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#1185846 - 04/23/09 01:17 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keyboardklutz]
ahvat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 125
I'm not a teacher, just a normal student. I wanted to ask if remembering Scales and Arpeggios without looking helps get around the keys when playing music while sight reading?

I just wanted to see what everyone might say. Because it totally helped for me.

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#1185868 - 04/23/09 01:46 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: ahvat]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
That really is a good technique to work on ahvat.
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#1186270 - 04/24/09 04:17 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keyboardklutz]
molto_agitato Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 162
Loc: Washington State
A few years ago, when I was in my teens, I lost most of the sight in my right eye. I look at the keyboard as little as possible, because my depth perception is so poor. I can be looking directly at a key and still miss! When I do look, I make furtive glances. For example, for a large leap, I'll look at the target note, but I will look away before my finger reaches the note. I also use peripheral vision whenever possible. Concerning the keyboard, I guess I trust my sense of touch more than my sense of sight.

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#1186331 - 04/24/09 08:53 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keyboardklutz]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I found covering their hands only works while you're covering their hands.


Yes, that's true. BUT it proves that it can be done.The argument I hear most often is "I can't do that".
Yes, but it has no effect on their behaviour.


But I'm not sure that's bad.

If you can play without looking, you have learned keyboard geometry. The purpose of not looking is to learn keyboard geometry. Looking probably slows down acquisition of this essential skill.

But once learned, it probably doesn't matter much if we do look. So Betty's approach is still a valid one even if the not looking behavior is not maintained long term.
_________________________
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#1186380 - 04/24/09 10:01 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Hi, Tim!

Thanks for commenting on validity of my approach of holding a blank white page above the student's arms and hands so that their view of their hands and fingers are blocked and they can't see the keys.

I was disappointed to hear the kbk feels no success with that suggestion and has discounted it as lasting only in the moment hands are actually covered.

Kbk is a succinct poster, so I imagine that he doesn't overuse words either, and maybe he has placed the paper between vision and hands before, but made no comment at all to the student. Can you imagine that as a possibility?

Well "Chatty Cathy" here talks it up. "Look Heather! I've covered your hands so you can't see them, and my goodness, you can keep right on playing just fine. Isn't that amazing! (Exaggeration and emphatic 'a-mazzzzzz-ing'). Now you won't have to worry ever again about watching your hands to find the keys on the keyboard, you can keep your eyes on the music while you play. Good for you! Your eyes won't get lost on the page anymore. See you brain can find the notes for you and you won't have to worry about them. Yay!" (Whoop-di-do!)

The kids respond with grins and a look like "I knew it all the time!" Adults, notice it happened and think they were lucky this time. They want to roll the film again to make sure make sure that's possible. Only with lots of encouragement are they not going to supervise their hands and fingers on the keyboard. They pay as much attention to the hands indecision as they do to the written page when was indecision too.

I think the fast track for my kids is because they are willing to play using finger numbers on the page for everything within a position. We always have fingers planned on the paper....with more experience, the fingers know their place when in a position...and we don't need fingers at all when the music is conjunct. When there are skips we plot the distance using |\ or |/ to show expansion between fingers and we finger number the notes involved, ex" fingers 1 and 2, but a 4 note distance.

Only after all 5 finger positions and some one octave scales and lots of music in positions and conjunct first, then played with expansion and changing hand positions, can a student do "blind" selection of keys.

I use the lever of the arm - opening and closing horizontally on the keyboard, and the fingers themselves to act as a measuring device to determine how much distance is involved from here to there....calculations are going on constantly. They don't teach this (inner thinking!) stuff in the methods, and not a lot of teachers or pianists are aware this is a substudy, but I think it is. It's part of the human being lessoned to improve his capacity to play the piano.

There is a lot going on beneath the surface.

We have to liberate our students and give them tools for movement.

This eye/ear/hand coordination and reading of music from a printed page is a multi-tasking event. What we don't do a lot of is plan the impulse which is a finger reaction, plan the duration. We have to train everything into place in the thinking system that creates our movement. All of our resources are guided by our brain.

We've got to give ourselves the tools to operate the human.

Put these kinds of things on project status in your lessons. Help them "connect the dots".

Have a good morning everyone! I am!

6:58 AM looking forward to coffee time! Yes! Now! Cinnamon in the coffee pot is something I really look forward to!

