UNIT 1 Lesson Book page 4

Sitting at the Piano

  • Where to sit on the bench
  • Sitting tall on the bench
  • Measuring the distance from the fallboard
  • Correct posture
  • Appropriate seating distance
  • Arms level with the keyboard
  • Learning Technique Secret 1

studio supplies

  • For correct seating height, students may use cushions
  • For foot support and pedaling, students may benefit from:
    • a foot stand
    • commercial pedal extensions
    • a turned-over box or crate

let’s get started


A piano bench has no back or arms. Sit on the front half of the bench so you can easily lean left or right.


Let’s measure the distance between you and the piano: put both arms straight out from your body, closing your hands to make loose fists.


Your knuckles should just touch the fallboard. And that’s how you measure your correct seating distance!


Put your loose fists on the white keys. Your elbows should hang loosely and your back should be straight. Are you sitting tall?
see video


Find and touch what I ask for:

  • piano legs
  • your forearms
  • fallboard
  • your wrists
  • keyboard
  • your shoulders

Now touch the pedals with your feet.

Measure distance from the keyboard with a "karate pose."

technique & artistry book

  • About Technique & Artistry (p. 2)
    For lesson preparation, read page 2, then ask yourself: How would I describe technique? How would I describe artistry?
  • UNIT 1 What is Technique? (p. 3)
    Look at the illustrations with the student. Talk about the technique that is needed for a basketball player, dancer, and pianist.
Five Primer Technique Secrets

Five Technique Secrets are presented as essential motions for the Primer Level. Each “secret” is taught with an effective Exercise that has a memorable title.

  • NEW: Technique Secret 1: GOOD POSTURE (p. 4)
    Exercise: Karate Pose

Tell the student that fun yet powerful “Technique Secrets” must be learned to play the piano well.

Good Posture is Secret #1. We practice good posture with an Exercise called Karate Pose. Watch me demonstrate. Now you copy. Well done!

pedagogy pointers

Sitting properly at the piano keyboard affects so much else—whether you can breathe with ease, whether you are relaxed, whether your feet give your body necessary support, and whether you are centered and balanced on the end of your spine.

Poor seating position or poor posture is the root of many technical problems. Right from the start make good posture a good habit!

Make good posture a good habit.