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#2681487 - 10/12/17 07:54 AM Feedback on my posture  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2
Eddy Offline
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Eddy  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2
I have been playing for years now but never had a good personal teacher. So I'm afraid I developed some wrong habits. I have been reading about a correct piano posture and according to the general advice I have been sitting to close to the piano and my bench is too high.

Now I'm trying to correct this, but it's hard to feel if I am now playing in a 'correct' position.

So I recorded myself playing in my new position. Can you please give some feedback? Am I sitting at a correct height? Am I at a good distance from the piano?

Thanks!
Eddy


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#2681493 - 10/12/17 08:38 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 260
Jaak Offline
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Jaak  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 260
Tallinn, Estonia
Hi Eddy!

My first comment would be about your sitting height - it is advised to sit in a way that elbows are at the same level with keyboard.
If that changes the posture would change already.

Maybe then suggesting to find a balance point for your head. If you sit, feel the support of your sitting bones. Then have your backbone balanced well, so that the top of the balance line is the highest spot on your head. Try to find a position, which feels most natural and consumes the least energy. Often old habits are hard to spot because we are just too used to them.

If you make a few changes I would be excited to give you more feedback!

Best wishes,
Jaak


piano.social - Learn classical piano with Jaak and socialize with other piano students
MA, teacher and doctoral student of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
#2681494 - 10/12/17 08:40 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Jun 2012
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sinophilia Offline

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sinophilia  Offline

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Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,640
Italy
There is not a single correct position, but yours look good. Some keyboardists sit very high, many even stand. Even concert pianists may change bench height depending on the piece they play, lower for delicate passagework, higher for loud chords. As long as you feel comfortable and the sound you make pleases you, you have the "correct" posture!


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To create a beautiful sound, one must imagine it at first and then learn to produce fluid physical motions that breathe life into music. (Shirley Kirsten)
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#2681498 - 10/12/17 09:02 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Oct 2012
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Whizbang Online content
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Whizbang  Online Content
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Looks pretty decent. Your hands look pretty relaxed. I can't really tell what your shoulders are doing. Speaking as someone who developed a habit along the way of keeping them tensed and lifted (from computer work), I can tell you tense shoulders are pretty bad long term. You do look a little collapsed in the torso like maybe you're bending forward. Around 0:38, you pop your left shoulder up and it's not clear whether that particularly is doing anything helpful for you mechanically.

Note that piano posture and the way you use your hands and arms isn't so much of a static position but more about moving through the piece. Staying rigid or somewhere for long periods is what commonly causes problems.You're playing something pretty static so it's hard to see much from the video. More importantly--are you feeling especially tired or fatigued in some area after playing for a long session or are you getting 'kinks' somewhere?


Whizbang [Linked Image]
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#2681499 - 10/12/17 09:04 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: sinophilia]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 260
Jaak Offline
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Jaak  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 260
Tallinn, Estonia
Hi,

I agree with the difference of every person and a variety of different habits of using body and also different genetics. But I still suggest finding out what could be better. Until you have not tried out, how can you say what is best? I have worked with Alexanders technique and also researched body mapping. These concepts can take to the freedom and use of body you never experienced before. Often a little change in sitting posture makes a huge change in the whole playing. But actually, you feel quite relaxed and it can be seen that you have strong musical imagination about what you do.

Often we are just in a comfort zone and used to it what we have been doing for a long time. And it might even feel comfortable.

Just for fun, I will add a video about primal posture. Short one and not really piano related, but just for inspiration.
https://youtu.be/k1luKAS_Xcg

Best wishes,
Jaak

Last edited by Jaak; 10/12/17 09:37 AM.

piano.social - Learn classical piano with Jaak and socialize with other piano students
MA, teacher and doctoral student of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
#2681507 - 10/12/17 09:53 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2
Eddy Offline
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Eddy  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2
Thanks for the reply's and the good feedback!

I have created a new video. It's also good way to analyze myself from a distance smile

I lowered the bench a little to take down my elbow to the same level of the keys.

And I also tried to hunch over less and sit on my sit bone. I feel I want to hunch whenever I want to take a quick look at my hands.

My shoulders and shoulders feel relaxed to me, but I recently begin having a pain in my left upper arm right next to the shoulder.
Strangely I also get a little pain in my lower back when I try not to hunch over. When I let myself hunch I have no pain.


#2681519 - 10/12/17 10:42 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,772
Whizbang Online content
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Whizbang  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Eddy

My shoulders and shoulders feel relaxed to me, but I recently begin having a pain in my left upper arm right next to the shoulder.


