Join Gayle Kowalchyk for an in-depth discussion in this video Seating position and proper hand technique, part of Piano Lessons: Teach Yourself to Play.
- Your posture at the piano is very important. When you sit at the piano, make sure your bench faces the piano squarely. Your knees should be slightly under the keyboard and your feet should be flat on the floor. You can put your right foot slightly forward or you can do what I do. I put mine on the pedal and just rest it there. Sit up nice and tall and let your elbows hang loosely from your shoulder.
Your fingers are numbered to help you when you play and for reference. Your thumb is your first finger and then they're numbered consecutively from there. Two, three, four and five. It's important to keep your fingers curved when you're playing the piano. When your fingers are straight, each one is a different length. By curving them we, in essence, make each finger the same length. Curving the fingers also does something else that's important, it keeps your thumb in position.
With your fingers curved, you'll be able to pass your thumb underneath the rest of your fingers. (piano music) Also, be sure to keep your joints firm so that they don't collapse like this but stay rounded. One thing that will help you do that is to keep your fingernails short. When your fingernails are long, it's very difficult to have a curved hand position.
When you play a key on the piano, a hammer inside touches the string. You can control how loud or how soft you play by how you use the weight of your arm. Dynamic markings are used in music to indicate how loudly or softly you should play. f is forte and we use Italian words for our dynamic signs. Forte means to play loudly, like this. I'm going to use more weight to do this.
(piano music) Mf is mezzo forte and this means moderately loud. Your arm will be a little lighter for this. (piano music) And finally, there's p for piano, which means to play softly. Your hand will feel light on the keyboard. (piano music)
- Practicing proper hand technique
- Practicing proper seating position
- Practicing the right-hand C and left-hand C positions
- Melodic intervals
- Harmonic intervals
- B for the left and right hand
- A for the left hand
- Using the damper pedal
- Moving up and down the keyboard in 6ths
- Measuring half steps and whole steps
- Progressions and triplets