You might think that buying a piano bench for kids is a piece of cake. It is not something to think hard about, and should just come as an afterthought. After all, the piano should take the entire cake …. I mean all the credit. After all, it is the most important piece of the entire ensemble, right?
Wrong. Truth is, piano players cannot perform their best if either the piano itself or the bench is not up to par. When playing the piano, good posture is important. This is possible only when the piano bench is comfortable enough for the player to play the piano. It must be of the right height, placement and the most comfortable piano bench for the student. This is especially true for small kids who need the right piano bench size for this.
Read on to learn the importance of good posture when playing the piano, as well as a buying guide when looking for the right piano for your kids.
Before giving the first piano lesson, piano teachers first make sure that both the piano and the bench are both of the right configuration to help the student achieve good posture while learning how to play. This is because the posture can affect all aspects of playing the piano.
Problems in handshape, accuracy, ability to play in an expressive manner, phrasing, and pedaling technique can all be due to improper posture, which in turn, may be because of using the wrong bench or improper bench placement. Thus, you can say that the piano bench directly impacts the overall performance of the piano player.
Fortunately, problems with posture are easy to fix – by using the right bench – from learning how to play, practicing, and performing. It should be consistent. Having said that, here are the important considerations when looking for the right piano bench for kids.
Keep these pointers in mind when testing out the right piano bench that will suit your needs. If you are buying one bench for the entire family (including adults and small children) to use, then an adjustable type of bench is necessary.
To put it simply, the proper piano bench height matters. While this is arguably one of the most important considerations, it is the most often overlooked. This is particularly in the case of piano teachers with students from various age brackets.
Ensuring that the bench is of the right height for each student can be difficult to achieve. This is because the standard piano bench height may not be suitable for all.
In the past, this problem on piano bench height was simply solved by putting a thick phone book on top of the bench for smaller or younger students. However, these days, you can barely find a thick phone book to use. So, an alternative was discovered – the interlocking foam squares that you can find in most toy stores.
These blocks are more comfortable to use than phonebooks, and more adjustable, although a lot more expensive. However, things can get uncomfortable when several blocks are needed to adjust the seat’s height for a particular student. This is where the best solution comes in – the adjustable bench. (More on this later.)
Another important factor to determine is the distance between the bench and the piano. Smaller children need to be closer to the keys than adults. Thus, the piano bench dimensions must be considered.
If the bench is a bit too far, the students may need to unnecessarily stretch their arms forward just to reach the keys. While they need to reach for the keys, with their elbows pointing slightly away from the body, they must remain bent comfortably. This is the natural playing position.
If the kid learning to play the piano is squirmy, it can be fixed by adding some cushioning. After all, sitting on a hard bench for a good half an hour can be uncomfortable for kids. And when this happens, you know that kids can express their disappointment in a lot of annoying ways.
The right way to teach students on how to reach the required high and low keys is to make them learn to play within the piece, instead of the oh-so-common butt sliding across the bench.
Especially for very young children, perching at the bench’s very end should be discouraged when they need to step on the piano pedal. Another bad habit to stop is standing just to reach the pedal. Of course, it’s perfectly alright if they’re playing The Killer – Jerry Lee Lewis. Otherwise, it’s not ok.
If a very young or small student is playing a piece that requires using the pedal, then the best solution is to install a pedal extender. This will make playing the piano a lot more comfortable and will eliminate the bad habit of perching on the edge of the bench or standing up while playing.
Parents and piano teachers must make sure that the kid learning to play must be appropriately seated on the bench. When seated too far back, not only is the posture affected. The child may also start experiencing the feeling of pins and needles in the feet.
This is the reason some children can hardly sit still while playing – their legs start to get numb after some time. The child must not sit too far back on the bench to make sure the feet are touching the ground. This way, there would not be too much of the upper legs on the bench that can cause numbing.
By addressing problems that happen under the piano, the child will be in better control over what is happening on top. Many piano student problems can be addressed by the right bench. Having said that, following are the types of piano bench available on the market.
Knowing the type of piano bench you need makes the entire selection process easier. Of course, some of the other factors like comfort, quality and personal preference should also come into play. Depending on your requirements, there are adjustable and non-adjustable units. Following are the more popular ones:
This is the type that most professional pianists prefer. The bench includes knobs at the sides that allow the pianist to adjust the seat to the desired height. This is perfect for a family of piano players that include small children. A hydraulic piano bench falls under this category.
The adjustable artist piano bench is well-padded to eliminate strain. This makes maintaining the proper posture while practicing possible. An adjustable artist piano bench usually comes with storage under the seat for piano accessories. There are leather padded benches if you need a thick and breathable seat that can complement the beauty of your piano.
You can also find elegantly-designed artist piano benches that are commonly used by professional musicians in concerts. Some adjustable models are available for duet performances and practicing. While the bench may be expensive, it is the most comfortable piano bench and the most stylish as well.
An adjustable piano stool offers a comfortable padded seat with options for height adjustment. The stool is ideal for children learning to play the instrument as it is intended for low profile seating.
The leather piano bench is also available in vinyl top. However, it may not be as comfortable to use by adults or professional pianists compared to an adjustable bench.
This type of piano bench comes in various impressive finishes to match your piano perfectly and complement its aesthetics. A wooden bench is durable, and can easily be refurbished to look brand new after many years of use.
The bench may come with either a vinyl or leather top, depending on your preference and budget. It is ideal for families with both adults and kids playing the piano. There is one big drawback to this type of bench, however – it is not adjustable. You have to make do with a fixed height, and this may affect the posture when playing.
While an upholstered piano bench is comfortable and stylish, it may not match a wooden bench when paired with a grand piano. It may still work for you if you do not consider the looks a big issue as an upholstered piano bench is comfortable for prolonged use. The price of this type of bench is more affordable than wooden and leather piano benches because the padding is either vinyl or foam, both cheaper materials.
The biggest advantage of a foldable piano bench is portability. It is easy to store and carry anywhere because of the folding feature and comparatively light weight. It is most commonly seen in stage performances and homes with limited space. This type of bench is ideal for use with digital keyboards and pianos.
Regardless of skill level, maintaining a good posture when playing the piano is important. Thus, it is vital that you choose the right piano bench as it has a big effect on a pianist’s playing posture. This is particularly true for children learning to play the piano. The more comfortable you are with your posture, the more motivated you will be in practicing.
A good piano bench may cost you between $200 and $500+. Use the tips provided in this post when looking for the best piano bench for kids.