Betty

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#1186385 - 04/24/09 10:14 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11843
Loc: Canada
Betty, can you elucidate on this part because I'd like to make sure I understand it right:
Quote:
I use the lever of the arm - opening and closing horizontally on the keyboard,

You would be talking about the forearm that hinges on to the upper arm at the elbow, correct? And when we move to new hand positions, for the hand to get there, it would be via this lever for the most part? The other possibility would be moving the whole arm from the shoulder or leaning toward the position bodily, either of which one might mistakenly do.

And I am thinking that if we sit at the wrong distance, this lever will also not work well. If I am too far I'll have to keep my arm straight and it can't "lever". This is no longer about sight reading but it "hinges" wink on it.

KS

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#1186425 - 04/24/09 11:27 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keystring]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
You've got it, Keystring!

If you measure the keyboard with a ruler you will find the same distance between 2 of the same note names at an octave, yes? This is a fixed distance at which most adult hands open and the 1 and 5 fingers touch down on the octave notes (8). No effort usually.

Using the 5 finger positions to "count" 5 fingers already known, the changing of the distance between the thumb and 2nd finger allows us to leave space on the keyboard and we can move from 5 fingers on 5 notes, to 5 fingers on 6 notes, 7 notes, 8 notes.

We have to "play" with this, but ultimately, we find a measuring device on the keyboard for finding notes more than 5 steps accurately:

12345 is the constant fingering, but the distances of finger 2 from finger 1 create the natural "measuring".
12 12 12 12345
CD CE CF CGABC

In using the keyboard like a "train track", lightly rest finger tips (end of bone touches key with a "good" knuckles rounded hand position)in a 5 finger positon. Up and down the track several times, stop, start, zip along, go slowly, watch how your "forearm" (encompassing your finger to elbow area follows your "train". The upper arm follows along effortlessly.) You can travel a lot of keys with fingertips on the "track". Do this also with the LH being the train.
The train starts at the "station", which is your center/middle C with finger number 1 on it.

Travel the rails from Middle C and stop on the next C with finger 1. Notice the angle of your arm to your body, go to the higher C, experiment with different notes. Do the same process with the LH. The distances will be the same C to C, etc. Exercise the LH alone doing these "games". Then do hands together, keeping them moving at the same speed. A train going North while another train is going South (opposites) so to speak.

Now. From C to C, get off the railroad track and use an "airplane" to lift you off from one "airport" and land at the next "airport" (the C's) Going up the keyboard would be from San Jose,(CA) to San Francisco, then on to Portland Oregon, and on to Seattle (4 C's). Isn't this fun! From middle C downward would be named San Jose, LA, San Diego. (You have to find some cities on the map that align closely.) To play airplane, you lift your arm to create an arc where the rising arc side is as closely duplicated by your falling arc side.

You are training your arm to arrive at distance of 8 notes away and you will be able to command a note in the next register on instand demand because you have worked with the angle of the elbow. The elbow will stop exactly where it is needed when changing octaves.

It's possible to do longer distances, 2 octaves, and 3 with the same method. You might have to think international travel destinations if you wanted to name them. Or planets in the universe.

Have I helped define this for you?

If you, or anyone else is trying this, let me know how it goes.

Remember keep your hands, arms, light, let your arms hang from your shoulders, and you can do this with a floppy hand at first doing an approximate representation, but you should go to using the thumb as the locater for C's definitely - it is a landmark in our music and on our keyboard. Then try other fingers "training" or "flying" to other "cities". (Don't you love that pun on "train-ing". (Laughter!)

Your perception about centering at the music, at the keyboard is very very important. Without being in alignment with the keyboard, you will sit in a different bench position each time you play, and you will never achieve consistancy in motion and distance with your hands without having you centered to Middle C.

Now, who among us knows this and uses it already?

If I've taught anyone something wonderful, let's celebrate!

Good luck, Keystring!

Betty

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#1186495 - 04/24/09 01:16 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: TimR


The purpose of not looking is to learn keyboard geometry. Looking probably slows down acquisition of this essential skill.

But once learned, it probably doesn't matter much if we do look.


I couldn't be more in disagreement with this assertion.

Even a simple score is the expression of the genious of the composer. There is so much to try to understand and to express. It is never learned, we are always learning. In general one should be reading the music, not watching his hands.

