How do you relax your shoulders while you're playing? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I know you have to have firm hands when you plays, but how do your shoulders relax while your hands are solid?

-- Zach Morison (, July 03, 2001


Actually, only your fingertips should be firm (solid). Your wrists should be flexible. I tell my students, "Fingertips like iron, wrists like butter). If you don't relax your wrists, you'll feel a lot of tension in your forearms.

As for relaxing the shoulders, the 1st thing you need to do is check that you're sitting at the proper height. When seated at the piano with your hands resting on the keys, your forearms & wrists should be level with the keyboard. If your elbows are low & your wrists drop below keyboard level, then you're sitting too low. Also, check that you're not sitting too close or too far back from the keys. While seated on the FRONT part of the piano bench, with your torso leaning forward ever so slightly & your upper back straight & aligned with your head (pretend you're a puppet & that your head is being held up by a string), you should be able to comfortably reach all the keys. If you feel "scrunched up," you're sitting too close. If you have to lean too far forward to play, you're sitting too far back. I believe that if your posture is correct & you're sitting at the proper height, your shoulders are most likely going to be relaxed.

If you're still having problems, I'd suggest you purchase the "Freeing the Caged Bird" video by Barbara Lister-Sink. She teaches you how to relax your body so that tension does not build up & you don't get fatigued.

Hope this helps.

-- Music Educator (, July 23, 2001.

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