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playing the right notes looking just at the music
#3012864 08/12/20 12:15 AM
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I'm trying real hard to look only at the music and not my hands. I know the notes, I know the interval but it seems more times than I want, I am off by one key (note). I'm not talking large jumps. Intervals of 4ths through 7ths. I can go over the measure several times and get it right several times in a row, but when I go back and play a larger phrase leading up to the troublesome measure I'll mess up again. I play it hands separate, hands together. Play it at tempo and play it very slow. Then I get frustrated. Is there anything that I can do to have a better feel for the keyboard so I get it right? Argh


Pat, short for Patricia
Kawai K-200
Started piano lessons in my retirement, January 2017
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Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3012866 08/12/20 12:36 AM
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A couple of things I do to reach the right keys without looking
- arpeggio excersizes up and down the keyboard
- play the piece real slow to metronome first, and then increase tempo as it goes well

It's rather common to play the easier parts faster, and then start to slow down at a difficult passage.

Nahre Sol on youtube also tells about her journey, and shows how she goes about difficult parts by Liszt among others.

Then in video she tells, "6 months later" and that gives a perspective what it can take in time to master a piece passage. Even very skilled players have to practice. At least it helps me to be patient.


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Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3012901 08/12/20 03:09 AM
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Hi Pat! I know some people have this as an ideal, to be able to play with your eyes glued to the music. I don't, I have never tried that. Still, my experience is that slowly I do develop a feeling of the distances on the keyboard. So, my advice to you is not to be so hard on yourself. Take a quick glance when you need it, and trust that with time those jumps will come.


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Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3012938 08/12/20 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by PatG
I'm trying real hard to look only at the music and not my hands. I know the notes, I know the interval but it seems more times than I want, I am off by one key (note). I'm not talking large jumps. Intervals of 4ths through 7ths. I can go over the measure several times and get it right several times in a row, but when I go back and play a larger phrase leading up to the troublesome measure I'll mess up again. I play it hands separate, hands together. Play it at tempo and play it very slow. Then I get frustrated. Is there anything that I can do to have a better feel for the keyboard so I get it right? Argh

I so know this feeling and i do exactly what you do. Repeat the troublesome measure multiple times playing it slowly and then getting a little faster while maintaining accuracy but then playing through it from somewhere earlier, it just falls apart.

I don't have a goal of just being able to play without looking at my hands, but notes that are within a hand stretch or close to it should not need me looking at the keys.

I think Pat is already saying he is practising it very slow, and certainly that is one of my practise techniques.

Sometimes rethinking fingering and writing it down can help, if the problem stretch can be made into a stretch that comes naturally between two specific fingers seeing if you can change your fingering so that those two fingers end up being used can help. I do also find sometimes just writing in the fingering for the stretch or small jump can help even when you can't change to something better. It is a reminder as you are scanning the music while playing not just that I need to use these specific fingers, but that there is something a little awkward to get right just here.

Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3012940 08/12/20 07:09 AM
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Hi Pat
Just keep playing new music. Your body does develop a sense of where you are in relation to the keys and how far the next interval is. It just takes time... and like everything else—- patience.

If you run into an interval that is not automatic, I would just practice the two note interval, not the entire measure. Play it without looking. Before you play the second note, look down. If you are not on the right note, try again. Play the second note when you have correctly sensed where it is. Repeat.

This will help —- but don’t forget it is not an automatic process. There will be times when you need to look away from the score, but you want to minimize those. Be patient.


"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

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Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3013004 08/12/20 11:16 AM
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Lots of good points in the posts above.

1. From the start, play slowly enough (and looking at the keyboard if you must) that you always hit the correct note. In other words, try not to let your brain learn that a wrong note is "correct." You'll only have to unlearn it. Most of us never always hit the correct note every time, especially when we start a piece. But don't repeat it until it becomes ingrained in muscle memory.

2. Check your fingering. If you consistently hit the wrong note, maybe your natural hand and finger position is telling you something. You might have to change fingering for the neighboring notes as well, but often it is worth the trouble.

3. Patience. Getting a feel for the keyboard is a process. It takes time and practice.


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Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3013012 08/12/20 11:46 AM
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Maybe you had started out in piano looking at your hands and now the pieces are harder. But think of all the instruments where it's not possible for the player to watch his fingers. I started out in violin, I rely on my ears a lot. But for a brand new piece I'm learning, I look at my hands more to make sure it is correct. Agree with the others these all help: good fingering, looking at why you missed by a key, arpeggios, and slow practice.

Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3013032 08/12/20 01:08 PM
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All the best pianists look at their hands sometimes. When playing without the music they may look most of the time and with the music some of the time. When playing with the music one cannot look at one's hands all the time but it's not necessary or even desirable to try and play without ever looking.

An advanced player playing with the score wouldn't normally look at their hands when playing intervals less than an octave, but my impression is the OP is a beginner or early intermediate pianist because their music doesn't contain large leaps. For a player at that level I think what's appropriate for an advanced player doesn't apply, and it's perfectly appropriate for them to look at their hands some of the time even if the music doesn't contain large leaps.

Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3013034 08/12/20 01:12 PM
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There are exercises for this skill. A couple to begin with is playing scales with just one finger with your eyes closed, and then playing arpeggios with just one finger with your eyes closed. It helps to develop accurate "keyboard map" in the mind.

But, honestly, if I were you, I'd follow wise Animisha's advice and would not mess with it for now.

Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3013047 08/12/20 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
wise Animisha's advice

Thank you!

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Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3013302 08/13/20 03:51 AM
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You are welcome! laugh

A gorgeous bow, by the way. laugh

Re: playing the right notes looking just at the music
PatG #3013351 08/13/20 09:00 AM
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I never force myself not to look at the keyboard.

With every new piece my main objective is to never hit a wrong note and I do everything in my means to achieve it. Of course, it never works out like that but if I hit the same wrong note frequently, I’ll go back to looking at my hands at that point until my hands take over and decide that they don’t need me to look at them anymore.


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