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#1994619 - 12/04/12 12:25 PM moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
I by now can only play if I have a sheet in front of me. I feel very fine doing so, can easily follow even several pages long sheets. I almost never watch my hands. My hands somehow always find the proper shifting of the hand position along the keyboard. Moving my eyes off the sheet towards my hands let me get lost easily, and therefore I became pretty much used to never move my eyes off from the sheet. Like this I for instance play the famous Preludium in C-mayor (the one which is also used as the accompany for the Ave Maria).

Now I reached a limit, learning to play Für Elise. The left hand has to play the low E (finger 5), go to 1 octave higher E (finger 1), and then, according to the fingering recommended in my book should go to an another 1 octave higher E (finger 2). Here I have difficulties to find that last E and need to watch where my hand is – and BANG - I find the E correctly but never find back to the sheet, although reading sheets never was a problem to me!
I thought I could help myself by learning to memorize that part of the piece. So I (painfully for me) did for the troubling measures. But in the end I find, that I either have to play the complete piece from sheet, or I have to play the complete piece from memory. Mixing it does (by now) just not work for me! I just don´t get it managed to leave the sheet, look towards the keyboard, and finding back to the correct position in the sheet.

Anybody having the same problem? Any suggestions about the best method to train the switch between watching the sheet and watching the hands?
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1994621 - 12/04/12 12:36 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Cookie74 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/29/06
Posts: 137
Loc: California
If you want to play any type of classical piece, you are going to have to learn to look at your hands, and then return to the sheet music. It's that simple. Fur Elise is one of the easiest classical piano pieces, so it's only going to get more difficult from here.

If it is hard for you to memorize, that's ok. There's no shame in having to have music in front of you. I actually had the same problem that you do: if I ever had to look at my hands, I would lose my place in the sheet music. You probably know this, but the only thing you can do to correct this is practice it. If you know exactly where you are going to look at your hands, then practice that specific part, looking at your hands and then finding your place again right after.

I don't think there is any special trick to doing it. You just have to practice it over and over. It's not easy, but it's not easy to NOT look at your hands, either. You learned how to do that by practicing not looking at your hands. This is just another skill that takes time and conscious practice.


Edited by Cookie74 (12/04/12 12:37 PM)
_________________________
" I wish you music to help with the burdens of life, and to help you release your happiness to others."

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#1994623 - 12/04/12 12:40 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 371
Loc: Midwest USA
If you need to look at your hands at specific points in the music, then what you need is a way to direct your eyes back to the "resume reading" spot on your score. One practical solution would be to mark the measure with a colored pencil or marker or some-such. Just a colored star above the start of the measure would do the trick.

As you get into more complex music, you may find that you need to look at your hands and the keyboard more often, so it is good to be able to play both looking at the score and at your hands, and with a mix of both. Finding your place back in the score is another one of those piano skills to learn.

Myself, I prefer just memorizing the score.
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Wherever you go, there you are.


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#1994628 - 12/04/12 12:48 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
I don't think I'm going to state anything particularly profound by saying the less you need to look at your hands, the better off you'll be. But it is a tricky balance, and takes time to develop. If you're at the Fur Elise level, then I would expect as you work on techniques (octaves being one of them), that each "learned" technique goes into the "I no longer have to look to play that" category. Some things are unavoidable. Others, manageable. Still others, unnecessary. It's up to you to figure out what falls into which category.

Incidentally, for Fur Elise: I do believe (off the top of my head--and I haven't played this piece in years), the LH is striking a note the RH will also strike, depending on how you break up the octave. The RH is already positioned, so you should be able to bring your LH to your RH without looking. Give it a shot. Hope it helps. smile
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#1994671 - 12/04/12 02:06 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
Thanks everybody for advice and giving hope!
I for a moment even thought to just play also that note right away with the right hand, because the right hand afterwars anyway has to hit the same note. So just playing it twice with the right hand. But I read here in the forum, that the professionals have an idea why to recommend you the different fingering: because it in a subtle way might influence how it will finally sound.

Derulux, the idea with just bringing the hands close is a nice one. So simple, that I wonder why I didn´t see myself that using the right hand at least as a guide could be the needed help! I will try that right away.

As I also read that playing from memory instead playing from sheets would give the audience (if I will ever have one, hahaha) the impression that you would be closer related to what you are playing, I might also evaluate and train harder, to play more from memory.

