I used to get a sore back after a few hours at the piano. But now I do 20 crunches every day, and that problem has gone away. YMMV!
- Al

My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

#1716990 - 07/20/11 04:02 AM Re: Ouch! Sore back! [Re: Ian80]
cindycindy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 10
Loc: New Zealand
Recently I have been practicing on the university pianos which have very low piano stools, and I started to feel strain in my back muscles. Eventually I switched the stool for a regular chair that was a little taller. It's taking a while for my back to get normal, but it's no longer getting worse so I think a low seat may have been the reason (especially since I practice for 6 hours a day at that piano).

Last summer for the entire 3 month holiday period, I could barely practice anything at home without getting severe, sharp pains in my arms. No matter what I did, I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. Now I look back, it may have been the height of the chair again, that time it was too high.

So it is really important to get the right seat height!
2011 repertoire

Bach P&F G maj book I
Chopin Etude Ab major Op. 25 no. 1
Chopin Impromptu no. 1 op. 29
Bartok 3 Burlesques op. 8
Liszt Annes de Pelerinage - Sposalizio
Haydn Sonata in b minor XVI: 32
Debussy Prelude - Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir
Schumann Arabesque Op. 18

#1717369 - 07/20/11 04:48 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back! [Re: Ian80]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
I agree, I have just bought a Piano Stool for that exact reason! This one has micro-height adjustment (and also is a bit cushioned!) so I am no longer suffering from back pain smile

Roland FP-7F

#1717373 - 07/20/11 04:59 PM Re: Ouch! Sore back! [Re: Ian80]
Strat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 624
Loc: Toronto, Canada
To the OP,...

As silly as it sounds, sit in the position you normally sit and have a friend take a sideways pic of you.

Post it somewhere and maybe somebody more experienced will be able to tell you what's wrong.

Maybe you're sitting too high or low, maybe the pedal is too far or close, etc. Maybe you're arching your back forward or are too stiffly straight.
Started playing in mid-June 2007. Self-taught... for now. :p


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