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Using a Stuffed Toy as a Posture Check Tool for Piano Students

A small red lobster toy sitting on a piano.

Maintaining proper piano posture is essential for developing good technique and preventing injuries. A small stuffed toy can be a fun and engaging tool for helping young piano students check their posture. This instructional guide will explain how to utilize the toy to ensure correct shoulder position, arm alignment, and finger curvature.

Materials Needed:

1. A small stuffed toy (preferably one with a soft and flexible body)

2. A piano or keyboard

3. A comfortable piano bench or chair


1. Choose the Right Toy:

- Select a small stuffed toy that can be easily placed on the palm of the student's hand.

- The toy should be soft and flexible to comfortably fit into the hand.

2. Shoulder Check:

- Instruct the student to sit comfortably at the piano with their back straight and shoulders relaxed.

- Place the stuffed toy on the student's shoulder to check shoulder tension.

- It’s helpful (and fun) to have the toy “narrate” what it thinks of how relaxed or tense the child’s shoulder is, using positive phrases when relaxed and acting “scared” when the shoulders are tense.

A small Red Lobster toy sitting on the shoulder of a girl with red hair sitting at a piano.

3. Arm Alignment:

- Ask the student to place their hands on the piano keys in the playing position.

- Position the stuffed toy on their forearm.

- Ensure the student's arms are parallel to the floor, indicating proper bench height and preventing strain on the wrists and arms.

- Toy narration can include the fact that the toy is afraid of sliding on the forearm. Sliding would indicate that the student is sitting too high or too low.

- Adjust the chair or bench accordingly, raising or lowering it or adding cushions. If using an electric piano, you may also be able to adjust the piano stand to ensure the child is at the best height for playing comfortably.

4. Finger Curvature:

- Encourage the student to maintain rounded fingers while playing.

- The stuffed toy should comfortably nestle under the curved shape of the fingers, indicating correct finger posture.

- Remind the student to avoid flattening their fingers or collapsing their knuckles, which can lead to poor technique and tension - and squish their posture buddy!

5. Practice and Reinforcement:

- Incorporate the use of the stuffed toy into the student's regular practice routine.

- Encourage the student to check their posture periodically during practice sessions.

- Offer positive reinforcement when the student demonstrates correct posture with the help of the toy.

Using a small stuffed toy as a posture check tool can make learning proper piano technique fun and interactive for young students. By incorporating this tool into their practice routine, students can develop better posture awareness, leading to improved playing technique and overall musical performance.

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