Of course, all additional comments are still very welcome!
Here it´s 20 h, my family is prepared for this moment, they are already running to hide themselves: my practice hour starts!
Thanks again everybody, Marco.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1994673 - 12/04/12 02:24 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3156
Loc: Maine
Marco, it's a very useful skill to be able to glance at your hands while reading from sheet music, so even if you find a workaround for Für Elise, the suggestions given here will help you develop this skill for other pieces.
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#1994689 - 12/04/12 03:21 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: PianoStudent88]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
Yes, I know. I take all suggestions very serious. I based on all your suggestions today started to go back to some old pieces, which I think that I know them already to play well, and practice with them to at a certain measure force myself to have a look on my hands and then come back to the sheet. This should be a good way to concentrate really on that problem of mine, and not to at the same time having in parallel to fight with other new hotspots of the new piece. (sorry for my bad english now, was a long day...)
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1994694 - 12/04/12 03:41 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
There are times when you simply cannot play with polish without memorization of an entire section if not the whole piece. There are times when my teacher would even say when I start learning a piece of music, "for this piece, you might as well start memorizing right away," or something to that effect. I am not expected to memorize all my music, but it's not always avoidable. That was the first few months of lessons. Nowadays, I memorize every piece of music I play. I do practice with the music in front of me to remind myself mostly of phrasing, articulations, and dynamics. I generally don't need it for the notes after a couple of weeks of starting a piece. Also, memorization is an active process. You have to work at it. It can just "happen", but that's very inefficient.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1994699 - 12/04/12 03:52 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: 4evrBeginR]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
In the movie "We Come To Play", one of the competition participants found out that music is allowed during the competition, which he became very excited and happy, and for his next piece, he proudly put his music on the piano, and looked up and down and up and down during the performance. Of course, the result was a disaster. How could anyone really focus with all the looking up and looking down, and he admited as much after the performance. My personal reaction was if he's that happy about music being allowed during the competition, then he is simply not ready in performing that piece to begin with.

You either practice performing looking only at the music or only at the keyboard but not both. People might say that looking at your hands cannot be avoided, and mostly that's true because it's actually easier to learn a piece by looking at your hands, but obviously blind people could play the piano without looking. The key is to practice those leaps in isolation of the music, so when they happen, your body could do it every time. I choose to just look because it's easier, but then I have to memorize the music. You cannot eat the cake and keep it at the same time.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1994706 - 12/04/12 04:21 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Forgive me for commenting, because I am only a real beginner - but I have lots of problems with memory. I am not musically close to that level of play yet. If I had to play a piece and had to look at my hands and would always get lost and not ever find my spot again in the music. - (Yes, I will now prepare for the future)

- But this is what I would do. I would have a copy of the music on the music stand, of course, but at the point of always being lost, I would pull the music from the stand and beneath that removed music, is a fresh copy of the music that starts at the top of the page where I must begin playing again until the end of the piece or the next hotspot and do the same procedure again. As I say, it is just how I would do it - but I am not there yet so it may not work. I described it this way, but how the sheets of music are arranged can vary, of cousre. The key would be that I have immediate access of the music I must start again at an easily marked and available copy - even if I had to tape that copy of the music to the music stand so that there was no way that music would get lost or fall off the music stand - the copy of music is my life saver so there can be no margin of error not being able to play the rest of the music to the end. I think you get the idea.

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#1994714 - 12/04/12 04:59 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: 4evrBeginR]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1779
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
You either practice performing looking only at the music or only at the keyboard but not both.


Well, I am not sure that is entirely true.

I have personally witnessed accomplished players playing a piece with the aid of notation and periodically glance at the right or left hand as it makes a very long jump ... and then back to the music again. So, I know it can be done.

I have limited experience with that sort of thing but it seems to me to be doable. I have accomplished it by knowing exactly where I am going to "peek" and also knowing exactly what to look for within the notation when I return to the notation. It is seldom more than a measure or two. I will need to absolutely memorize those measures when I have looked away.

This may, of course, present itself in significantly more difficult passages than the ones I deal with ... so that may present issues that I have yet to experience.
_________________________
Don

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#1994719 - 12/04/12 05:30 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Michael_99]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Memorizing was also quite difficult for me at first. It was exhausting mentally, but I was encouraged by my teacher to do it. Now, it's significantly easier, though not quite natural yet.

If you do it in small chunks, one or two measures at a time, you will be able to memorize the whole piece. Once you memorized a chunk, you move on to the next chunk until you reach the end, again focusing on what you are memorizing thus far rather than the whole piece of music. The temptation to preview a piece of music is great, but it is completely unnecessary. The incredible thing is that after a while, you could handle bigger chunks over time.