May or may not be related, but you've got the left shrug thing going on in this video as well. Check @:20 and @0:40


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
#2681525 - 10/12/17 11:11 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 15,170
keystring Offline
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Canada
Your posture looks better in the new video. The dual element of "right height and distance" is critical because it affects everything else. The other thing that can affect it if you read music is where your music is located, and what you have to do with your head to read it. So you've got that part.

I've been working with this for a few years since I started off with something bad all round. Another thing that comes into it is movement in more than just the hands and arms. Our backs are not immobile coat hangers supporting our arms in one position while the arms move. Here we go into feet and hips. There is advice to sit on the front third of the bench. because then the weight can go into your feet and you can shift weight on your hips "from sitbone to sitbone" so that a lean to the side if both hands are playing above middle C isn't just an awkward reach with the arms - you can lean in. The very fact of being mobile in your back, without losing alignment, acts as a massage. Also, if you are not holding yourself up only through the back, this releases the strain. These are things I've worked out for myself together with research and experimentation. I have no expertise.

#2681526 - 10/12/17 11:15 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Whizbang]  
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keystring Offline
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Canada
Originally Posted by Whizbang
Originally Posted by Eddy

My shoulders and shoulders feel relaxed to me, but I recently begin having a pain in my left upper arm right next to the shoulder.


May or may not be related, but you've got the left shrug thing going on in this video as well. Check @:20 and @0:40

It's in the same part of the music.
Some of this may be movement related rather than directly posture related. Like: how do I move off a key for a larger movement for a larger sound - can I do more of a lift from the wrists or somewhere else - where do I lift from, in what direction.

There's also a tapping left foot. How is the left side being counterbalanced - by the right foot, or by tensing that side of the body, or something else? I'd experiment.

#2681538 - 10/12/17 11:58 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 445
cmb13 Online content
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cmb13  Online Content
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Florida
Sounded like Autumn Leaves, then Misty, but not quite standard versions. I play both those songs. I no expert, but I agree the second video looked better, the first looked too high to me.


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#2681574 - 10/12/17 03:13 PM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
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JohnSprung Online content
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JohnSprung  Online Content
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Tension is the wild card, because it doesn't show up on video. What does show on the video looks fine. The second take, with less curvature of your upper back, is better.

How much time do you spend at the keyboard? Do you work regular hotel/bar/restaurant gigs?


-- J.S.

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#2681733 - 10/13/17 05:43 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Whizbang]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,030
Charles Cohen Online content
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Charles Cohen  Online Content
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Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by Whizbang
. . . I can't really tell what your shoulders are doing. Speaking as someone who developed a habit along the way of keeping them tensed and lifted (from computer work), I can tell you tense shoulders are pretty bad long term. . . .



+ 1. "Long term", for me, has been about 30 years. I'm still working out postural problems from my 40's, in my 70's.

There's something else here, perhaps:

. . . Can you get your knees under the piano, and get your body closer to the keys ?

You can't lower the bench any more -- elbows (for most people) should be at, or above, the keytops. But I see you reaching forward for the keys.

This _could_ be a cause of shoulder tension.

There's a fine book:

"What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body" -- Paperback – Apr 1 2004
by Thomas Mark (and others)

It covers a lot of anatomy, and has lots of postural and playing suggestions.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2681769 - 10/13/17 08:17 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 258
Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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Iaroslav Vasiliev  Offline
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Joined: May 2016
Posts: 258
Moscow, Russia
You play very nicely, I enjoyed it, thank you.

Your posture on the second video has no marked flaws. Concerning the details of a posture, it is more a matter of a personal preferences. I like the posture of Krystian Zimerman best, and I recommend it to all tall guys, sit higher, close enough.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR7eUSFsn28

Still, watching your video, I have a very strong impression of tension somewhere in the clavicle area. I may be wrong, but the impression from a distance is very strong.

#2681771 - 10/13/17 08:18 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 258
Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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Iaroslav Vasiliev  Offline
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Posts: 258
Moscow, Russia
Btw, would anyone like to comment on the posture of Ruth Slenczynska? wink
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba50Ns2X8hs

#2681778 - 10/13/17 08:36 AM Re: Feedback on my posture [Re: Eddy]  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 125
Colin Miles Online content
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Colin Miles  Online Content
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South Wales
I would suggest you go to a good physio who will sort out whether you have any back or shoulder problems.

As for the height of the bench and how you sit, I think you should always have the hands and forearm above the keys. I seem to remember you posting previously with your elbow rather slightly crooked down - or maybe it was someone else. Also just been looking at a painting of Chopin playing where he is very much sitting such that his arms and hands are pointing down towards the key. But maybe that is somewhat exaggerated for effect.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK

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