Piano Technique Checklist

Does technique ever seem overwhelming? This checklist will breakdown piano technique into fingers, wrists, forearms, elbows, and shoulders. Ensuring that your child has proper technique every time they practice will build good muscle memory and then it will become automatic.


  • You have probably heard me talk about “mountain fingers” with your child. This refers to having both the first and second knuckles popped out to form two mountains. We don’t want flat fingers!
  • Every finger should be on a key. Usually, every finger will be on a different key (although some pieces may call for the thumbs to share a key). Pay special attention to the thumb which may tend to hang off the piano.

Wrists & Forearms.

  • Wrists should be relaxed.
  • The top of the hand, wrist, and forearm should all form a flat line. You should be able to balance a pencil on top of your child’s arm. I often refer to this as “tabletop wrist.”
  • Your child may need to sit on a pillow if your bench is too low in order to achieve this.
  • I recommend never sitting on a regular chair to play piano (they are almost always too low) and over time will cause wrist pain.


  • In order to achieve “tabletop wrists,” your child will need to keep at least three inches (maybe more) in between the side of their body and their elbow.


  • Shoulders should be relaxed. If you see your child hunching their shoulders, it may be that they need to place more room between the side of their body and their elbow (see above).

Good technique is important to prevent injury, so that your child will be able to play piano for years to come!