I must confess that I used to think the same… until I started to teach! During the past few years I have come across many cases of pedal-related tension and pain – most of them caused by an incorrect pedaling technique.
‘Why does this happen‘, you might ask, ‘when the physical side of pedaling seems so easy‘?
The thing is that we all learn differently. Some piano beginners use the pedal correctly without even thinking about it (they go by instinct, and they happen to get it right) – while others make little unconscious mistakes that can result in fatigue and even ankle RSI (repetitive strain injury).
Unfortunately, if left ‘untreated’, this little imbalance can cause BIG problems – affecting your entire practice. After all, who can focus on sound quality, expressive effects (or even basic arm/finger techniques) when each pedaling movement is ‘accompanied’ by unpleasant sensations?
The solution? Awareness! You just need to keep in mind a few simple (yet very efficient) bio-mechanic principles – which you can learn by watching the video below!
How to Use the Sustain Pedal Correctly:
The Bio-Mechanics of a Healthy Piano Pedaling Technique.
01:16. Correct posture and distance from the piano. Keeping a 90 degree (or slightly obtuse) angle in your knee.
01:46. Keeping the heel on the ground as you press and release the pedal. Placing the ball of your foot on the widest part of the pedal.
02:15. The muscles involves in pedaling. Pressing/releasing the pedal correctly, without extra tension. Forming a healthy pedaling habit.
03:40. Avoiding abrupt movements and noise as you use the pedal.
04:08. The pedal mechanism can be adjusted (by your tuner!).
04:30. What to do if you experience fatigue, tension or pain in your leg/ankle/foot during pedaling. The three main causes of discomfort and pain.
08:21. Conclusion. All the techniques we use while playing should serve our expressive goals!
Using the Piano Pedals – The Art Behind the Mechanism.
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May your pedaling always feel good ,