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#1186502 - 04/24/09 01:27 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: landorrano]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: TimR


The purpose of not looking is to learn keyboard geometry. Looking probably slows down acquisition of this essential skill.

But once learned, it probably doesn't matter much if we do look.


I couldn't be more in disagreement with this assertion.

Even a simple score is the expression of the genious of the composer. There is so much to try to understand and to express. It is never learned, we are always learning. In general one should be reading the music, not watching his hands.



Uh, which assertion?

That learning keyboard geometry is good?

That looking inhibits the learning process?

That deliberately not looking, as in shielding with paper, may enhance the learning process for selected individuals?

That once learned, keyboard geometry knowledge does not disappear if later we sometimes look at the keyboard?

Can't tell what you're disagreeing with.
_________________________
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#1186509 - 04/24/09 01:35 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
I don 't agree that the purpose of not looking at the keyboard is to learn keyboard geometry.

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#1186523 - 04/24/09 01:47 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Betty,
That is the clearest explanation of how to learn keyboard geometry I have ever seen.

I see you are using Cs as an anchor point for a spatial location. Are you familiar with the approach of using the feel of the black keys to get to that point? I have a link to it somewhere written by bernhard, if this is new.

Related prescription, from a book on learning to juggle: Catching is easy, as long as you throw perfectly from the other hand. So we throw from right hand to left, catch, instantly freeze, then consciously relax, and inspect position of the left hand. Then in very slow motion we move the left hand to the correct position where the ball should have landed. Then repeat. Until the ball lands precisely in the left hand, and the left hand doesn't have to make any correction at all. The juggling teachers say this process doesn't work unless the freeze step, the relax step, and the slow motion correction step are all included. If we follow with the next throw (or note) too quickly the learning is lost.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1186526 - 04/24/09 01:50 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11843
Loc: Canada
Thank you, Betty. Of course you won't mind if I travel from St. John's to Vancouver. wink I saw recently that I was sitting too far back and that this made my arms extend somewhat so that this motion from the elbow was compromised. I have fixed that part.

So what I am understanding is that as my hands move along the railway track it is natural for the forearm to open at the elbow and we let it happen. Then (contrary motion outward) especially as the distance becomes greater the upper arm will be naturally brought along too and must be allowed to do so. But this is different from bringing the arms in and out using the upper arms and not using the hinge at the elbow much. That is what I might have been doing to some extent.

I've been bothered for a while noticing something uncomfortable happening in contrary motion scales and wasn't quite able to pinpoint the cause and solution.

That has been a first problem, but now there are interesting exercises for orientation as well. Thank you.

KS

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#1186529 - 04/24/09 01:52 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: landorrano]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
I don 't agree that the purpose of not looking at the keyboard is to learn keyboard geometry.


Oh, okay.

Sure, if the purpose is different then my conclusion (that it wouldn't matter if the behavior didn't maintain) would be invalid as well.

I don't think you've fully made your case that not looking produces better musicality though, particularly since we're talking about beginners. Perhaps you could amplify.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1186531 - 04/24/09 01:57 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring


So what I am understanding is that as my hands move along the railway track it is natural for the forearm to open at the elbow and we let it happen.


It would be far more natural if the piano weren't so badly engineered.

The keyboard should curve around our body instead of being straight, requiring straight line motion out of human joints designed to move in arcs.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1186545 - 04/24/09 02:20 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: TimR
The keyboard should curve around our body instead of being straight, requiring straight line motion out of human joints designed to move in arcs.


Sounds like a patent opportunity! Great idea smile
_________________________
It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1186556 - 04/24/09 02:50 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Folks, geometry is of the eyes. It doesn't exist for the proprioceptive system. The next octave up may look the same to the eyes (but even that's a delusion), but for proprioception it's a whole world away. Two octaves and you're often talking serious relearning of identical passages.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1186567 - 04/24/09 03:05 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

Kbk is a succinct poster, so I imagine that he doesn't overuse words either, and maybe he has placed the paper between vision and hands before, but made no comment at all to the student. Can you imagine that as a possibility?

