Why is it important to have the correct posture when playing piano? And what are the benefits from using proper arm and hand position?
HEALTH. Maintaining proper posture helps prevent muscular strain and stress, that can damage our bodies, especially if accumulated after years of practicing piano with poor form. When using correct posture at the piano, you will be able to play comfortably for longer periods of time, without putting yourself at risk of repetitive strain injuries.
SOUND PROJECTION & FLOW. Proper posture helps produce power and flow while playing piano. Good form will give way to freedom of movement in the upper body, allowing for the best dynamics and expression possible.
CONTROL. It also allows us to play piano with more sensitivity, improving our ability to control the type of sounds we want to create, while providing our fingers with the flexibility to move with a wider range of motion and speed.
There is a common misconception that we play piano with our fingers alone. The truth is, piano playing is a combination of finger, arm, torso, and body movement. When used together in harmony, the body is balanced and free, allowing for secure technique as well as expressive and fluid playing.
If the body is tense and unbalanced, not only will the playing suffer, but poor habits that cause discomfort can lead to bodily damage. Understanding good piano posture is necessary for all pianists to improve their playing and for preventing or curing injury.
So what are the basic elements to achieving correct posture for playing piano? Stay tuned for our next article, which will reveal and explain FIVE STEPS TO GOOD PIANO POSTURE!
Start Strong with Piano Practice this School Year
It’s that time of the year again — the summer has passed in the blink of an eye, and it’s back to school already!
Regardless of whether a student had kept up with practice during the summer break or been completely away from the piano while on vacation, everyone now faces a new routine. When your routine changes, it’s very easy for piano practice to get disrupted. For those that have been away, getting back to practicing regularly could be a challenge at the beginning, especially with a new schedule in the mix.
Here are some tips to help smooth the transition to bouncing back in your piano practice, stress-free.
1. Select the best time for piano practice. Set aside the same time each day for piano so that it is integrated into your daily routine. Some prefer first thing in the morning, while for others, after school is the best time. The worst time to play piano is late at night or right before bedtime, when you are worn out from the day’s activities, and your energy level and ability to focus is at it’s lowest. Decide what’s best for you and implement it from the first day of school.
2. Alternate piano practice and homework time. Piano is usually practiced within a relatively fixed length of time, therefore playing piano BEFORE homework may often be the best option, when possible. Or you can also take turns between piano practice with homework. For example 2 songs on the piano, 15 minutes of math, 1-2 songs + scales on the piano, 20 minutes of reading, etc… will help your practice time will feel like it’s going by much faster!
3. Short term rewards. Getting back on a regular piano practice routine is hardest at the beginning. Consistency is KEY — after the first week or two, it will become and feel like a natural part of your schedule. A tip for parents: a little incentive can go a long way to motivating your child during this time, whether it’s something as simple as rewarding stickers for each day of piano, or an ice cream treat on the weekend after a solid week of practice!
4. Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP! If you end up missing one day while adjusting to your new schedule, it happens. Just get back to it the following day and make it up for it by extending your next few practices by 5-10 minutes.
When should my child begin piano lessons?
With back to school just around the corner, this is a time that many parents consider and look into kick-starting a musical education for their child. “At what age can my child begin piano lessons?” – this is one of the most common questions that I get from parents. There are no set rules, but there are pointers and signs to help determine when your child is ready.
1. Your child should be tuned into music from early on.
Whether you wish to foster a musical genius or simply want to nurture a love of music in your child, it is important to take the first step of exposing yourself and your child to lots of classical, jazz and other types of instrumentally engaging music. It can be as easy as tuning into a radio station during your daily activities or spending downtime watching youtube performances.
An appreciation of music will help build and maintain your child’s interest. Rhythmic patterns, harmonics, and melodic ideas will be established in your child’s musical ear, making the transition to piano lessons an easier process.
2.To start piano lessons, your child should be able to recognize numbers 1-5 (for finger numbers) and alphabets A through G (for letter names of the keys), which are all required of a beginner. It will certainly help if they are able to distinguish the difference between left and right hand. However, there’s no need to worry if the knowledge is not perfect, as many beginner books will spend a good amount of time reinforcing these ideas.
3.Your child should be able to sit still for 10-15 minutes, while being able to maintain focus and still have fun at the piano. It is often difficult for a little one to sit longer than 10-15 min at a time while keeping a strong focus on any one musical concept. In our 30 min beginner lessons, activities are switched up during class to keep students interested and engaged. Besides playing through or learning new pieces, it is common to start or interlude a class with finger number and note games, rhythmic clapping or marching exercises, and fun duets!
4. The younger the child is when beginning piano lessons, the more involved the parent will have to be with actively helping out and taking part during daily practices, attending lessons and being positively involved. It is important to keep an open dialogue with the teacher about your child is progressing in lessons, especially for really young students
5. Every child is different. There are excellent students that begin piano lessons as early as age 3 or 4, while others are not ready until later. Many students that had difficulty focusing on piano at a younger age restarted later on and continued successfully, like myself!
As long as the interest for music is there — that is really the only answer you need to this question!
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Kudos to all of the fantastic performers this past Saturday, June 14th at Encore Piano Studios’ 2014 Annual Recital!
A big thumbs up for the hard work and dedication of these young pianists during their piano lessons and months of practice, to have so wonderfully prepared their pieces to share with us.
Of course it goes with out saying the entire event couldn’t have been possible without the much appreciated support from the families and and friends in attendance in attendance every year.
The art of piano is something that benefits those practicing it in many ways, this recital primarily highlighted the encore music studios kids piano classes members & really showed what dedication and commitment to a goal can achieve.
Through study, determination and focus during all the piano lessons leading up to the event both parents and myself have had the pleasure of seeing the performers rise to the occasion resulting in yet another very successful event for encore piano studios and all of our members.
Finally, a warm thank-you to the Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church for so graciously hosting our event and allowing us to share music here in their North York venue.
Stay tuned for the upcoming showcase of select feature video performances from the 2014 north york piano recital – coming soon!