I came back to the piano after a three decade snooze, a la Rip van Winkle. This era corresponded with my growing presbyopia, a fancy word for "aging eyes." Let me try to present the scenario--for perhaps 8 hours a day I gazed through a biocular microscope in my 'day-job' as a pathologist. The position one adopts must be relaxed and unstrained, the position is basically an erect posture with the head in neutral position and the eyes down cast. When moving to the piano, in theory and in best practice, the same position is the ideal: hands and arms roughly parallel to the ground, head neutral retaining the normal C-curve of the neck. As most who have achieved a certain age already know, the age of bifocals implies that the bottom part of the lens is a magnifier--it is used for reading and close work. This condition places the standard music rack on all pianos at a place where it is necessary to tilt one's head backwards in order to view the notes. This is the worst possible position for the neck. Therefore, I decided to do something about this and created a more physiologic music rack.
This is the desired postion for paino playing.
This is the position one adopts when using bifocal glasses or simply when the ratio of mid-body to piano height is not ideal. The head becomes tilted backward and the cervical curve is also forced backward with often serious consequences.
Here I show the standard music rack removed and the music rack I designed (fabricated from clear acrylic sheet) attached to the piano. The design is such that gravity holds the rack in position.
Here is another view of the device. There is no problem for me (or for any pianist who does not thrash about and wave her arms), for the distance between the keys and the bottom of the rack is ideal.
This is the shape of the acrylic sheet that holds the rack to the piano. I used a simple bending device that I obtained from TAP plastics (San Francisco Bay area plastics dealer). Heat labile plastics of any kind may be used. I made a cardboard model of the shape, fitting it to my piano, but, I found that it is universal and fits every piano on which I have tried it. The black plastic shape is glued to the clear rack using acrylic cement.
This is the result. The device has proven to be a real neck saver for me and many of my friends.