Sure, I think if you play something hundreds of times, eventually, you'll memorize it. However, if someone asks you to memorize something for next week, how would you do it? You do it in chunks.

There are also down-side to memorizing eveything you play, but that's a different subject.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1994720 - 12/04/12 05:39 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: dmd]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: dmd
I have personally witnessed accomplished players playing a piece with the aid of notation and periodically glance at the right or left hand as it makes a very long jump ... and then back to the music again. So, I know it can be done.



Agree. I'm more talking about actually looking at your hands for many measures because of lots of octave leaps etc, generally requiring memorizing of both hands and not looking at one. Then once that passage is over, you look back at the music, and you are probably many measures away from where you were before, and now you have to search for where you are now.

I've done this where I look back at the music and kept playing not to find my place at the music for 4 or 6 measures later. The expressions for those measures where I was on auto-pilot while searching for my place all goes very flat in the mean time.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1994757 - 12/04/12 08:15 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Practice, practice, practice. Fur Elise is pretty easy to memorize anyway so you might just do it. But for the looking down and back up, it's practice that works. Most of the time I can do this without thinking. You basically just have to remember where you were wink

Some of the Sight Reading primers have exercises to help but I'm pretty sure it's practice all the way with this one ...
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#1994776 - 12/04/12 09:47 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
dmd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 1779
Loc: Pennsylvania
For me, looking down at the keyboard and then back to the notation is a completely planned occurence. I know where I am going to do it and for what reason. I also have a mental image of the exact spot in the notation that I am going to be back looking at the notation so when I look up ... there it is ... and I am back.

Of course, I always do it for the same reason ... as we all do probably ... and that is because I do not trust my sense to make the proper move for a lengthy jump. Now, if there are too many of them I would probably resort to memorization for a considerable length of the piece and then pick up again at a totally predictab le place. As long as I know exactly the position of the notation I am looking for when I look up it will go smoothly.
_________________________
Don

My current system: Kawai ES7 + Focal CMS40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD555 Phones, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Mackie ProFX8 Mixer, Ravenscroft275, True Keys American Grand, Ivory II American Concert D, Steinway Basic, Galaxy Vintage D, True Pianos, Pianoteq, Alicia's Keys

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#1994826 - 12/05/12 01:14 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 740
Originally Posted By: Marco M

Now I reached a limit, learning to play Für Elise. The left hand has to play the low E (finger 5), go to 1 octave higher E (finger 1), and then, according to the fingering recommended in my book should go to an another 1 octave higher E (finger 2). Here I have difficulties to find that last E and need to watch where my hand is – and BANG - I find the E correctly but never find back to the sheet, although reading sheets never was a problem to me


I've played a long time, but not with extraordinary proficiency. I'm pretty tied to the sheet music, and I find I do have to peek occasionally, especially for leaps. And, yah, when I peek, sometimes I lose my place in the music. That's embarrassing.

If you know that you HAVE to look down at the music, you could use a crutch like put a highlighter mark where you need to resume. It's not necessarily like a test in school. It's good to try to learn to do hard stuff, but, speaking from experience, if you need the notational help after trying to work it out without it, why not add a helper?

To the best of your ability, you'll want to learn to feel your way around the keyboard. I know, it seems like E.S.P. It still does to me.

That 5-1-2 is one way to do it. But one of the things you'll end up needing to learn to feel is the feel of an octave. If you get the feel of that, then one way to work your way up the octave would be 5-1... then move your 5 up to the 1 while it is depressed (possibly with pedal help) and then, if you can feel the octave, you might be able to hit the 1.

Huge caveat here: 1) I'm not a teacher and 2) I'm not able to immediately recall the passage you have in mind... just giving you sort of an alternative based on what you've described and what my left hand feels it might want to do based on that. (Suggested score fingerings are generally quite awesome.)
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Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#1994851 - 12/05/12 03:23 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
Having received as a child a strict education to not write and mark in my school books (books still have had to be past on to next family members), it obviously is time to here change habbits now. I will do some copies from the piece and mark the measures to which my eyes have to find back. Still can´t overcome myself to really do it in the book itself, hahaha!

The PianoWorld Forums are just great! First it helped me to find my piano and get me become interested in much more topics around the piano than I would have known that they exist, and now lurking more and more in the ABF section is very(!) fruitful as well!! Thanks again, to everyone.

