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I also have been fascinated by this topic. Many of the jazz greats are blind e.g. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles or partially sighted e.g. Art Tatum.
My piano teacher taught me how to play "blind" by what he calls the GPS system: using the black notes as the starting point, and then feeling around. I found it slow-going for the first week. In the second week I really could play all my scales and pieces without looking down.

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Originally Posted by Ridicolosamente


Also, I find this conversation about looking at one's "hands" fascinating. I look at the keyboard/keys, not my hands. Am I the only one, or is "looking at one's hands" just a figure of speech for "looking down"?

-Daniel

Same here. I look at my hands if I am playing an exercise and trying to correct wrong motions. When practicing a memorized piece I look at the keys.

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Originally Posted by Ridicolosamente

Also, I find this conversation about looking at one's "hands" fascinating. I look at the keyboard/keys, not my hands. Am I the only one, or is "looking at one's hands" just a figure of speech for "looking down"?

I'd say you look at both. You don't look at any random keys. You look at the keys where your fingers are going to land next but you also look at the finger as it lands on the key. I don't think you can separate key-vision from finger-vision. They are coupled, as in key-finger. Our memory of chords is partly a memory of the shape the hand makes as it grabs a particular cluster of keys.


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[/quote]I have a feeling that your teacher's issue is not so much with the looking at hands per se, but the related issue that you are not reading enough. If you always memorise very quickly and never revisit the printed page you probably aren't doing enough reading practice, from her point of view. I doubt that the teacher is only bothered by it because she doesn't memorise so readily, but rather she wishes you to develop all the necessary skills to a high level - reading included. [/quote]



Very good replies from everybody. Currawong I feel your reply is probably what I was looking for though, thanks. I agree, I do need more reading practice.

This is a funny story to share. My teacher is strictly classical background, she does teach pop tunes to her younger students to play at recitals. I let her borrow a Keith Jarrett Trio CD. I asked her what did she think. As you know Keith Jarrett stands up, bends over and under, dancing while he plays. She told me, "I like his playing and he is very good, but he has Bad Manners while playing the piano." She was mainly talking about his standing up and stuff.

I thought that was so funny because if you knew her, she is from a very formal classical background. She could not watch the whole CD due to his Bad Manners at the piano. LOL.

Thanks again to all. I will develop stronger reading habits in the future and still look at my hands from time to time.


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One hour sight-reading a day is invaluable. I think you will notice an improvement even after a week. You will be more confident taking up new pieces because they will not be as onerous to learn.

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My teachers have always said that the problem isn't looking at your hands when you play; it's when you CAN'T play WITHOUT looking at your hands. They have said much the same thing for memorization: it's not a problem unless you can't play without it.


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Aliwally, this is just me but . . . if my piano teacher said she couldn't listen to Keith Jarrett because of his manners at the piano I would get a new piano teacher. There is some lines you just don't cross, and refusing to listen to one of the best pianists all time because of how he looks is one of them.

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Originally Posted by edt
Aliwally, this is just me but . . . if my piano teacher said she couldn't listen to Keith Jarrett because of his manners at the piano I would get a new piano teacher. There is some lines you just don't cross, and refusing to listen to one of the best pianists all time because of how he looks is one of them.


Isn't it a bit extreme saying that you would get a new piano teacher if your piano teacher doesn't like watching/listening to Keith Jarrett? What does her aversion to Jarrett's performance style have to do with her skills as a teacher?

You know the old adage : "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!"

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by edt
Aliwally, this is just me but . . . if my piano teacher said she couldn't listen to Keith Jarrett because of his manners at the piano I would get a new piano teacher. There is some lines you just don't cross, and refusing to listen to one of the best pianists all time because of how he looks is one of them.


Isn't it a bit extreme saying that you would get a new piano teacher if your piano teacher doesn't like watching/listening to Keith Jarrett? What does her aversion to Jarrett's performance style have to do with her skills as a teacher?

You know the old adage : "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!"

Regards,


Good point. I can't stand Glenn Gould, for the most part, but my taste hasn't affected my abilities.
By the way, in reference to the post he's quoting...I've never WATCHED a CD before. Am I missing something?



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Originally Posted by BruceD


Isn't it a bit extreme saying that you would get a new piano teacher if your piano teacher doesn't like watching/listening to Keith Jarrett? What does her aversion to Jarrett's performance style have to do with her skills as a teacher?


Sure! Finding the right piano teacher is like getting married. You'll never find the perfect match, but you don't get hitched to the first person who says "yes". You try to find someone who is a good fit for you.

A friend of mine quit playing piano entirely because his piano teacher forced him to use flash cards for sight reading skills and he couldn't do it. She was a great teacher, but just not a good fit for him and when I asked him about it he thought that every piano teacher used flash cards, and when I pressed him to find another teacher he said that he didn't have the natural talent to play.

Of course I would drop a teacher and find a better fit. Nothing against the teacher! Just saying, if she refused to listen to Keith Jarrett because of the way Jarrett played the piano I would drop her like a hot potato because it would just be such a terrible fit.

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Alliwally - I would also encourage you to listen to currawong."She wishes you to develop all the necessary skills to a high level - reading included."

I have many students who love music and love the piano so much that they consider "reading" to be an obstacle. They think that reading music will slow down their enjoyment. This is what motivates them to memorize every measure right away.

In reality, you will have to do a lot of reading and pretty soon you will be reading much faster and then you will find yourself enjoying it.

You have to have patience and let your teacher teach you the right way. It sounds like she knows what she's doing. Stop memorizing your pieces too early. Read them first.

Good luck to you!

best wishes,
Valerie


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Originally Posted by edt
[...]
Of course I would drop a teacher and find a better fit. Nothing against the teacher! Just saying, if she refused to listen to Keith Jarrett because of the way Jarrett played the piano I would drop her like a hot potato because it would just be such a terrible fit.


A good example of inflexibility.

Regards,


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Apparently I have touched a nerve here. In college, if you can't understand your math professor, or in swimming, if your trainer swims the fly and you swim the breast, it's not a sin to get a new teacher, not because they suck, but because you'll learn more from someone that you communicate better with.

Also there's a lot of value in switching teachers. Who knows what interesting things you'll learn with someone else. Why get stuck in a rut and stay with the same teacher your whole life? Why not be inflexible and switch teachers? If your new teacher is no good you can always go back.

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Wow!!! It's not that serious about her statement about watching Keith Jarrett. It was said in a kind of amusing way, I don't think she was really that serious.

She probably was more disturbed by his singing out loud. It is not enough to get rid of my piano teacher, I respect her for the reason that she is honest about her feelings and not just saying something to please her students to keep them. I teach percussion myself and I should know when a teacher is good or bad. She personally is above reproach to be honest, she moves students as much as there talent will allow.

Instead of keeping someone in a book just to finish that book and move to the next. She will not allow me to move on to a new piece until the piece I am working on is fully understood. When I think I have that piece down she always shows me something else that need to be worked on. Believe me, I get stronger and better with each piece I learn too. So I would never get rid of her, it took me a long time to find a good one. When I tell people I only being playing for about 3 years they don't believe me, that's a good teacher.

I could already read music when I started she figured that out quick, okay, forget this book, let's go to this one, okay no need to finish that one, time to start on some pieces. Who do you like? I like Chopin, okay let's start there. No brainer.

So I respect her, I have heard many musicians talk about Keith's stage presence and singing and even some members of his band does not like the singing on stage. So there you go.



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I've noticed that I do this less the longer I play. I suppose it just gets more comfortable over time.

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