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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763832 09/06/18 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rickyd123
I understand all of that. I think what I was asking kind of got lost a little. I wanted some exercises or practice tips that would improve my ability to play without looking at my hands. I know I'll need to look at my hands some. I just want try to lessen it. I feel I need to look at my hands much to much.
Why not just use any pieces you are learning or sight reading? As long as the pieces are at an appropriate level I think that's how most people learn not to look at their hands all the time. If you are concerned about making too many mistakes, you could use some pieces that are slightly below the ones you are currently learning.

Since virtually all pianists, even at the most advanced level, look at their hands some of the time when playing from the score, I think it's also very important to practice the skill of finding your place after looking at your hands.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/06/18 05:56 PM.
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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: dogperson] #2763833 09/06/18 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
[...]
I’m sure you were taught not to stare at your hands; otherwise, you would not be able to play any music by reading the score. You would need to memorize everything
It is a matter of time and playing a great deal of music.


I recall one person who never got the hang of reading from a score and playing. This person would read one measure, then look down at the hands and play it; read the next measure, then look down at the hands and play it. Even when this person tried to perform a work for an audience, this was how the performance would inevitably turn out.

Regards,


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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: BruceD] #2763838 09/06/18 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
I recall one person who never got the hang of reading from a score and playing. This person would read one measure, then look down at the hands and play it; read the next measure, then look down at the hands and play it. Even when this person tried to perform a work for an audience, this was how the performance would inevitably turn out.

Regards,


Of course !

The way you practice is the way you will learn to play.


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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: Moo :)] #2763839 09/06/18 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I don’t think so.

I think I look at my hands quite a lot.

In any case I think the skill is learning to jump from music to hands and to music without getting lost.

I am not an expert at all.

Is there any piano teachers that can advise?


Watch this eye tracking video.... and the difference between the student and professional musician

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GVvY8KfXXgE


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763858 09/06/18 09:16 PM
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I would actually talk on a more macro level with this.

Play something you know off by heart. Close your eyes. Take it very slowly.

Rinse and repeat. You will gradually learn about the tactile awareness and visualisation. I'm not sure it's something that can be taught that much. It is a very abstract thing.

I would say though that it's the black notes that give you a clue as to where you are. That much we can say, as regards the tactile feel. And it's the tactile feel that it's all about.

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: dogperson] #2763862 09/06/18 09:36 PM
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Very cool link, dogperson!


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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: cmb13] #2763872 09/06/18 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Very cool link, dogperson!


Glad you think so.... in the YouTube notes, there are links to other
research, but I haven’t watched them yet


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763881 09/06/18 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rickyd123
Once I cover my hands and can't see the keys anymore I completely fall apart trying to play a song I know by heart.


For the first couple of years learning piano I would look at my hands constantly. I had two teachers both of whom said it was ok to look at my hands, but if I stopped looking then the piece I was playing would fall apart. The other thing I believe I was doing wrong was learning every piece by memory and getting away from the score as soon as I could. So one day I just told myself I was no longer going to try to deliberately memorise any new piece and just read the score, only looking at my hands when absolutely necessary. Reading every note has been the only exercise I ever needed. To me there was a cost that it takes me longer to learn pieces, but that is most likely the increasing difficulty as well. While it might be true that when I learn a piece it takes longer than I would like, I believe reading, and being reliant on the score for much longer, I learn a piece at a deeper level. Now three and a half years on I don't need to look at my hands, but if I do that is ok because watching my hands isn't the primary way I learn a piece anymore.

I don't think exercises are the answer, but I second what was previously written regards Bach Inventions. Invention No 1 was probably one of the first that I started with the idea of not looking at my hands. Using the mind to visualise, and the fingers to feel the intervals was at the time revolutionary for me. So the only exercise I would recommend is to learn your intervals and the rest will fall into place (although as always with piano, never overnight).


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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763883 09/07/18 12:01 AM
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I deal with this issue and many others in my teaching studio daily.
Feel free to contact me to quickly resolve these problems.
You can reach me at info@planetmullins.con


Rob Mullins
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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763886 09/07/18 12:16 AM
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rickyd123 , how many years do you play the piano? During the years, each of us creates an image of keyboard in the visual memory. There are simply pianists who use this and who do not use it. Try to remember: to avoid step at puddle on a rainy day, do you look directly under your feet, or forward?