The only thing missing is that my boss should double my sallery and shorten my working hours, so that I finally can also hire a good teacher. Yes, I know that unfortunatley you can´t help me with this.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1995175 - 12/05/12 07:01 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Yeah growing up in public school meant I'm also very relunctant to mark up books, always a shared resource. Recently, my teacher asked me to white-out all the legato marks and write in new ones for a piece because she didn't agree with any of them from the book editor. I still found it hard to do it, and ended up making a photocopy of the music then making the changes on the copy. smile

If there are only one or two places where you know you have to look at your hands then go back to the music, one or two big fat arrows certainly works. If you end up putting half a dozen arrows, I think, hate to say, it's probably better to go back to plan A and memorize.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1995254 - 12/05/12 11:35 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Stubbie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 371
Loc: Midwest USA
You don't have to actually mark your book. Take a Post-It note (or something similar) and cut off a triangle or circle-whatever shape and size you choose--from the sticky band on the upper part of the Post-It sheet. Stick the triangle or circle on the page at the desired place. Easy to remove when no longer needed and no permanent marking of your book.
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Wherever you go, there you are.


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#1995324 - 12/06/12 06:56 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
The marking in the book or on the copy isn´t a real problem, I obviously fall too much into soliloquy here wink . I put my marks already, and yes, it helps a lot!
Thanks to everybody shaking me up to abandon old habbits and force myself to become more open. This will for sure also have its positive effect on other parts of my practice habbits.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1995350 - 12/06/12 08:30 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...Anybody having the same problem? Any suggestions about the best method to train the switch between watching the sheet and watching the hands?"

It is true that practice is necessary to pick up this very handy knack, but I would also say, have confidence in your brain: it already has this natural ability to make use of its short-term memory. We use it all the time: it guides many movements, the course of conversations, the way our eyes know how to scan lines of text, where we put our feet next, how our hands 'know' where we put down that cup of coffee.

We don't 'think' about these things, because the 'thinker' part of our brain has other business, and it is kept clear of these tasks.

There are techniques. We can 'tell' ourselves that this will happen. We can relax, and 'notice' that it happens. We can 'ask' it to happen. We can take a little exercise before sitting down to play (a walk, for example), so that the muscles and reflexes are toned, and the body has plenty of circulating oxygen--- this helps all the centers of the brain, higher and lower. We can discover that the brain can take many useful clues from our peripheral vision, and that it can often tell where our hands are without pulling the eyes entirely away from the score. And there are practice techniques: for example, making the movement over and over until it 'jells' and the body just knows--- this will be very familiar to any pianist.

I would say that if you have gotten this far with being able to read music, you already have good reason to be confident that your brain, body, hands, and that your musical and kinesthetic sense can work together.
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Clef


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#1995730 - 12/07/12 01:30 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
memorizing (visual, kinesthetic, and aural) should be an active part of your practice routine - and not an after-thought - and could easily be incorporated into one whether you intend/want to memorize the piece in question or not

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#1996468 - 12/08/12 03:40 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
PaperClip Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 516
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
When I had this problem, I resolved it by not moving the head, only the eyes when looking down and up. Just giving a quick look to the keyboard and not following my hand or finger movement with the eyes either.
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Chris

Playing since May 02 2009

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#1996605 - 12/08/12 09:26 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: PaperClip]
piano joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/11
Posts: 807
Loc: Florida
Marco M, JUST WAIT...until your eyes start "to go" and you realize they're not focusing as fast when you glance at your hands and then back to the sheet music- which is now blurry!
Adds a whole other element of FUN....

grin
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#1996779 - 12/09/12 07:30 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
Advancing only means to encounter new problems at a different level wink
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1996818 - 12/09/12 09:08 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
fizikisto Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 313
Loc: Hernando, MS
Here is my approach, in case it might be useful. Full disclosure, I'm still very much a student, but here are some things I've found useful.

Through much much much practice, you can cultivate a keen sense of measurement with your hands. It's something that I'm still working on, but I've made a lot of progress with it. Here's an example of a drill that I do. Put your R thumb on middle C. Close your eyes and play middle C, then immediately span up and play the C one octave above middle C with your pinky. Open your eyes and see if you got it right. Pretty soon you should be able to tell without looking (just by the sound) if you spanned the correct distance. You want to practice this until you can reliably span one octave with your hand. I also just (in the air) stretch my fingers to the span of an octave and put them over the keys to make sure that my sense of an octave's measurement is correct. The idea is to get the feeling of an octave ingrained in your muscle memory. That then becomes a sort of measuring stick. Now, with your eyes closed, play middle C and span up one octave so that your pinky is on the next C up but DON'T play it -- without playing the note, quickly replace your pinky with your thumb (just by touch, don't look) and span up a second octave and play the C two octaves above middle C. Practice this over and over until you can quickly jump two octaves without looking at your hand (and actually jumping 3 octaves is easy once you get two down). Repeat this with your left hand moving down the keyboard. If you get this skill down, you'll be able to move rapidly up or down the keyboard in octave jumps without looking at the keys.

