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Please advise me on what to do with the left hand in the last two measures. I can’t play these accurately with eyes on the score. In similar leaps in other pieces, I look down for a brief instant, and that helps.

But in these two measures, I have to glance down every other beat. It’s working fine this way, but not as comfortably as staring at the keyboard for the entirety of these measures. And now I’m at a total loss for choosing an approach for this line cry

Is it considered to be a bad practice to look down for the length of multiple measures?

Thanks!

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It seems you are more concerned with the score than with the music you are playing. What is the problem with memorizing this section and playing it by looking at the keyboard?

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Originally Posted by arc7urus
It seems you are more concerned with the score than with the music you are playing. What is the problem with memorizing this section and playing it by looking at the keyboard?

But it’s memorised already. I was thinking it’s not a good practice to play by memory, and people try not to do it while learning pieces. And it stunts the growth of reading abilities?

So I guess it’s ok to play just by memory, for pieces that are above my current reading level? I'm very unsure about how to find a balance between playing by memory and by reading.


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You do everything right, just glance down every other beat. With practice you will learn to glance more rarely.

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I'm in the same situation and every time I try to play large left hand jumps I end up memorizing the passage and looking at the left hand while playing but I found somewhere an advice that provided a bit of help to me.

Instead of practicing chord jumps try to first practice with single notes jumps that are much easier. So you start practicing jumping from the bottom note of one chord to the bottom note of the next (keeping the same fingering) until you can do that eyes closed. Than you repeat middle note to middle note and top note to top note and every possible permutation. Then you add notes, you can do one to two, two to one....

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Maybe that's for larger jumps, still in your case I think you can use it for the last jump the others I think it's matter of "feeling" with practice the change in hand position from one chord to another without really "jumping".

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
You do everything right, just glance down every other beat. With practice you will learn to glance more rarely.

Thank you, Iaroslav! Will practice this.


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Originally Posted by Darth
I'm in the same situation and every time I try to play large left hand jumps I end up memorizing the passage and looking at the left hand while playing but I found somewhere an advice that provided a bit of help to me.

Instead of practicing chord jumps try to first practice with single notes jumps that are much easier. So you start practicing jumping from the bottom note of one chord to the bottom note of the next (keeping the same fingering) until you can do that eyes closed. Than you repeat middle note to middle note and top note to top note and every possible permutation. Then you add notes, you can do one to two, two to one....

Thank you, Darth! For the last few days, I had been trying the “lightly brushing the black keys” thing. Didn’t go well at all, and it’s only working on hands separate so far. I’ll try the approach you suggested!

Originally Posted by Darth
Maybe that's for larger jumps, still in your case I think you can use it for the last jump the others I think it's matter of "feeling" with practice the change in hand position from one chord to another without really "jumping".

Any kind of shifting gives me trouble. Hehe. Though, the last jump is a special kind of horrible :P Hoping that at least the simple chord changes get more intuitive with practice.


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These particular jumps are easy enough by positioning the thumb from where you are.

The FAC can be played 1-2-3 or 1-2-4 with the pinky on middle C. The thumb then moves to the D above middle C and the next triad played. The thumb then tucks under to the A and the fifth is played, the thumb then changes with the pinky and holds the place for the fifth below, played with 2-5 or 3-5. Practise this with and without looking down.

Playing from memory is an essential thing. Playing from music is an essential thing. Glancing down and then back to your place in the music in an instant is an essential thing. Moving about without looking down is an essential thing. Practise all these things.

Originally Posted by Tech-key
For the last few days, I had been trying the “lightly brushing the black keys” thing. Didn’t go well at all...
It doesn't develop in days it develops over months of daily practise. It's a piano thing.


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Originally Posted by zrtf90
These particular jumps are easy enough by positioning the thumb from where you are.

The FAC can be played 1-2-3 or 1-2-4 with the pinky on middle C. The thumb then moves to the D above middle C and the next triad played. The thumb then tucks under to the A and the fifth is played, the thumb then changes with the pinky and holds the place for the fifth below, played with 2-5 or 3-5. Practise this with and without looking down.

Yes, I could do it with these fingerings and tucks! Very slowly, but didn’t have to look and was able to join both hands. Thanks, zrtf90 smile

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Playing from memory is an essential thing. Playing from music is an essential thing. Glancing down and then back to your place in the music in an instant is an essential thing. Moving about without looking down is an essential thing. Practise all these things.
Originally Posted by Tech-key
For the last few days, I had been trying the “lightly brushing the black keys” thing. Didn’t go well at all...
It doesn't develop in days it develops over months of daily practise. It's a piano thing.


Will practice these. Regarding “Moving about without looking down is an essential thing.”, I find it so very difficult to practice this on the pieces I’m learning. Because there are a hundred different things going on. . .

I have the PDF for Howard Richman's Super Sight-Reading Secrets, which lists a variety of reading drills. I only do the note naming and the rhythm ones as of now. But there is a section on Keyboard Orientation drills as well. I should start with those too. Maybe it'll work later on in actual pieces, if I do enough drilling on the side!


