2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
59 members (Abdol, Burkey, big-vern, 36251, Catlady, anotherscott, 12 invisible), 492 guests, and 400 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Looking at fingers or the music score
#2880648 08/17/19 04:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,832
M
Moo :) Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,832
I spend most of my time looking at the music. I’m always looking back and forth with music score and the keys. My default mode is on the score. It’s very automatic. I assumed this was the norm. many people playing and only look at their fingers and never the music. I’ve even seen people play with the score and never look at it. When queried many people claim they cannot play fast parts with the score as they cannot follow the score in these parts and play. Therefore these parts they say have to memorised. I have never done this. It sounds very strange to me. Is that what most people do. Am I really in the minority by not having this difficulty? Interested in people’s thoughts.

Last edited by Moo :); 08/17/19 04:14 PM.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880660 08/17/19 04:33 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,391
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,391
I can cite you an extreme case.

I knew an early-level intermediate player who would look at the score, play a few bars, pause to look at the score, play a few bars, pause, etc. etc. This happened in performance, not just in practice.

For the most part, I follow the score and rarely need to look at my hands. I am hitting a few wrong notes in the left hand (cross-over and/or reach-under), however, as I learn the Brahms Intermezzo, Op 76, No 3; that is only being cured, in practice, by glancing down at the keyboard.

Each of us is different in our learning styles, of course, but I think that learning to follow the score without having to look at one's hands contributes to faster learning of a piece. Am I right or not? Or is the answer: "It depends."?

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880671 08/17/19 04:52 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,090
E
EPW Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,090
I try not to look at the keys myself and concentrate on the score when every possible. Each of us is different. Have a friend who can memorize pieces very quickly so his eyes are on the keys most of the time. Of course he sometimes gets mad at me saying you make less mistakes then me and you're not even looking at the keys. I tell him I have more experience playing and on not to fast pieces I'm correcting my mistake before you can hear it. He can't get the concept of that smile


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880672 08/17/19 04:57 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,959
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,959
Doesn’t the answer to this question depend on how long you have been playing? If you are a new pianist, you will not have developed a sense of proprioception, so you will look at the keys much more frequently than someone who has been playing for years. It takes a long time to develop spatial awareness.


"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: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880688 08/17/19 05:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,805
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,805
When I play a piece I've learnt but not memorized from the score, I look down occasionally, but otherwise my eyes are on the score, because that's the way I've practiced it.

If I perform a piece from memory, I'm looking down at the keyboard or my hands all the time, even though I probably don't need to, because that's the way I've practiced it.

Perhaps I should practice gazing at the fly on the ceiling, to convey the impression I'm in deep communion with the (deceased) composer wink .


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880690 08/17/19 05:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,101
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,101
When I started piano (well, a little organ) as a child with no teacher, I went by sound and touch. I actually have a mild LD which I didn't discover until an adult, which goes toward visual-spacial things. When I returned to the piano, due to the poor technique I had developed, I had to learn to look at my hands and see what I was doing. It was very disorienting. The appearance of the keyboard with the layout of the keys were in a sense unfamiliar. Like Moo, when people wrote about trying to wean themselves from looking at their hands, I could not relate at all.

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880709 08/17/19 07:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 354
F
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
F
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 354
I watch the music except for long reaches such as moving up an octave where I have to take my hand entirely off the keys.


Kawai ES8
Yamaha P105
Yamaha YPT220

A lack of talent does not stop you from learning piano. It just takes longer and you have to work harder.

[Linked Image]
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880713 08/17/19 07:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,943
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,943
I do both, glancing up and down and back and forth. Beginners have a lot of trouble with this, losing their place in the score when they glance at their hands - at least I did when I was a beginner.

When I play from memory I look in the general direction of my hands, now right, now left, now in the middle, but mainly sort of unfocussed.

Sam

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
dogperson #2880726 08/17/19 08:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,832
M
Moo :) Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,832
Originally Posted by dogperson
Doesn’t the answer to this question depend on how long you have been playing? If you are a new pianist, you will not have developed a sense of proprioception, so you will look at the keys much more frequently than someone who has been playing for years. It takes a long time to develop spatial awareness.


I’ve seen relatively a lot of experienced pianist looking only at hands never at the score. Then must have had to learn the music with the score surely? But when later they rely only on memory and look only at fingers never at score it has a big handicap for some. When some play a wrong note in a performance. they then look up at the score and don’t know where they are. They go back again and get lost again. It is quite a surprise to have this handicap in otherwise good pianists. So I’m not sure experience is so related. many seem to still struggles with the score and relying on memory. Similarly I’ve seen a lot of beginners reading the scores without problems. They can follow the score, look at their hands when needed and then quickly go back to the score.

I haven’t really seen what mr Ben describes of people looking in the distance. Maybe that’s quite difficult. I do think it connects with dead composers via piano magic 😁.