I do similar drills to establish the feeling of other intervals. Ive recently started making my own scores with just the intervals I'm working on. For example a score that's just jumps of 4ths (or 4ths and 6ths, or 2nd's and 5ths, or 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths, etc....). I practice with different fingerings and such, moving up and down the keyboard in different intervals (and teaching myself to recognize those intervals on the score by sight). I'm convinced that this practice has helped me a lot with awkward jumps, I can work out what my new hand position needs to be for an appropriate fingering after the jump and just move by touch the appropriate interval (or combination of intervals - for example, I might need to span up an octave, replace pinky with thumb, span up a 3rd -- or whatever, it's easy for me now).

Here's a caveat. Even though you can make big jumps pretty quickly with practice, sometimes this is too slow to do at tempo (for me anyway). So, sometimes I simply must look at my hands for a jump. But when I start a piece and am practicing at slow tempo, I can always do it first by touch/measurement (at least so far smile. It lets me work through a score without having to look down at my hands. Once I can do that, bringing the piece up to speed isn't so bad when I switch and allow myself to look at my hands when I need to.

----------------

Here's another drill that has been very useful to me and might help you with both memorizing and getting your eyes to track back to the score.

Start with the first measure of a piece (or section). Play it (from the score). Immediately close your eyes and play it again. You'll likely screw it up, don't worry about it, in fact plan on getting it completely wrong at first. But don't stop, keep playing even if you're playing completely incorrect or dissonant notes or incorrect rhythms. Open your eyes and play it from the score again (since you're just closing your eyes and not actually moving your head it should be easier to track back to the score). Close your eyes and play it. Keep repeating this alternating pattern until you can play it correctly and repeatedly with your eyes closed (but keep alternating looking/not looking). Now do the next measure the same way. When you have the second measure down, play the first two measures together in the same way, now do the third measure and keep going until the end of the line. Then start at the next line and repeat the process. This helps you build your working memory, and it gets you used to tracking your eyes to different spots in the score.

As you practice this drill, you'll get better at it. You'll be able to start with multiple measures. (When a piece has phrase markings, I try to do it for the whole phrase, otherwise I start with 4-8 measures depending on how complex the piece is.) And of course, you can start in the middle of a piece, like in a spot where you're having trouble having your eyes go back to when you look down at your hands.

Anyway, hope some of that might be useful. smile
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#1996893 - 12/09/12 11:53 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
Fizikisto, thanks a lot for your comprehensive description of the drills!
... I will need some time to report if this or one of the other recommendations worked for me. There´s a lot of practicing to be done!
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#1997038 - 12/09/12 06:13 PM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Try to link the notes you see on the sheet and the music, so you can virtually "hear" the music in your mind then you look into notes. It is easier to do then you are really playing the music.

This way you will be able to find the place in the music sheet pretty easily - like you can find a place in a book what you read before.

Fur Elise consists from very different passages which can be easily separated from each other, so you should be able to find them in the sheet.

The other way is to learn the harmony - play arpeggios in the same tonality as the musical piece you are learning - so you won't get the notes wrong as they usually follow some pattern (it can be learnt from the theory).

PS. I am now trying to learn a Christmass piece in jazz arrangement and find it really hard - there is a lot of hand movements between octaves, the harmony is not familiar to me, so I guess without learing the jazz theory it will be difficult for me to play jazz.


Edited by personne (12/09/12 06:16 PM)
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#1997183 - 12/10/12 01:04 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: Marco M]
stumbler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 280
Loc: Toronto
I find that sometimes I memorize the sheet music, or to be more accurate the layout of the sheet music. I wonder if this comes into play when moving eyes from hand back to sheet. On a new piece I definitely have more trouble.

Probably as you become more adept at this piece you will find it easier to switch your eyes between your hand and the sheet music.
_________________________
Roland RD-700NX


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#1997284 - 12/10/12 08:46 AM Re: moving eyes from sheet to hand and back to sheet [Re: stumbler]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: stumbler
I find that sometimes I memorize the sheet music, or to be more accurate the layout of the sheet music.


Yes, my suggestion was similar to yours, just other way around.

Also, if cannot memorize the entire piece yet, I try to constantly scan it then I am playing, to keep up with where I am and to easily find the place I am playing. Just a very quick look forth and back.

And as you learn the piece, you hands memorize the right position, so you need not look at them all time.
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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