Piano Keyboard Height and How It is Measured

A piano keyboard height measured from the floor to the top of the white keys will approximate 28 1/2 inches.  This is typically well adjusted for the average adult player.

Children learning to play may have difficulty adjusting to the height and therefore are advised to use a cushion to raise themselves to the proper height.
The proper piano keyboard height will be indicated by the displacement of the forearm and arm of the piano player.  Essentially the forearm must be perpendicular to the piano and the arm must be parallel to the piano in other words the the arm and forearm must be at 90 degrees when the hands are resting on the piano. The wrist and forearm must always always form a straight line.

If proper placement of the arm and forearm is not achieved then there is the potential for muscle spasms not only in the arm and forearm but also the fingers and could lead to severe and chronic pain.

The distance that a student sits from a piano should allow free movement of the arm and fingers but not to the extent that one’s shoulders are forced upwards during play.

Most teachers teach children the C scale because it is the easiest to learn. Teachers tend to focus on the child’s ability to learn by introducing scales that are easy from the perspective of the child’s intellectual capacity at that time.

However, this is one of the most difficult scales to learn physically because the nature of the scale does not lend itself well to the physical movement of the fingers on the piano because none of the black notes are involved.

It would be much easier for teachers to allow the student to learn other scales such as the B scale. This is less demanding physically than learning the C scale albeit it is intellectually demanding. Is a well-known fact that digital pianos and electronic keyboards contribute more to finger stress and damage than a natural acoustic piano.

Although it doesn’t seem to be intuitive it can be explained in this manner. When playing an acoustic piano striking the keys harder will result in a louder sound. Unlike the acoustic piano striking the keys on a digital piano does not result in a larger volume. But while playing a digital piano in the heat of the moment one will instinctively attempt to strike the keys harder in an effort to play louder.

This action will result in the fingers being much stiffer which can lead to eventual stress and pain in the fingers. As a musician one must be cautious and aware of this phenomenon.

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  1. Neil  - November 2, 2009 - 5:39 am

    Thank you. Helpful.

  2. Alan  - March 8, 2010 - 2:15 pm

    The comments about digital pianos and keyboard synths being responsible for more injuries is somewhat inaccurate since the vast majority of serious electronic instruments *do* have pressure and/or velocity-sensitive keys. Therefore they do vary volume with key pressure and velocity.

  3. Miles  - August 23, 2010 - 1:28 am

    ..but sadly, some of the electronic keyboards do not have the “concert touch”, or weighted keys, as with the acoustic piano, in which the portion of this discussion above is based from. I can testify on experience from playing a CASIO keyboard that does have velocity sensitive keys for dynamics, but no “weighted keys” to simulate the touch of an acoustic piano. Thus, when I transfer TO the acoustic piano, I have to “re-educate” myself to learn the piano over again just by the touch.

  4. Ross LaPorte  - March 11, 2012 - 8:20 am

    In your article, you stated that most teachers teach biginners the C scale since it is the simplest but the B scale would be easier (albeit) more challenging. Not really if you teach students differently. Most of us refer to the scale as Do,Ra,Me,Fa,Sol,La,Ti,Do. A better was to teach it is: Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half. What do I mean by that? Well between the first and second note of a scale (ANY SCALE) is a Whole step. Likewise, between the second and third note is a Whole step. But between the third and forth notes is only a Half step. Then, four to five -five to six – and six to seven are all Whole steps. Finally, between seven and eight is again only a Half step. Therefore: Whole,Whole,Half,Whole,Whole,Whole,Half. Using this technique you can easily play a scale in any key flawlessly. Not only the B scale but even the C-Sharp and G-Flat scales. Try it, you’ll like it. I’m not a good typist so please excuse any “typos”.

  5. Dan  - March 11, 2012 - 10:49 am

    Thanks for your comment. Yes I studied classical piano and theory for 11 years. But don’t have a lot of teaching experience. So your comments are well appreciated.

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