Piano Benches And Stools

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Piano Benches

Many new piano owners invest in or receive a piano as a gift, but it’s missing an important element: the piano bench!

Piano teachers need benches that fit the wide range of students they have and themselves, comfortably.  Sometimes teachers want both a piano bench AND a piano stool for the best options of seating each piano player.

Just as serious, professionals who have invested in a grand piano might need to upgrade their bench so that it matches a new performance space or customize their benches to match their piano legs and finishes.

The more you play the piano, regardless of ability, the more you will learn to pay attention to the nuances between different benches. Having infinite control over your position in front of the piano is essential. Being able to move the seat ever so slightly up or down can alleviate wrist discomfort. Sitting on a duet bench, long enough for two, can give you room to glide an inch or two in either direction as you extend yourself to the ends of your instrument.

Why Your Piano Bench Matters

Having a good piano bench ensures you enjoy the time you spend sitting at your instrument. No matter your ability, the right bench should provide the cushion, storage compartment, or height adjustment you need. Whether you practice for 30 minutes every day or 5 hours every day, you should choose a piano bench based on the following factors:

Piano Type

If you have a grand piano, you need a grand piano bench. Grand piano benches differ in height from upright piano benches. Generally, grand piano benches are 33-36 inches wide, proportionate to your instrument. Don’t invest in a piano bench that is too small for your instrument or you will not only have a disproportionately small bench, but you will not sit in the right position, causing problems with your wrists, fingers, and sound.  In the United States, grand pianos often come with artist benches, which many believe is the best piano bench type as it adjusts for ergonomic positioning of each player.

Similarly, the design and sturdiness of your piano stool will play a significant role in the load it is able to bear, and how much it moves while you play. A well-designed piano bench made of solid wood provides a sturdier base and disperses the load of one or two adults without causing the bench to wobble while you play. A poorly designed bench may not be able to sufficiently support you while you play, and you will feel noticeable movements forward and backward or side-to-side as your body slides along the piano bench and up and down the keyboard.

Piano Benches with Upholstered Tops

Whether you are a professional pianist or a beginner, with a Steinway in a concert hall or a Yamaha keyboard in your closet, consider the level of cushion you need. Aesthetically, a solid wood bench can blend in seamlessly with your interior, especially if you have an antique wooden upright or grand piano.  But upholstered tops integrate wood rimmed upholstered and cushioned seats which can be quite beautiful, particularly our fabric tops which you can choose colors of upholstery fabric.
Consider the types of chairs you prefer when working, pick something that you feel comfortable sitting on for a few hours at a time.   Leather upholstered benches breath differently than a velour pillow top bench would.  Faux leather, or vinyl, upholstery is an upholstery grade product so it has a soft but supported feel and stands up to years of constant use while staying comfortable.
Another great way to think of it: Do you like to ride a bike with no padding for hours at a time? If not, then a wooden bench with no support will certainly not suffice for professionals who dedicate hours at a time.
You can invest in a customized genuine leather or faux leather seat for your wood bench so that the wood legs still stand out against the upholstered piano bench top. As is the case with the image below: 
A stool and piano can be crafted to match the interior decor of your music room, living room, or classroom.
Be cognizant of the added height a cushion might add to your seat, especially if you do not have an adjustable artist piano bench. If you are already hard-pressed to fit, adding even an inch or two can compromise your comfort, your posture, and your fingering. In these circumstances, it might be time to invest in adjustable benches that come equipped with genuine leather cushions.

Storage Space

Storage space will become increasingly important the longer you play. Unless you are a professional with a dedicated music closet or cabinet, the storage space built into your adjustable piano bench or duet piano bench will be essential. Even as a beginner you will find that your sheet music will likely overflow within a year or two.
Check that the hinges work well, that the lid opens and closes properly, and that the legs are strong enough to support the added weight. Many wood, digital piano, or Yamaha keyboard bench options on the cheaper end of the scale will have noticeably weaker legs which, as they move downward to the ground, get smaller and thinner. This is the exact opposite of what you want for sturdy storage benches, especially for those who store a great deal of music.

Keyboard Bench

If you have a Yamaha keyboard or any other type, your investment deserves an equally discreet piano bench. You can opt for a keyboard bench, big enough for 1 or 2 people which can be adjusted for height to some degree but is typically a collapsible design with legs crossing in the middle, rather than four legs on the respective corners. This, much like any folding chair, lets you pack it away with the keyboard if necessary.
Alternatively, a piano stool is ideal for someone who plays alone and doesn’t need seating for two, but certainly needs something that takes up as little space as possible.

Artist Bench

An adjustable artist bench typically comes with a vinyl or leather upholstered top.  Some artist bench models do have a hidden storage compartment for sheet music storage. The Standard Size Artist Bench is an adjustable piano bench that conveniently fits one person. The adjustable height on this stool is an ideal solution for anyone who is short or tall; standard one-size-fits-all piano benches can compromise comfort and form, especially for people who are not average height. As a teacher or someone who regularly plays in a duet, there are duet sized artist benches long enough to support two people.

Wooden Piano Benches

A solid wood bench has the same 4 cornered legs and solid wood construction for the body. You will find a storage space inside for music. A beginning and intermediate musician can benefit greatly from the wooden design in that it forces good posture while at the piano. Piano teachers can utilize a wooden duet bench for piano lessons easily, ensuring the bench is not so comfortable that students relax and compromise form. Intermediate pianists can similarly benefit from the stability of a wood piano bench and keep loose sheet music in the storage compartment, out of sight when not practicing.

Piano Chair or Stool

Smaller options include a piano chair or adjustable piano stool. A piano stool can have a leather seat or cushion as well but are only meant for one person. These cushions make it look more comfortable and can ensure proper posture, but the back can interfere with the projection of your music. Benches, without a back, will not. A piano stool or piano chair can be a useful investment for those who play other instruments too, like the upright bass or cello and need a versatile tool for all occasions.
Whichever you pick, make sure it is a good fit for you. Your piano and your music are investments, and so, too, should your piano bench or chair be.
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