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880732 08/17/19 08:55 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,143
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,143
Originally Posted by Moo :)
I’ve seen relatively a lot of experienced pianist looking only at hands never at the score. Then must have had to learn the music with the score surely? But when later they rely only on memory and look only at fingers never at score it has a big handicap for some. When some play a wrong note in a performance. they then look up at the score and don’t know where they are. They go back again and get lost again. It is quite a surprise to have this handicap in otherwise good pianists. So I’m not sure experience is so related. many seem to still struggles with the score and relying on memory. Similarly I’ve seen a lot of beginners reading the scores without problems. They can follow the score, look at their hands when needed and then quickly go back to the score.

I haven’t really seen what mr Ben describes of people looking in the distance. Maybe that’s quite difficult. I do think it connects with dead composers via piano magic 😁.
Not sure what you mean by "experienced" pianists. It's very rare for professional pianists to play from the score when playing solo and even rarer for them to play with the score and get lost while looking back and forth between their hands and the score. I can never remember getting lost during a performance when going from looking at my hands back to the score, but I always play from the score so i have had tons of practice doing this.

At any level, if someone is going to perform with the score they should make sure they practice with the score. If there are spots that cause trouble when looking at their hands and then at the score, those places should be practiced separately like any other difficult spot.

It's quite common for some professional pianists to look into the distance(kind of straight ahead), quite a bit although find that annoying. My guess is that for some pianists this allows them to listen to their playing better.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 08/17/19 08:57 PM.
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880738 08/17/19 09:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,832
M
Moo :) Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
OP Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1,832
By experienced I was meant experienced amateurs who have played for quite a few years not professionals. A lot of adults seem to memorise as they struggle to read the score. I wonder if it may be just something that is easier if you learnt it when young.

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880739 08/17/19 09:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,343
T
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,343
Some beginning & intermediate players learned to play by ear and have a tendency to memorize pieces and not read very well. People like myself who play a short piece for a week can learn all the notes without reading the score. Reading music is my weak area that I'm working on.

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880744 08/17/19 09:59 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,959
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 6,959
Moo
I think the example you gave of memorizing, needing the score and not knowing where to look can be attributed to deciding to play by memory but not knowing the score well enough to play completely by memory, and also not knowing the logistics of the score well enough to know the exact spot you need quickly. In other words, incomplete preparation,


"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: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880758 08/17/19 11:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,946
E
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,946
as a beginner my then teacher failed to put me on the right path and I eventually paid a price for it.

I had a misguided view that memorising everything was a desirable method, so I would memorise my pieces and look at my hands. I could not follow a score but worse, I could not play a piece unless I was looking at my hands. Alarm bells started to go off when I realised I was making too many random errors, and the final straw was when I missed out a note in a piece while learning it. When I found this out, the muscle memory was so ingrained it became tremendously difficult to add in this one note. Again my teacher was no help, telling me it was ok to look at my hands. But I saw other people following scores and sort of knew that was what I should be doing. It was very difficult and took a long time to change over, but I eventually succeeded in changing from a memoriser to a score reader, and I am so glad I did as there are so many positives.

Of course, I may still look at my hands occasionally for position changes. However, I will try to train myself out of these as well, because it usually results in my losing my place in the score.

Nowadays it takes me a very very long time to memorise a piece, as I don't employ my old method to do so (I see no value in memorising). But when I have finally memorised a piece I might look at my hands. But it is a different sort of watching were I am not dependent on looking as I once was. I think people once they have memorised a piece, might look at their hands because it is a safe place to look and not become distracted.


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


13x[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880761 08/17/19 11:30 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,281
D
dmd Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,281
For me it is real simple …

If you are looking at the keyboard it is because you are not confident you can find the correct keys without looking at them.

The more you do that, the less skilled you become playing while looking at notation.

If you do not develop good skills at playing while looking at the notation early in your development it is unlikely you ever will because when you do it, you make more mistakes and you do not like that …. so you develop into a "memorizer".

Memorizing works with short pieces but as the music gets to be 3 or 4 pages in length, it gets more and more difficult to memorize it or at least to memorize multiple pieces like that.

The best is to learn to play while looking at the notation and resist the temptation to look at the keyboard except for special situations (big jumps, etc …) and then perhaps you should mark the notation in some manner so you know EXACTLY where to look when you return to the notation. In other words, prepare for it.


Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
earlofmar #2880798 08/18/19 05:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,805
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,805
Originally Posted by earlofmar
as a beginner my then teacher failed to put me on the right path and I eventually paid a price for it.

I had a misguided view that memorising everything was a desirable method...

Unfortunately, that misguided view is still one held by a few people, including here......

Teachers setting good examples are so important, especially for kids.

