They say you have to play the piano without any static muscle tension. At the same time, to reach the freedom of movement your elbows should be a little bit in front of you. I have a sitting posture with by elbows and forearms looking smooth like this: Stick-figure drawing with elbows just in front of body

But in this position, the tension on the front delt of the shoulder is already present, since there's a small angle between the elbow and the body, although it is minumum and hard to notice. However, once I reach the black keys, which are sligthy far away, the angle between the elbow and the body increases, which creates noticeble tension in my front delts - that causes me to lean forward sometimes.

Is that normal, or am I sitting incorrectly?

  • I suggest you experiment with various ways of being less static in general. You can shift your weight in many ways while you play, e.g. forward-back, side to side, circle, figure 8, etc., etc. The most effective way to do this is in combination with expressiveness in conjunction with your thoughts about the phrasing (including playing with note duration, dynamics, voicing, etc.). Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


Leaning forward is both normal and even encouraged, at least by some teachers. I always play with a slight forward lean, even for the white keys, because it gives my elbows a bit more play if I need to reach inward toward or across my body.

For me, the most comfortable sitting position is to have the bench a bit away from the piano, sit toward the front edge of the bench, feet flat on the floor for support, and a very slight forward lean so that my upper arms hang free from shoulder to elbow. Keeping some weight in my feet helps ensure I'm not overusing my back for support; it also makes it easier/better supported to lean side to side when necessary.

One source of tension in the delts can be a combination of lifting the arms to release the keys and keeping the elbows stiff. Releasing keys should be little more than relaxing the palms of the hands; the up-pressure of the key action, in the presence of relaxed hand pressure, will at least partially release. Allowing the elbow and shoulder to follow the key upward (a body movement of millimeters), will produce a full release.

  • 1
    Interestingly enough, that's usually the best posture for almost any instrument (and, actually, for almost anything). While, as always, there are exceptions, good posture requires that the weight is evenly distributed on the back and the feet. That is very important and useful for many reasons. For example, it easens fatigue on legs and feet muscles and tendons on drumset's pedals, and it also usually allows more speed and responsiveness due to the nature of the resulting involved muscles. 90% of the times it's better to lean forward (with the seat a bit away) than sit backwards. Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 3:56

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