A Few Alternatives To The Traditional Piano Bench

Many old fashioned experts claim that the traditional unpadded piano bench is the best way to stay seated when playing the piano. After all, it’s what they were sitting on when they learned to play piano and it’s what their teachers were sitting on as well. But just because something has been used for hundreds of years doesn’t mean it should never change.

There are several problems with the standard piano bench.

  1. The non-padded varieties are generally uncomfortable.
  2. A good, well made, and comfortable piano bench can get expensive.
  3. The design is not ergonomic at all and often leads to all sorts of lower back pain for individuals who play frequently. The problem is intensified if that person already spends a lot of time seated at a desk for work.

The good news is that there are a number of potential alternatives to the traditional piano bench. Some of these alternatives are actually seats and stools designed for playing other instruments. You won’t be able to slide from one side of the bench to the other. You also won’t be able to share the seat with a friend as you play. But that’s a small price to pay for increased comfort and less back pain.

Here are a few of the best piano bench alternatives.

Adjustable Musicians Stool With Back And Footrest

There are a variety of musicians stools on the market today, which can make the finding the right model a bit tricky. The key is to find a stool that is adjustable, features a backrest, and has an ergonomic design. The stools are traditionally built for musicians who play guitar, cello, or other instruments that need to be properly stabilized while playing.

The best musicians stools will feature more modern design aspects. Older stools were often made of wood and did not have a backrest. These stools would be little better than a piano bench in regards to comfort and lower back pain.

The footrest may not be particularly useful if playing a song that requires frequent use of the pedal. However, if you’re not making heavy use of the pedal, then the foot rest would greatly improve comfort.

Adjustable Drummer’s Throne

Once again, drummer thrones come in many different variations. Some of them feature a backrest while others do not. Many people prefer the backrest because it’s more comfortable and helps support the back. It can reduce shoulder pain, neck pain, and lower back pain. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t provide that classical drum throne appearance. But you’re likely not worried about that since you’ll be using it to play the piano.

Modern drum thrones with backrests look quite a lot like a computer chair. A major difference between the two is that there are no arm rests and no rolling wheels on the drum throne. This is important for playing piano because you want your body weight to be firmly anchored to the ground. Much of the work of playing the piano involves moving the arms, which is very difficult to do properly if your chair and body are moving as well.

One of the major benefits of a drum throne is the comfort. They are often designed with big and thick cushions on the seat. Many of them are also designed to rock slightly as you lean forward. This help with poor posture and can alleviate back pain. People who play drums face many of the same back-related problems as people who play the piano. For them, the solution often boils down to finding a high-quality drum throne.

girl siting on a kitchen stool next to the piano

Other Possibilities

There are a couple of other possibilities that should be considered. First, it may be best to invest in a modern piano bench with an ergonomic design. While it is not technically a piano bench alternative, it has the potential to relieve back pain and improve comfort. These benches are designed to have a slight incline on the seat. This makes leaning into the piano feel more natural.

Look at items you may already have at home. My daughter and I used a folding card table chair at first. It wasn’t ideal because it was a little too low for both of us. But, it got us started playing the piano and that is what was important.

Desk chairs are another idea especially if they are height adjustable. Although, I can see the constant moving of the wheels getting on my nerves.

Another alternative is the Swopper chair or any chair that has similar design features. The Swopper sways, rocks, and bounces with the body as you move it. It is designed for people who spend a significant amount of time in a seated position. The disadvantage is that your body weight is not fully anchored to the ground as it should be when playing the piano.


At the end of the day, any of these solutions may be right for you. It depends entirely on the problems you face and why exactly you need an alternative. You may need to test multiple piano bench alternatives until you find the right one.

If cost is the issue, use something you already have at home like a dining table chair or office chair. Then, you can save up for a really good piano bench that you can keep for years.

What other piano bench alternatives do you recommend? Leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments below!

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