Finding the Right Bench Height

Since we made our big upgrade, I’ve had to adjust lots of things in the studio. Today I wanted to blog about our new studio bench, and its lack of adjustability. Sorry for the randomness in this picture (yes, that’s me on the left). While this picture isn’t very well composed, it does demonstrate that I’m having a bit of a “bench problem.”

Studio in the Daytime

Studio in the Daytime

This piano was a big expense for the studio, and I’m not able to spend $500-600 on an adjustable duet bench right now. Unfortunately the bench that came with the piano is too low, even for me! Granted, I’m only 5’2″, but can you imagine a wee little 6 or 7 year old trying to play on that piano? It’s downright comical.

Bench height is really important for proper arm/wrist/hand placement… plus, if you’re too low, it’s very hard to read the music. The pillow(s) I’ve been using to prop myself and my students up just weren’t cutting it. They scooted around too much and little ones would get tipped forward if they shifted their center of gravity at all.

I hunted around on Amazon and found a stack of 12 x 12 foam mats that I thought might do the trick. There are 9 of them, so I can select how many each student needs to get to a proper height — and then I’ll probably make a little mark on their assignment binder to quickly remind myself.

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Foam Mats for Proper Bench Height

When you prop students up on the bench, it’s also helpful to have something for their dangling feet. Otherwise, legs might be prone to kicking around, and you certainly wouldn’t want any damage done to the pedal mechanism! Right now I’m using a small decorative box that just sits on my studio shelf, but in the future I’d love to buy/make something like these:

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Jonti-Craft Step Up Stool For Kids

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Guidecraft Classic Espresso Storage Step-Up

What kind of props/benches do you have in your studio? How do you deal with dangling feet? Share in the comments below!

Just in case you missed it… don’t forget to download my free Back to School Piano Assignment Sheets. They’re perfect for young piano students who need a creative way to track their practice at home. Good luck getting ready for fall lessons!

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6 Comments

  • by Caroline House Posted August 17, 2015 4:40 pm

    I made four small footstools from a piece of shelving and a 2×2. I made 4 stools, cutting the board in four pieces and two pieces of 2×2 for “legs”. I glued them then had a friend screw them for security. I glue Velcro, so when stacked, they don’t slide around. Much cheaper than bought stools. Make one stool so it can go upside down to give more flexibility. This is the second set I’ve made, and I’ve had Dads make them for use at home. They are very satisfactory.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted August 17, 2015 5:57 pm

      Caroline, what a wonderful idea! This would be a great how-to to send home for parents 🙂

  • by annafagan Posted August 17, 2015 4:44 pm

    Hi Sara! I purchased an adjustable chair last year — will only hold one person (the student), but much less expensive than a duet bench, and I LOVE it! I also purchased a pedal extender, which serves as a foot rest.
    http://www.jimlaabsmusic.com/piano-benches-chairs/frederick-adjustable-piano-chair-ebony-satin/prod_1072.html

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted August 17, 2015 5:58 pm

      Oh that’s wonderful! I never thought about an adjustable chair. The pedal extender is on my wishlist too — if only we had unlimited resources for all those wishlist items! 🙂

  • by Heidi N Posted August 17, 2015 5:50 pm

    I have a plastic storage tub with lid that holds some of my music games in the cabinet next to my piano, so it doubles as a convenient footrest for my smaller students.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted August 17, 2015 5:59 pm

      I’m a big fan of multipurpose items!

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