Music Theory

Piano Technique: How to position your hand and fingers at the piano

Piano technique is very important, especially for beginners to the piano. When you play the piano it is very important to position well your hands, fingers, wrist, arm and the whole rest of your body . A correct position allows playing better, with more facility and naturalness. Besides maintaining the hand and the arm relaxed you can play the piano for many hours.
Moving the fingers in a correct way and positioning the hand and the wrist in the best way guarantees to the pianist the possibility to play very difficult songs, to be wrong a lot less. Many piano songs are impossible to be played if you do not move in the correct way the hand and the fingers.

Let us see together which is the correct position of every element of the human body that competes to the execution.
General suggestions of piano positions

  • Straight and relaxed back
  • Relaxed neck
  • To take a seat more ahead slightly in comparison to the center of the instrument
  • Elbow must be at the height of the keyboard
  • Feet must be near the pedals
  • Arm, forearm, wrist and hand have to be on the same axle to the height of the keyboard

Hand and wrist correct position at the piano for good piano technique

piano finger position

In the left photo you can see the exact position of the hand and the wrist while to the right a wrong position of the wrist and the hand is taken back. Above all children extend to the beginning to play with this incorrect position.

Correct position of the thumb at the piano

wrong position

The thumb is the most important finger of the hand. It is the center of gravity of the hand ; so it is necessary you pay much attention to the exact position of this finger. You have to play with the side part and not with the point of the finger. In the left image the thumb plays in a wrong way and causes the wrong position of the whole hand : you can see that playing with the point forces the whole hand and the wrist to get up and to lose the ideal position for the movement. To the right instead the thumb plays sideways on the key and creates the exact position of the hand. Besides the last phalanx of the thumb must slightly have folded up toward the inside.

The correct position and articulation of tyour hand at the piano

How to position correctly the hand at the piano. Looking at the video and the photos you can understand with extreme clarity which is the exact and best position of the fingers and the hand to the piano.

Articulation of the fingers


For “articulation” of the fingers I mean the complete movement of the fingers for lowering the keys on keyboard. The fingers have to be curved, folded up and they have to get up in the preceding moment to the lowering of the key. The articulation of the fingers can be compared to the movement of a hammer in its action. The exact position of the last phalanx and the fingers is very important.

The fingers have to strike the key with the point and not with the inside part of the finger-tip.

Wrong positions – hand & fingers on the piano

bad piano positionfinger-position
Here are other usual wrong positions that the pianists or students of piano have. In the example to the left you can notice the fingers in rectilinear or straight position : in this way it is not possible to have a correct articulation. To the right, instead, the index finger folds on the phalanx causing an unnatural and wrong movement of the same finger.
wrong piano articulation
Finally here is a wrong position of the finger : you can notice that it strikes the key with the inside part of the finger-tip causing a bad articulation of the finger.