None of my teachers ever played from memory in front of me (not even my last teacher, though he was a concert pianist), but they demonstrated their reading skills time and time again, especially my first: she always brought a few volumes from her own collection at every lesson, and let me select the piece that I wanted her to play for me at the end of the lesson. And she would just play it straight off, reading from the score, everything from Le tic-toc-choc ou les maillotins to Visions fugitives. I never knew whether she actually sight-read some of them.

In the first few weeks (when I knew no better), I kept asking her to play for me a theme tune from a weepie movie that broke my heart then cry, which she played - by ear. That music of course was not in any of her volumes.

The unspoken message I got from her was: learn and play 'classical' pieces from the music. And really develop your reading skills - and sight-reading skills. Play other stuff (which aren't set in manuscript stone or composed for piano) by ear.

That's what I've been subscribing to ever since, except when I actually have to perform solo from memory.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880824 08/18/19 07:15 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,143
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 28,143
Originally Posted by Moo :)
By experienced I was meant experienced amateurs who have played for quite a few years not professionals. A lot of adults seem to memorise as they struggle to read the score. I wonder if it may be just something that is easier if you learnt it when young.
The difficulties you describe are experienced by those who have not sight read enough or are not good sight readers. Part of learning to sight read well is learning to move one's eyes from the score to the keyboard and back.

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880832 08/18/19 07:30 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,827
I
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
I
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,827
For me the preferred method of memorization is to play a piece very many times using the score until I remember it pretty well both by ear and by muscle memory. After this the phrase by phrase memorization process right at the piano goes very much easier then memorizing all the piece on the sofa and then playing it. Why? Because at that point I've already memorized the piece for probably 70% and all I need to do is just a final effort to structure and solidify it in memory.

So when we are talking about performance pieces that were previously played using the score many dozens or hundreds times, I think it's a big exaggeration to say that these pieces are read. These pieces are not read note by note like it is in sight (first time) reading, these pieces are already memorized to a large extent, and when the player sees the score he doesn't usually perceive individual notes in it any more, but he rather sees a set of visual clues that trigger already built muscle memory blocks. Therefore the score for performance pieces becomes more sort of a general plan and a backup and it's not the notation in its basic sense any more, the process becomes kind of 'pseudo-reading'.

In my opinion when we are talking about the well prepared pieces there is no night and day difference between the 70%- memorized performance with score and true 100%-memorized performance. But the latter has undoubtful advantages.

Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2880836 08/18/19 07:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 9,824
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 9,824
Originally Posted by Moo :)
I spend most of my time looking at the music. I’m always looking back and forth with music score and the keys. My default mode is on the score. It’s very automatic. I assumed this was the norm. many people playing and only look at their fingers and never the music. I’ve even seen people play with the score and never look at it. When queried many people claim they cannot play fast parts with the score as they cannot follow the score in these parts and play. Therefore these parts they say have to memorised. I have never done this. It sounds very strange to me. Is that what most people do. Am I really in the minority by not having this difficulty? Interested in people’s thoughts.

This is obviously something that needs practice. I sometimes think I am looking at the score when I am actually play a transcript in my head. I will look blankly at the music and sometimes realise I am looking at the wrong place in the music - usually this realisation precedes a musical traffic accident.

I find that the only way I can for sure look at a score with true seeing is to count aloud. That action of focusing my attention on beats forces me to actually read the notes as I play.

For the quarterly recital, I selected a piece in the subgenre of contemporary minimalism. There were unpredictable notes everywhere and it had a relatively fast tempo (for me, at least). I found this was an enormous reading exercises since the piece was difficult to memorise. I am guessing this is why conservatories sometimes let their piano students play contemporary works with sheet music. This piece forced me to look at the music measure-by-measure and then at my hands (because of the LH jumps in almost every measure).

I may be interested in playing more contemporary minimalism in the future just to force myself to read as I play more. It seems the key features I need in a piece that help move my reading & playing skills forward are that it not be melodic, have many apparently random defects in patterns that makes it hard to memorize/recall, have a lot of jumping that needs to be watched, and be relatively fast. I assume it will not be difficult to find reading exercises like this in the subgenre of contemporary minimalism.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Looking at fingers or the music score
Moo :) #2881084 08/18/19 06:20 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 592
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 592
For me the learning process speeds up when I am familiar enough with the piece to play bits of the piece while watching my fingers play the notes. It gives me a confirmation
that I am playing the proper notes, but more importantly it provides another channel of learning to my brain when I can see what my fingers are doing. I learned a lot
about skiing and other things by watching the best skiers. I am a mimic of some sort I suppose.


Kawai GX-2
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
KO #5 LH root
by Sebs - 10/25/20 06:49 PM
Roland F140r - Would you recommend it?
by Pikka - 10/25/20 05:14 PM
KAWAI ES8 : buy a new keyboard management board
by chris42330 - 10/25/20 03:37 PM
Clavinova CPV30 Repair
by mikeskory - 10/25/20 12:55 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics202,394
Posts3,017,006
Members99,019
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4