how tall should a piano bench be

How tall should a piano bench be

6 minutes

You have your shiny new piano or keyboard, and you’ve been clever and purchased an adjustable piano stool (sometimes called a piano bench for absolutely no reason!) – but the big question is ‘how tall should a piano bench be’?

Well, thankfully, it’s a pretty easy question to answer.

Filmed by Pianist & Conductor Robert Emery at Abbey Road Studios, and featuring his 9ft Steinway Concert Grand Piano, this video will help you figure out how high a piano stool or piano seat should be – and get you playing the piano like a pro!

How tall should a piano bench be

Types of piano seats

Chair

You could use a chair. The famous pianist Glenn Gould used an old chair. But in all honesty, unless you have his talent and experience, which you don’t, avoid the chair – and office chairs are equally a bad idea!

Glenn Gould Piano Chair
Glenn Gould

Piano Stool or Piano bench

A stool/bench is totally the way to go for all piano players. But make sure you get an adjustable height stool. Getting a static piano bench is a little like buying a car where the seat doesn’t move to ensure you’re the correct height for driving. You’ll crash pretty soon if you can’t see out of the window.

I like this adjustable piano stool simply because it’s well build, yet very affordable (aka cheap!)

Adjustable Piano
Stool by Gear4music
Very affordable, high-quality piano bench
$ 115
/£80
  • Seat: Leatherette top provides hours of comfort
  • Colours: Matte black or premium white finish
8/10
The TedScore™ is our unique system of scoring products. The professional musician who wrote this article combine many things, from the product build, manufacturer's reputation through to feedback from other users, to create our famous TedScore™.
The TedScore™:  8/10

But of course, if you’re looking for something to last you a lifetime that’s unbelievably comfortable, then you really cannot get better than this Roland RPB-500.

Roland RPB-500
Piano Bench
Best piano stool on the market
$ 230
/£166
  • Key Features: Superior cushioning
  • Key Features: Hidden storage compartment
9.5/10
The TedScore™ is our unique system of scoring products. The professional musician who wrote this article combine many things, from the product build, manufacturer's reputation through to feedback from other users, to create our famous TedScore™.
The TedScore™:  9.5/10

Posture

Your posture when playing the piano will be altered by many different elements of your body working as one:

Piano Posture Diagram

Hands

Place your hands on the keyboard (it doesn’t matter if it’s a piano – the actual keys are always called a keyboard regardless of if your piano is a digital or acoustic version). Are they level with your arms? Does your write drop or is it higher than your arms? These are all signs of a bad hand position created by a wrong seat height.

Body

Having the correct posture doesn’t mean sitting with a rod up your backside! You should be comfortable sitting at the piano. Your feet should be able to touch the floor (if you are old enough) and you should be in a good natural position where your back isn’t hunched over.

Wrist

Beginners often like to flatten their wrists as it feels more comfortable. Try not to do this; your wrists should be in line with your arm. Imagine a marble being able to run down your arm, onto your hands, and down your fingers without falling off.

Arms

The arms should almost be forming a right angle. Your upper arm should fall freely from your shoulder, while your forearm should be parallel to the floor.

How to sit correctly at the piano

When sitting at the piano, you want your elbow and arm to fall freely from your shoulder. Your forearm should be parallel to the floor, and your arm should be at an angle slightly more than a right angle. Adjust your seat to make this happen.

Beginners tend to slump at the piano as it feels more comfortable. While you might prefer this at first, it will hinder your piano playing in the long run. Try your best to keep yourself in the correct position. Your good posture will pay off in the end

Piano Bench Height

The average piano bench is somewhere between 18″ to 22″ in height. Some stools even go as far as 24″ when fully extended. Many are around 30″ wide, which is plenty big enough for people of various sizes.

As you adjust your bench height, there’s a good chance that it might be too short. I find that younger students run into this issue a lot and need some help to get into the best position to play. In this case, I would add something to the bench to help prop them up; a book or even soft padding or pillows work just fine.

Where To Sit On A Piano Bench

The distance you sit away from the piano is an essential part of making all of this work. You could be sitting at the perfect height and still be too close to the keyboard. A good indicator of being too close is when your shoulders feel shrugged, and your elbows appear contracted.

When the distance from the keyboard is too large, you’ll experience the inability to move around freely. This affects not only your finger speed but also your note accuracy and things relating to tension. I’ve had many students think that if they sit high enough on the bench and get close, it’ll cure all of their problems. What they haven’t figured out is that they are creating more.

With this in mind, make sure you’re sitting on the front half of your seat so that you can move your torso – but back enough to feel stable and not wobbly! Your elbows should be slightly in front of your body when your hands are on the keys.

Sit far enough forward on your seat that you can move your hips, but not so far forward that you’re falling off. Be both flexible and stable.

where to sit on a piano stool

How tall should a piano bench be
Summary

Many pianists don’t realise how important this topic is.  As you perform, it’s a good idea to experiment. Your forearm, elbow, and wrists should feel as relaxed as possible. This helps you achieve a good sound as opposed to being tense in your playing.

At the beginning of every lesson and practice session, adjust your piano bench to be the best height for playing and the best distance from the piano.

You’ll eventually find a position that just ‘works’ – all piano players do. Keep on adjusting little by little until you find that magical position.

If you have any questions, make sure you ask them in the comment box below.

Now go and buy that adjustable stool!

FAQ's

What height should a piano bench be?

The piano bench height you’ll need is determined by your height, body shape, and skill. Read a dedicated article to find out how to figure out how tall a piano bench should be.

What should I look for in a piano bench?

You should get an adjustable bench. Piano benches come in all shapes and sizes, and these days, most standard piano benches are height adjustable.

Where do you place a piano bench?

The placement of a standard height adjustable bench is depending on your body shape and size. Read a more in depth article to figure out the exact position needed.

How should you sit on a piano?

Correct posture is very important for a pianist. You’ll need to figure out the proper height of your piano stool. Most people playing the piano rely on an adjustable one to get the exact height they need.

How High Should I Sit At The Piano?

Playing the piano is a very personal thing, and most piano players sit differently at the keyboard. The important thing is to get the correct height of the stool to make sure you have the correct posture.

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