Last edited by Nahum; 09/07/18 12:16 AM.
Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763895 09/07/18 02:13 AM
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I find this question very interesting, as I am around OP’s level and had the same question—from the very start of my piano studies.

First it was learning how to move just slightly out of the five-finger position. How on earth could I do that without looking at my hands?? (I lost my place on the sheet music easily too). But what seemed impossible seemed totally doable after about a week of practice. Then it was octaves. Same thing. Then it was hands jumping around—that seemed totally out of my range, but before I knew it, I was also doing it with ease. Nowadays I hardly ever look at my hands as my eyes are always glued to the sheet music and in fact have had to train the opposite direction—my teacher has specifically told my to glance at my hands from time to time (certain jumps) in the interest of ensuring accuracy. And in fact staring at my hands all the time disorients me.

The only other physical thing I changed was placing a tall box of tissues to serve as my “music stand” on my digital piano, as the built-in stand was too low (just right above the keys) and made glancing between the sheet music and my hands too easy. In many acoustic pianos the music stand is much higher up and so the distance my eyes/neck have to travel to glance at my hands is longer.

I suspect that after some time muscle memory kicks in and I no longer need to look at my hands. But the funny thing is, that muscle memory is “preserved” somehow and I can directly transfer that skill to other pieces.

Nowadays I’m doing a waltz with pretty big jumps and I still need to look at my hands. I trust that the process I’ve been doing until now will kick in and in time, I’ll be able to play the piece, in tempo, without looking at my hands.


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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: dogperson] #2763911 09/07/18 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson


Watch this eye tracking video.... and the difference between the student and professional musician

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GVvY8KfXXgE


Thank you. That was an interesting video.

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763912 09/07/18 06:45 AM
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I think when sight reading or have a new piece I spend most of the time looking at music.

When I know it more, I look more at my hands.

I agree with some of the others and would recommend sight reading practice or more easier pieces is probably the way to develop the skill.

I don’t think playing closed eyes or covering fingers sare necessary.

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: Moo :)] #2763917 09/07/18 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I think when sight reading or have a new piece I spend most of the time looking at music.

When I know it more, I look more at my hands.

Concert pianists appear to mostly look at their hands. I am supposing that without a score in front of you, looking at your hands while playing in public is better than gazing off into space all the time or staring at the top of the piano...


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Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: Rob Mullins] #2763922 09/07/18 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob Mullins
I deal with this issue and many others in my teaching studio daily.
Feel free to contact me to quickly resolve these problems.
You can reach me at info@planetmullins.con


Hi Rob
Since this question occurs here regularly, would you kindly consider sharing your thoughts publicly?

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763924 09/07/18 08:42 AM
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One frequent mistake that I notice many beginners do, is that they move head up and down too much when reading music, that's why they lose the place is a score so easily. Rickyd123, if you happen to have this problem, try not to move your head much, but rather look at the keyboard and back with your eyes only.

As an exercise I would rather recommend to firstly play memorized pieces or fragments with eyes closed to develop the sense of your hands position relative to the keyboard and the mental visual topography of the keyboard. And only then read the music without looking at the keyboard at all.

Good luck!

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763976 09/07/18 12:19 PM
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CPE Bach recommended playing scales and arpeggios in the dark to help develop a sense of the keyboard topography. Arpeggios are typically played so fast that looking is purely a confidence thing. Playing memorised pieces with eyes closed is probably similar as the movements have all been practised before.

I have found that learning new pieces by feel alone helped to develop the confidence to play without looking down. Learning a new piece is a slow process anyway so the extra time involved wasn't as noticeable.

This issue is often the major stumbling block in learning to sight-read.


Richard
Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763992 09/07/18 01:16 PM
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Also, use your ears. although it may seem obvious. If you hit a wrong note while not looking at the keyboard, try and imagine how it is wrong, and what you have to do to correct it, and also do that without looking at the keyboard.

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2763993 09/07/18 01:25 PM
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One more hint here: start with keys, that have large number of sharps or flats (F# maj would be perfect), they are easiest to play without visual control. Blind pianists love them.

Re: I want to learn to look less at the keys while playing .... [Re: rickyd123] #2764086 09/07/18 10:22 PM
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Take a look at Stevie Wonder's hands over the keyboard in this example that was posted in the other forum

Digital Pianos - Synths & Keyboards High-level classical pianist and DP: recordings examples.

His video is half-way down the page. You can see how sometimes he feels the black keys - it's very brief, just a light swift movement of the hand.

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