Proper Wrist & Arm Positioning for Piano
At the piano, you want to be relaxed, but in control. If you start to feel muscle tension, take a few minutes to stretch it away. This can increase stamina in the upper body, and help prevent piano-related wrist strain and muscle aches.
Be conscious of the following arm, wrist, and hand positions during play:
1. Hands & Fingers
Hands should make a slight arch, between “cupped” and straight.
During normal play, you want to touch the piano keys with the top 1/3 of your fingerprints. For heavy dynamics or staccato, increase the arch while keeping wrists straight.
Keep 1st knuckes from bending.
The first knuckle – closest to your fingernail – should not bend backwards while striking the keys.
Don’t bend your wrists.
Keep wrists and forearms aligned with one another. Refrain from leaning your hand towards the thumb or pinky; or bending your wrist up and down.
2. Arms & Shoulders
Upper arms should appear to be almost vertical.
Your elbow should be 1/2 inch to an inch closer to the instrument than your shoulders.
Keep forearms parallel with the floor during soft and slow music.
For animated or dynamic songs, elbows can be a bit higher than your fingertips.
Keep shoulders relaxed.
To loosen-up shoulders, let your upper body go limp for a few seconds; then without too much force, bring your shoulders back until you find a straight, but flexible, posture.
3. Back & Neck
Keep back comfortably straight.
If your forearms are not parallel with the floor, adjust the height of your seat until they are; never slouch.
Pay no attention to the back rest.
If your chair or piano bench has a back rest, admire its uniqueness, but ignore it during play (learn How to Sit at the Piano).
Keep sheet music eye-level to prevent neck pain.
That new song may be a pain in the neck to learn, but keep it figurative.