Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Short Feet, Piano Casters, and Pedaling Difficulties

My students have short feet! Of course, this is because most of them are 10 years old or younger! When your foot is short and your teacher insists that you keep your heel on the floor, you have to lift your toes higher than an adult does to clear the pedal fully. Add to the problem the fact that my piano sits on casters making the pedals about 2.5 inches higher off of the floor than without them. The result? Muddy pedaling and/or hoe-down pedaling (entire foot stomps up and down, like at a hoe-down).

So, to equalize things, I've been allowing some of my students to do what I used to do when I was young and played the piano at my church. I stuck a hymnal under my heel. As a lover of books, I feel a little bad allowing a student to put their foot on one, but the hymnal is usually handy, and it's just about the right thickness to compensate for the casters. If you just can't bring yourself to defile a hymnal, you could use a block of wood. After a while, feet grow longer, muscles grow stronger, and the need for the hymnal goes away. Until then, this works for me!

7 comments:

Willow said...

Nice! I thought of doing this...I have a slightly different problem, however. I am a college music education student taking piano lessons. Unfortunately, I am unable to lift my foot while keeping my heel on the ground because my joints do not allow my foot to bend upward though I have full range the other direction (it would be good for a ballet dancer, not so good for playing the piano). I have thought of using a book under my heel or simply playing with heels but was wondering if you had any other suggestions. This is something I have been trying to resolve with my professor but thought you might have some additional insight.

Laura Lowe said...

Hi, Willow - thanks for your comment! Do you have this problem with both feet or just one? If only one, you could always pedal with the other foot. If it's both, then your solutions are probably your only options, at least as far as I can imagine. Good luck. I'd be interested to know what you and your professor decide. BTW, I loved your last blog post and wanted to leave a comment, but for some reason, the comment form wouldn't work for me. :-(

Willow said...

Sadly, I have this problem with both feet. I'll be sure to let you know if I come up with anything new! And thank you...I can't imagine why it isn't working, I'll have to double-check my settings! :0)

Sherry said...

Does anyone think high heel is helpful when you pedaling the piano? the heel kind helpful when you lift the feet. also what about boots? despite they are sexy, but would it limit your leg movement?

Laura Lowe said...

Hi, Sherry,
High heels might indeed help and might be a good solution for an adult or teenager with short feet. However, most of my students who have short feet and pedaling difficulties are a little young to be wearing high heels, at least in my opinion. :-) I'm not sure my boys would be on board with that idea, either!

Sherry said...

What about boots?
does it limit your leg movement

Laura Lowe said...

Hi, Sherry, I guess it would depend on the boots. I don't often play in them. If they were stiff around the ankle, they might. Anyone else care to weigh in on pedaling with boots?