correct hand technique piano

Technique is an important part of developing a healthy and safe musicianship. Learning for fun does not mean you can get away with poor technique; in fact, it is less fun if your technique is not up to scratch as you simply cannot play things that would otherwise be within your grasp.
Tension and relaxation are two complementary facets of technique. Enough muscle tension needs to be used in order to hold the arm level with the keyboard, and to allow the weight of the arm to press the finger into the key without collapsing the knuckles. Here’s some pictures from

The correct hand position for piano

The correct hand shape necessary for a healthy technique.

The fingers should curve slightly over the piano keys. It is also important not to bend or collapse the wrists. They should be held in a relaxed but straight and comfortable position.

Incorrect hand position for piano

A common but incorrect handshape.

These collapsed knuckles are most commonly seen on young beginners. If you notice your child with this shape, gently remind them to curve their fingers. I use pompom ‘monsters’ to remind them of this. The pompom monster lives inside a house made from their hand–if the monster is inside their hand cannot collapse without squishing the monster. If you can’t find your monster, an imaginary one is probably enough for them to remember the shape!

Correct posture for piano

The other big problem I see a lot is raised shoulders, indicating tension being held in the upper back. If you notice this, you can either remind them by saying something about dropping their shoulders, or you can tap them gently on the shoulders (with their permission of course). I don’t tap at all anymore due to covid safety, but it’s a very effective reminder without distracting from the flow of the music. 

The final point for encouraging good posture is to make sure they are sitting correctly at the keyboard. If their seat is too high or too low (more common), it will make good posture impossible, and cause many incorrect technical habits. Students need to sit high enough and far enough away from the piano so that their forearms are level with the keys. Any dipping or raising of the wrists indicates an incorrect distance or height. Knees should be just underneath the keyboard, not squished a long way under. Students should be sitting on their ‘sit bones’, and this may require a support for their feet if they are too short to reach the floor yet. Old encyclopedias are great for this! Please take some time this week to observe your child at the piano, and make sure they are following these guidelines. It will help their piano development a huge amount

Leave a Comment