Well "Chatty Cathy" here talks it up. "Look Heather! I've covered your hands so you can't see them, and my goodness, you can keep right on playing just fine. Isn't that amazing! (Exaggeration and emphatic 'a-mazzzzzz-ing'). Now you won't have to worry ever again about watching your hands to find the keys on the keyboard, you can keep your eyes on the music while you play. Good for you! Your eyes won't get lost on the page anymore. See you brain can find the notes for you and you won't have to worry about them. Yay!" (Whoop-di-do!)
Assuming kids can do rational thought, which they can't.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1186613 - 04/24/09 03:52 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keyboardklutz]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude

Kbk is a succinct poster, so I imagine that he doesn't overuse words either, and maybe he has placed the paper between vision and hands before, but made no comment at all to the student. Can you imagine that as a possibility?

Well "Chatty Cathy" here talks it up. "Look Heather! I've covered your hands so you can't see them, and my goodness, you can keep right on playing just fine. Isn't that amazing! (Exaggeration and emphatic 'a-mazzzzzz-ing'). Now you won't have to worry ever again about watching your hands to find the keys on the keyboard, you can keep your eyes on the music while you play. Good for you! Your eyes won't get lost on the page anymore. See you brain can find the notes for you and you won't have to worry about them. Yay!" (Whoop-di-do!)

Assuming kids can do rational thought, which they can't.


kbk,

That is exactly why I spoke as I did to a child under 8 years old or so, if you can imagine at that age they are playful and much teaching seems like a "game". At that age they don't yet reason, the age for comparison and relationships, pro's and con's, if and whens, is around age 9 I believe in development. Intellectualation is not for children - they tell it as it is in the first person.

If the child were older I'd say, "Look at when happens when you do this!" Then I'd ask them if it worked for them. Yes, because and I'd reiterate what the student said and add a few of my own comments to it to emphasize the outcome we found. I'd add the good for you, with so it's not going to be a problem for you. I'm glad you've discovered this today!

I think we have to make certain events memorable. It lessons are memorable that should increase the importance of doing piano to the student, don't you think. Of course, I mean memorable in a nice way.

I've even picked up my imaginary camera" and clicked a "picture" of a good thing happening: "I want to get a picture of that!"

And, if the going gets rough, I pull out my imaginery "bubble wand" and blow bubbles for a few minutes, saying, "Ooops, popped! My, that was big one! Catch it! Catch it!" Bubble blowing uses deep breaths, and sometimes kids get real shallow in their breathing, or are actually holding their breath. You've got to intervene in a way that reminds and teaches, "Can you blow a bigger bubble? Oh, look at it grow!" (Divertimento)

Who remembers what they actually did in piano lessons? I don't nothing happy or giggly anyway. But, hopefully my students will remember some of the fun.

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#1186624 - 04/24/09 04:06 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
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Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
How ever you dress it up your approach is still a rational one. The capacity just isn't there. On that tack you're as close to flogging a dead horse as it gets.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1186630 - 04/24/09 04:15 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keyboardklutz]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
kbk,

I truly think with this one time I do the blank paper, I never need to do it again.

It becomes their idea that they don't have to look, their fingers will "know".

On to some other problem for comment, this one won't come up again.

It was learned through experience.

Kids are at their most accepting in this young age group - sometimes you get in the sandbox with them, so to speak.

That lesson about looking at your hands is over and done early in the game.

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#1186641 - 04/24/09 04:32 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thanks Tim!

The keyboard with white notes and black notes elevated behind them and between them, is more of a topography - like a mountain range is on world topographical maps.

I'm trying to see it as geometry but don't quite get how the meaning applies to keyboard. I wasn't very good in algebra and geometry so that doesn't suprize me that I wouldn't get it.

I do lots of orientation to the keyboard - the student's hand and the students eye separately. Here comes the mirrored D chromatic scale in contrary motion again (warning). It starts on a white key whereas the Ab starts on a black note and feels much different when playing.

Tell me about geography please.

Betty

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#1186645 - 04/24/09 04:41 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
Chromatickeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 108
Loc: Georgia USA
Sounds like a patent opportunity! Great idea (curved keyboard)

Already been done.

A number of folks have tried to change the keyboard but the current configuration is derived from under a thousand years of sediment that has hardened to real stone.

On knowing where the keys are, at a point you simply own/know them as surely as you own/know the position of the brake pedal, or light switch on your bedroom wall in the dark.

Some interestiong suggestions as to how to know them. Great thread.

James

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#1186727 - 04/24/09 07:55 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Chromatickeys]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Chromatickeys
Sounds like a patent opportunity! Great idea (curved keyboard)

Already been done.

