Avoid Pain With Proper Wrist & Arm Positions for Piano

Enhance Your Playing and Avoid Wrist Injury

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.