How to Use the Sustain Pedal Correctly: The Bio-Mechanics of a Healthy Piano Pedaling Technique

How to Use the Sustain Pedal Correctly: The Bio-Mechanics of a Healthy Piano Pedaling Technique.Pressing and releasing the sustain pedal… ‘what could be easier?’, most of you would say.

I must confess that I used to think the same… until I started to teach! :o 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.

Video highlights:
00:02. Introduction.
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.
07:04. Recapitulation.
08:21. Conclusion. All the techniques we use while playing should serve our expressive goals!

Recommended tutorial:
Using the Piano Pedals – The Art Behind the Mechanism.

Do you want to take your piano skills to a whole new level of mastery? Join my Piano Coaching Program at and get instant access to many hundreds of exclusive, in-depth tutorials for ALL levels (including step-by-step courses and interactive projects) that will help you to acquire a whole new perspective on our amazing art! 8)

May your pedaling always feel good :P ;D,

P.S. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn (and now also on Pinterest!) to get instant updates, support and motivation! ;)

If you enjoyed this free online piano lesson, here are some other piano learning and practice topics you’ll like:

Developing a Brilliant Piano Technique – The Holistic Professional Approach

The life-changing benefits of learning classical music

How to avoid piano injuries | Get rid of tension and pain in your hands, arms and back

No piano? How to practice anywhere

Why I sometimes ‘stray’ from the music text in my tutorials: a holistic investigation

The secrets of efficient piano learning: how to transform your playing through immersion

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5 Responses to “How to Use the Sustain Pedal Correctly: The Bio-Mechanics of a Healthy Piano Pedaling Technique”

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  1. Lilly-Petra says:

    Dear Ilinca,
    Thank you for your efforts to make piano playing a holistic and joyful experience!
    All the best for you and your piano academy and career.


  2. Louisa says:

    Most informative thank you I seem to jerk the pedal down too soon and get a blur Om sure this will help

  3. Prasana says:

    Hi Ilinca madam,
    I enjoyed this video.The pedalling technique you have explained here is useful.I really learnt a lot of information related to Piano playing.your holistic approach for piano playing is new and useful.Thanks for sharing

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