James



Mechanically it's not that easy to make an acoustic piano, though it can be done.

A digital doesn't have the same constraints. It will be interesting to see what happens as they continue to dominate piano sales. (for better or worse)
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#1186738 - 04/24/09 08:11 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11843
Loc: Canada

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#1186754 - 04/24/09 08:38 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Thanks Tim!

The keyboard with white notes and black notes elevated behind them and between them, is more of a topography - like a mountain range is on world topographical maps.

I'm trying to see it as geometry but don't quite get how the meaning applies to keyboard. I wasn't very good in algebra and geometry so that doesn't suprize me that I wouldn't get it.


Tell me about geography please.

Betty


Yes, geography, geometry, I'm talking about the same thing you are. I tend to think mathematically, in coordinate systems, so I probably use the wrong words.

Here's a link that maybe explains the black key approach a little bit. http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2701.msg23134.html#msg23134

Let me know if it's interesting at all, I have some other of his posts saved.
_________________________
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#1186807 - 04/24/09 10:08 PM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
To Tim, and anyone reading this topic,

Yes, I think he is very much on the right track with his 2 and 3 note groups because the fingering for all scale having black notes in them is based on the fingers that are now touching the keys in their early beginner introduction to the keyboard.

The names of the notes are not important at this point, you are simply establishing fingering skills for later.

RH: By adding one white note with thumb before the group of 2 black notes gives you B C# D# - adding one white note with thumb before the group of 3 black notes gives you E F# G# A#. To end the scale play RH 5.

It progresses very well at a slightly older age and level into all of the black key starts known to the student and the use of tetrachords are added to create a formula for major scales. Then you would develop RH first, add LH and play scales in contrary motion so that fingers were matching in use, then you would assign parallel position scales. I think contrary comes first - you may discover why at your piano as you put these ideas to the test. Like in "eureka!"

In the meantime this 23/234 black key fingering is now latent waiting in the student in both hands for the next opportunity to use it again and add to it.

Notice in the above exercise the notes were whole steps B C# D# and E F# G# A#. Notice that in the C Major Scale (this is for the teacher, not the child to notice) the two adjacent white keys are where the 3/4 degrees (and 7/8 degrees are noticably natural half steps on the piano.

You have been preparing students to do combinations of whole steps and half step in major scales. But that is not yet the next step.

Next you are preparing fingers for all half step (chromatic) movement on the piano. The best thing which gets brains working on fingering and preparing for chromatic work, is to teach the D mirrored chromatic scale in contrary motion.

Some of the key words here are:
black keys
keyboard orientation
middle d mirrored chromatic scales
rules for fingering black notes
tetrachords
fingering
centering

For an older child who has been doing well with these concepts and is about late elementary level you would add:
scale degrees
steps, whole and half
ascending/descending
parallel motion/contrary motion/unison
vocabulary building
and music theory concepts

If you search on these words, you will find that I have been writing about them since I joined PWF. These ideas are all based on my years of teaching and are part of the "book" I am writing "Piano Power". All of this relates to helping the human find their way around the keyboard in graphic presentation and in physical movement.

Again, the caution that note names and grand staff have nothing to do with this orientation.

You have to be selective as to when you wish to teach any of the above - it depends on the child, their physical abilities, their hand shape, their curiosity.

It is a pleasure to present this here as it is possible that something that I have said is a link to something you have not discovered yet. Again, my refrain is that they don't teach these parts in method books - this is the inner world of the music student you are affecting, his ability to perceive, and to act with confidence.

I hope it was not too taxing in reading about topography and orientation to the keyboard. I find it fascinating, and it is easy to teach if you have connected all the parts of the process in sequences of understanding and accomplishment.

With this background, the grand staff will be a students oyster because the orientation started within the student on how to use the keyboard with fingering skills. Now we look to the music page with which to make the music and the brain and the fingers are empowered to do the work.

This is being developed while students are making progress in their learning materials and weekly assignments - both are going on, not just the "theory" and "orientation" - simultaneously.

