I wear shoes that are comfortable and don’t squeak. It’s always important to test your shoes to make sure you don’t get pedal squeak. It can sometimes happen depending upon the sole of the shoes. I’ve worn so many different types of shoes – even sneakers and all sorts of other footwear. I’ve even played barefoot! It’s possible to play the piano with all sorts of different types of shoes. Sometimes I see women wearing high heels and I wonder how they can negotiate the pedal!
A great deal of it comes down to what you are used to. Of course, if you’re going to be playing a concert, you want to test the shoes you’re going to be wearing and be comfortable with them. Just imagine if you practice all the time in sandals. Then you go out in a public performance wearing dress shoes and feel a dramatic difference in the feel of the pedal. This could be a real challenge! So, you have to get used to the shoes you’re going to wear in performance.
The other thing to consider is that pedals, as I’ve talked about before, are different on all pianos. So, some pedals travel a very short distance and other pedals travel quite far. Also, where they engage is different. Even the height of pedals can be different. Have you ever had the experience of going to a piano that’s on one of those spider dollies or an upright on a dolly in a school? The whole piano can be up high and you’re trying to reach the pedals at a drastic angle. This can be tough to deal with!
I’ve actually had the circumstance of playing in concerts where the piano was on one of those dollies, so the piano was higher from the floor than usual and it was uncomfortable. I was also sitting too low even with the bench in the highest position. We found a piece of ¾ inch plywood to put the bench on extending all the way underneath the pedals as well, and that solved the problem perfectly!
There are a lot of solutions to the myriad situations you find with pianos, but one thing to note is the importance of getting used to wearing a variety of shoes. It’s one less variable to worry about. Test the shoes you are planning to wear for a performance, ideally on the piano you are going to be playing on and you should be in good shape.
Thank you for a great viewer question. I hope this helps! This is Robert Estrin at LivingPianos.com – your online piano store. 949-244-3729 info@LivingPianos.com