• Jennifer Iovanne, Piano 03.12.2009 Comments Off on Picture-Perfect Posture: Piano

    Ah, nothing like alliteration to kick things off!  In this article, we’ll be discussing the ins and outs of posture and its role in piano lessons.  It’s often overlooked, and for good reason: it’s just not that exciting.  But it is important and plays a vital role in playing comfortably and effectively through the years, so it’s best to learn and apply these techniques early on.

    • Don’t sit too close to the piano.  I see this all the time – students nearly hover over the keys.  Sit in the center front area of the piano bench, and scoot the seat back until legs are at a 90 degree angle with the floor.
    • Relax!  Relax your shoulders, your jaw, your neck.
    • Keep hands loosely rounded, not flat.  Imagine a small tennis ball is underneath each palm.
    • Keep wrists off the piano – keep them relaxed, but don’t let wrists droop.  This causes unnecessary tension in the hand and usually causes us to play with flat fingers.
    • Sit tall, but comfortably so.  Office chairs often have special ergonomic features to prevent unnecessary strain for this reason.  When sitting at the piano, keep your back straight and neck tall but remember to stay loose and relaxed as well.

    For most of us, this posture won’t begin feel natural and normal for some time.  That’s okay – just remember to pay attention to it each time you practice, and before long it will become second nature.  The benefits?  You’ll avoid unnecessary strain, and you’ll gain better control over the keys, helping you develop as a stronger, more effective musician!

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  • Jennifer Iovanne, Singers, Voice 03.12.2009 Comments Off on Picture-Perfect Posture: Voice

    If you’re in voice lessons, you’ve probably had your teacher lead you through some stretches, tell you to keep your knees relaxed, etc.  Ever wonder why?  Body positioning plays a significant role in producing a strain-free, natural sound.

    Over the course of the day – especially if we’re spending long hours sitting at a desk! – the shoulders and neck tend to hold tension and the breath tends to be shallow.  Releasing unnecessary tension and relaxing the breath are paramount to developing a richer sound.  Here are a few specific posture-related pointers to focus on:

    • Feet should be around shoulder-length apart, ideally with one foot a bit further forward than the other – this helps “root” you to the ground.  Avoid slouching.  Keep weight evenly distributed.
    • Knees should be loose, not locked!
    • Hands ought to rest at your sides – avoid crossing arms, putting hands on hips, etc.
    • Shoulders should be relaxed and back — think of standing tall with chest open, but not in a forced, strained manner.
    • Keep chin roughly parallel to ground – don’t raise your chin to hit high notes, it creates strain!

    It’s worthwhile to take a few minutes before singing to check your posture — it will make a difference!

    ~ Jennifer Iovanne