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I have had good results with the strategy mentioned above = of first practicing single fingers - move the 5th finger from where you start to where you end, then the thumb, etc etc.

A couple more strategies my teacher has given me: spend a bit of time getting the feel of the landing - so that the movment into the position is not complicating your understanding of where it is on the keyboard. And practice the move in reverse - from where you land to where you start.

And one that I got from someone on this forum - I think Jotur - to "ghost" the move - move your hand to the "landing spot" key you will play, touch the key, but don't play it.


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Originally Posted by Medved1
I have had good results with the strategy mentioned above = of first practicing single fingers - move the 5th finger from where you start to where you end, then the thumb, etc etc.

Ever since Darth mentioned this, I have been practicing landing on the D with just my 5th finger. I felt this approach was much less taxing on my brain, and the accuracy has improved a little! I don’t think I’ll dare to take leaps of faith anytime soon, and will probably look down, when I play in front of someone. But I’m very excited to continue working on this till the "not looking" thing gets better smile

Originally Posted by Medved1
A couple more strategies my teacher has given me: spend a bit of time getting the feel of the landing - so that the movment into the position is not complicating your understanding of where it is on the keyboard. And practice the move in reverse - from where you land to where you start.

And one that I got from someone on this forum - I think Jotur - to "ghost" the move - move your hand to the "landing spot" key you will play, touch the key, but don't play it.


Thanks a lot for sharing these thumb


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Originally Posted by Medved1
- to "ghost" the move - move your hand to the "landing spot" key you will play, touch the key, but don't play it.


I was just going to say that - great minds and all. It helped me a lot. I think I actually got it from Chang's book -


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Originally Posted by Tech-key
Originally Posted by arc7urus
It seems you are more concerned with the score than with the music you are playing. What is the problem with memorizing this section and playing it by looking at the keyboard?

But it’s memorised already. I was thinking it’s not a good practice to play by memory, and people try not to do it while learning pieces. And it stunts the growth of reading abilities?

So I guess it’s ok to play just by memory, for pieces that are above my current reading level? I'm very unsure about how to find a balance between playing by memory and by reading.


I think that as soon as you start working on a piece, you don't practise reading abilities any more. And part of practising a piece is memorising notes, even for us who don't memorise a whole piece.
That is also a reason why it is necessary to practise sight-reading...


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Thanks! smile I guess I had been overthinking, and following the score is not needed after the notes have been learnt. This would be very convenient, as it's one less thing we need to worry about!


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Originally Posted by zrtf90
These particular jumps are easy enough by positioning the thumb from where you are.

The FAC can be played 1-2-3 or 1-2-4 with the pinky on middle C. The thumb then moves to the D above middle C and the next triad played. The thumb then tucks under to the A and the fifth is played, the thumb then changes with the pinky and holds the place for the fifth below, played with 2-5 or 3-5. Practise this with and without looking down.

Playing from memory is an essential thing. Playing from music is an essential thing. Glancing down and then back to your place in the music in an instant is an essential thing. Moving about without looking down is an essential thing. Practise all these things.

Originally Posted by Tech-key
For the last few days, I had been trying the “lightly brushing the black keys” thing. Didn’t go well at all...
It doesn't develop in days it develops over months of daily practise. It's a piano thing.


I don't know about the lightly brushing thing (I presume that's from another thread?), but I don't necessarily agree with the tucking under part as it can induce a lot of tension, especially in the thumb. I think it's better in this case because of the longer note values and use of pedal that the OP work on just jumping to the next hand position. I would say memorize these 2 bars and look down at your hands, then practice finding your place again for the next bar.

Yes, a lot of this could be done with better proprioception and possibly looking out of peripheral vision, but ultimately, memorization of the music is a good thing to do. Don't be afraid it will hinder your reading. It's all a part of the process, and so reading will improve the more pieces you encounter and learn to a level of fluency. That's when you start recognizing patterns and the learning process goes quicker. But this takes a year or two before you notice improvement.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I don't know about the lightly brushing thing (I presume that's from another thread?).

Yes, this keeps popping up in threads, both on PW and other places. I may have used the word “brushing” incorrectly though, as I mostly just feel around for the black keys, however convenient. “Feeling for the black keys” is what I meant. This has helped me in the past with shorter jumps. I said “lightly brushing” because I was trying to touch all the black keys from the top in order to play the last D-A. For longer jumps, I think a projectile kind of a motion will be more helpful. Is this correct?

Originally Posted by Morodiene
Yes, a lot of this could be done with better proprioception and possibly looking out of peripheral vision, but ultimately, memorization of the music is a good thing to do. Don't be afraid it will hinder your reading. It's all a part of the process, and so reading will improve the more pieces you encounter and learn to a level of fluency. That's when you start recognizing patterns and the learning process goes quicker. But this takes a year or two before you notice improvement.

Thank you! This is very reassuring. I have been worrying about this for a while now.


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