How To Relax At The Piano

How To Relax At The Piano

Piano keyboard
In this fast-paced world of ours, it is easy to tense up. Tenseness can cause fatigue or discomfort, especially when playing piano. I thought about this and how to help my piano students, although anyone could benefit from learning to relax. Here are some hints on how to expel tension.









Deep breathing

Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose while expanding the abdomen. Exhale slowly through your mouth.

Conscious relaxation of whole body

Starting at the toes, tense and relax that set of muscles. Move to each body area in turn, the calves, then upper legs, etc.


Roll those shoulders

Roll shoulders in circles, loosening up the arm joint.

Hang loose

Bend forward, let arms hang loose – let gravity take over – feel the weight of the arm.



Puppy dog

Hold up both hands while wrists are bent upwards. Let hands flop down, lift up. Let fall again. Repeat. This also feels like bouncing on a bed.

Floppy doll

While sitting down (away from the piano), lift both arms up, then let them drop weightlessly ending with hands in lap. Make sure that the shoulder/arm joint is loose. You can also do this with the arms stretched out in front of you.

Get ready

Sit at piano. Place both hands in piano posture on keyboard. Relax sand release the arm weight.

Five-finger exercises

While concentrating on keeping a loose wrist and relaxed arm, play the C-5 finger scale.

Weigh that arm

Sit on a chair with armrests. Let arm hang down over the side from the elbow – feel the weight of the arm. Lift up the arm and drop again. Arm should feel heavy. Think consciously about using arm weight to play instead of pushing at the keys with the fingers.

Puppet on a string

Pretend your arms are controlled by a puppeteer – the strings are holding them up! String is cut and arm falls down.

Meditate while playing

Think about how a scale, a chord or a particular passage feels when you play it.

Slowly does it

Don’t rush into practicing or playing. Breathe, think about what’s coming. Practice slowly, speed up when you feel comfortable. Slow down when you start tensing up.

Have a break!

Break up your practice sessions, also your pieces, so that you can focus on maintaining that relaxed posture. Do another activity and then come back.

Painting a picture in your mind

While lying down and relaxing, see how you play your piece in your mind – think how your fingers and arms move.

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