Betty Patnude


Edited by Betty Patnude (04/24/09 10:09 PM)
Edit Reason: Clarification of a sentence

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#1186912 - 04/25/09 02:03 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: Betty Patnude]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2701.msg23134.html#msg23134
Sadly your man fails to make clear the most important aspect of his 2/3 black note exercise. It's an exercise to help beginners grasp arm weight technique. I call it birds hopping (from branch to branch to branch). As for the thumb - he didn't say how you use it at all. It's a bit like taking a baby who can't walk on an obstacle course.
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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1186987 - 04/25/09 08:07 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: keyboardklutz]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
It's one post out of context, by a person who has a very unusual teaching approach. I'm not really sure it's fair for you to redefine his purpose in that exercise, it may be different from how you use it.

Here is a very long thread that explains his particular teaching philosophy. Understand that I am not asserting that he is right or that anybody else is wrong. He writes very coherently and seems to have a vast knowledge of the literature. This thread is long and meanders a bit but halfway down he lists his master plan for students. If you get that far, you may see why your objection to his black key exercise is either founded or unfounded. By the way, he disappeared from the forums some time ago, dunno where he went. Intriguing approach, though, requireing daily lessons instead of weekly.

http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,2701.msg23134.html#msg23134



Edited by TimR (04/25/09 08:51 AM)
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1187016 - 04/25/09 09:43 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Tim,

I am not trying to redefine the poster's work or ideas at all - what you read is what generates from me about my approach using the 2nd and 3rd and 4th fingers on black keys. In general, fingers 1 - 5 create a frame, and the 3 inner fingers are within the frame, so they are logical choices to play the scale work with black keys, as the inner fingers are the fingers that can extend forward very well.

I related pretty much the steps that I go through in teaching about the topic - which is fingering 2-3 and 2-3-4 on black notes, and it's great influence on later developing things in music theory, and that it's very easy and important to put these things in the beginning of lessons.

I was not trying to change his post at all, neither am I plagaring from him. I've added to his from my system (Piano Power) which I've used since the 1980's, so I don't think I am copying him.

I'm excited to see his posting about how he teaches this topic.

Please do post some more of the files you have saved that he or anyone else has written. I would read a lot more of this gentleman's postings because he is deserving of serious attention, I think. My only comment is that he has a lot of unnecessary words in his written instructions and might consider modifying them. Simplicity is best, and I have trouble with that too.

I didn't try to search for more of his posting because of the problems I have in vision - the other forum you shared with us has a black background to every page. It just doesn't work for my eyes otherwise I would be doing a lot of reading there.

Knowing 2-3-4 approach to black keys is what I do before we ever start major scales. The black note fingering is an absolutely vital area that teachers don't seem to put in elementary lessons and before scale development. It's as though it hasn't been noticed as an area of it's own that comes first in the area of keyboard orientation. Not just that there are black notes, but to access the black notes and to make them permanent choices in fingering for the future.

Now, let's talk about when the "rules" of black key fingering don't always work: in octaves, in chords, in composer fingerings specified differently. When I adapt my fingering ideas to the music page, I am never defeated by fingering because the principles of black key fingering hold true in composition. I find fingering a "given".

Overall, these fingerings work in scale work: 5 out of 12 major scales start with a black note, 6 scales starting with a white note have black notes in them, only 1 major scale does not have black notes. That's pretty indicative of the need to address fingering in scales, as it allows efficient traveling on the keyboard to get you from here to there.

Most of today's piano teaching is done with the ideas of each note has a finger based on it's location within the scale. We drill and drill on fingering without seeing the overview.

The "bigger picture" of applying fingering rules, allows us to see that fingering choices are consistant based upon the black key rules, and also based on the white keys rules which show up when you teach that:
1) In front of the two black keys are 3 white notes fingers 1 2 3; 2) In front of the 3 black notes are fingers 1,2,3,4.
3) This figuration stays with us through scales C,G,D,A,E,and RH/treble B. LH/Bass B takes on new fingering dividing the LH into 4 + 4 fingers.
4) All the previous scales were combinations of 3 + 4 fingers, the 5th finger acting as a brake.

I have no agenda is what I have posted above, it is simply one teacher (me) supplying what I know about the topic.

Please understand and forgive me for whatever you saw that promoted your thoughts about my intentions and your response to it. My intentions are good.

Now that I notice, I'm not sure who you are to, kbk? Or me?

My apology still stands.

Betty Patnude

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#1187025 - 04/25/09 09:58 AM Re: Looking for ideas on why to/not to look at han [Re: TimR]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Originally Posted By: TimR
He writes very coherently and seems to have a vast knowledge of the literature.
So do I, though not so hot on the coherent bit.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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