Shoulders are very important as a part of good piano posture. First, proper shoulder position helps the pianist have more freedom to move your arms. They should be relaxed and open which allows you to breathe more easily. Emily's piano teacher calls this the ready position. You check your posture, hand position, shoulder position, arm position, feet position. Learning to have good posture and getting into posture, helps a pianist to relax, breathe, and think before they play their piece. I've seen a pianist take a small break between movements and rest, breathe, and get into ready position. They were then able to play a very difficult piece because they were relaxed and ready!
Joshua is showing proper shoulder alignment. His shoulders are down and moved back. He looks relaxed and his front line is open. His shoulders are straight and tall, but not scrunched up and he is not hunched over.
|He might be playing a song from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.|
Here he is as a hunchback playing. You can already see how this posture doesn't allow for the same freedom of movement. His lung capacity is greatly diminished!
Here is his intense move. This can cause extra tension and poor breathing! This is how I play--which causes even more mistakes then if I just relaxed my shoulders, and had proper posture.
Here are some ways that can help you get in the right position:
Move your shoulders up and down to your ears.
Draw circles with your shoulders. This helps the shoulders relax. It also helps the student find the range of motion.
You can also try and touch the shoulder blades together. This opens the front line and helps the shoulder to be open and relaxed.
A great way to think about it: straight lines: The shoulders should be a straight line. I hope this helps. Next week--its going to be about the elbows!!