The first thing, then, that presents itself is the position of the body when seated at the instrument. With regard to this, the pupil should be seated with his chair exactly at the middle of the keyboard, and at a medium distance, that is to say, neither too near nor too far, but so that his fingers reach and fall easily and naturally upon the white notes when he is sitting upright on the front half of the chair.
On no account should the pupil be allowed to lean back, but always be seated on the forward portion of his seat. The seat should be sufficiently raised so that the pupil’s elbows at their natural angle will be almost on a level with the keyboard, if anything just a little below it as shown in Fig. I.
FIG. 2. Showing cup-like position of the hand.
Elbows | fingers positions upon a piano keyboard
The elbows should be held closely to the body, and the wrist dropped slightly below the keys. Being thus seated, the next matter we come to is settling the position of the hand itself. This should be as follows :
- The fingers should fall arched upon the keys, the knuckles raised, the wrist just below the keyboard, and the palm of the hand forming a sort of cup as shown on this page (Fig. 2).It is a very good plan with a beginner, to make him take an apple or a ball of similar size in the palm of the hand, hold it lightly with the fingers spread out round it, and then drop it out of the palm as the hand descends upon the keyboard.
- The hand will then retain the cup-like position with the fingers spread upon the keys.(See Fig. 2.)
Perfect position of the hand upon the piano keyboard : exercises
Having thus described what I consider the perfect position of the hand, I will now proceed to explain how to exercise the fingers in order to retain that position, and make it become a habit. This will be arrived at by practicing in the following manner:
- Press the fingers down well arched on to five consecutive white notes, and hold them down altogether.
- Then lift each finger in turn, holding the others down meanwhile, and strike the key with the lifted finger, taking great care all the time that the hand is perfectly supple and relaxed, and that nothing is stiffed
This exercise, done every day for five minutes by each hand separately, will soon give the fingers and hands a perfectly easy and natural position upon the keyboard, and preserve the cup shape of the palm of the hand.