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#2001435 - 12/18/12 10:44 PM Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 400
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hi Everyone,

And a happy Holidays to you all smile

I've been on my steady course of piano & keyboards learning for over two years now and despite the ups and (sometimes huge) downs, still very determined and committed. I'm kind of dissapointed by the fact that even after this long, I still hit quite a few wrong notes when I don't look at what I'm doing with my hands. It also means I'm not all that good at reading music and playing it at the same time; so I have to memorise. Practice, practice, practice !

I mostly do scales and arps to gain accuracy, focusing on exactly where my fingers-hands-arms are and what I'm doing, while not looking at my hands to guide me at all. I also lean slightly right or left to reach the extremities of the keyboard notes, which I think is the right thing to do versus sitting rigidly and overreaching. Even so, there are times when things go very very well, others not so much... I also still get rather uneven "performance" when I practice legato or staccato touch - some days I sound so awful, others I sound like I've been at this for 50 years!

So I'm wondering if its kind of normal to still experience inaccuracy after this long at playing even though I realize that 2 1/2 years is a short time span in a piano journey. Is my mechanism of proprioception kind of "doomed" or is there something I'm doing, or not doing, that is causing this continued inaccuracy? What are your experiences with playing while not (or never) looking at your hands or the keys? Am I too impatient still ? help

Thanks, as always, for your invaluable help in my journey, I am grateful for your presence in my piano life smile

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2001440 - 12/18/12 10:55 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 755
I've wondered if I too am prioperception-deficient. Even after 30 years of playing, I miss notes constantly, even on pieces I've played a long time, particularly in performance situations.

If you keep at it, you'll be able to play ever more complex pieces, but I don't have an answer in regards to missing lots of notes.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2001461 - 12/18/12 11:33 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5497
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I memorize everything at this point. Many of my pieces have big leaps in the left hand and - that's just the way I do it. Aside from the fact that I gig a lot, and I don't like having sheet music for that.

I am, however, practicing looking around, smiling, nodding, etc, at an imaginary audience, and try to do so in a gig as much as possible. I'm sure my neighbors would think I was nuts if they saw me practicing it, but I think it's important, and I can't do it without practice.

I can only play very slowly if I actually have to still use the sheet music to actually know what's coming next and I have big leaps in the left hand. If there aren't leaps I don't have a lot of problems reading and playing, and if I've memorized I can do a fair amount of watching the sheet music while playing.

But I just don't worry about it. For me, I do what works for what I want to do, and never mind if in some other situation it isn't ideal. I've only got so much time left, ya know?

And I've been playing regularly since 1995 (I had a couple of years of lessons in my early teens, um, much longer ago than that).

FWIW

Cathy
_________________________

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#2001497 - 12/19/12 12:53 AM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
I love these interesting post.
Actually, like most things, there are two way of doing things, the hard way and the easy way.

This advice is for playing an instument or learning to type.
The tough way is to do what I did when I was 13. I opened a book on how to learn to type. I did all the exercises - because I was a teenager, there is only one way to do anything - that is to do it as fast as possible because you want to impress everybody in your family and friends. Errors don't matter because you aren't going to read what you have typed. Who would ever do that. It wasn't like I was going to get a job typing letters. So when I 15 I was in typing class. The teacher pointed out that I was the fastest typist. She was a smart women because she didn't tell my fellow students about my errors. Of course, when you subtract the errors from the perfect typing, I would have had Zero percent.

You see, you MUST do it SLOWLY - and the speed will come. You brain is awesome, but like all things awesome, there is a bad side. The brain is like your computer garbage in garbage out. You play a wrong note on the piano, you play a note that sounds wrong to the ears.

Sadly, you haven't told the whole story. What book or books use used to learn to play the piano.
Starting tomorrow you have to play the piano very, very, slowly. If you make 1 mistake, you have to play even slower and you keep going slower until you can play one measure without a mistake. And you cannot look at your fingers and there is a reason why you don't have to look at your fingers.

When you play the piano. You probably place your thumb of your right hand on the C and the index finger on the D, and the middle finger on the E. Everytime you play the thumb you have to say outloud C and when you play D you say outloud D. After doing that a few million times - I am joking - you brain will remember what finger that plays what note. So you don't have to look at your fingers. Forget the numbers over the notes. That is to tell you where to put your fingers but it does not help you to play the notes or the piano. It is all about hand position. It is that simply. Just play slowly WITHOUT ERRORS and you will do just fine and DON'T LOOK at your fingers. And PLAY VERY SLOWLY.

When you are making a error it means you have to slow down. Everytime you make an error, you are training your brain wrong so it will keep making mistakes unless you retrain the brain. It is never, ever fun retraining a brain.

About reading the music and playing the music at the same time. First of all I have had a stoke and I am dyslexic which means I have a broken brain when it comes to memory.

When you look at music, you will see a measure. The measure will probably contain 1, 2 or 3 or 4 notes. You should be able to read the music by saying c b b a d or whatever the notes are. When you read the note and say the note outloud, if you wish, then your brain will tell which finger to press and it will play the note. If you can't do that then you have to go back and learn the notes. Understand I am learning the piano, too, just like you have and I play the tunes everyday for months and months. After I play the tunes hundreds of times and say the notes and push the keys, you will learn to read the music and not have to remember the music, just play it.
Piano is all about playing the same music hundreds of times without errors. If you ever see skateboarders, they do nothing but skateboard and fall down until they get it perfect and then the don't make errors because they do it right and they do it slowly. Same as playing the piano. Looks easy but it is not. Practice. Practise can be boring to some people but to piano people you have to love practicing the piano.

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#2001537 - 12/19/12 03:14 AM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
great post, Michael.

Give yourself the opportunity to play slow enough that you make no mistakes (ideally at least 5 perfect times before moving on to different sections), and you'll find that it ironically helps you get up to speed (while hitting the right notes) faster than actually practicing near speed.

"Practice makes permanent."
"Amateurs practice until they can get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

I'd also add that beginning a daily regimen of sight-reading could be of great benefit, especially associated keyboard geography exercises (a great example can be found in Lorina Havill's You Can Sight-Read).


Edited by Bobpickle (12/19/12 03:17 AM)

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#2001550 - 12/19/12 03:44 AM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Also according to what Beethoven told one of his students, wrong notes happen even to professionals. He used himself as an example. The trick is to learn to recover and keep going.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#2001819 - 12/19/12 05:40 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: Michael_99]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 400
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hi Michael,

Originally Posted By: Michael_99

You see, you MUST do it SLOWLY - and the speed will come. You brain is awesome, but like all things awesome, there is a bad side.


Scales and arps are basics that I take very very seriously. There is never a time where I zip through as many as I can muster in 10 minutes. No, I can spend one hour a day or more sometimes, to just do scales and focus on "how does it sound, how does it feel, how does it look". I also "see in my mind's eye" exactly what I should be doing at every instant. Never is it just "exercising my fingers" - doing that is utterly pointless.


Originally Posted By: Michael_99

Sadly, you haven't told the whole story. What book or books use used to learn to play the piano.
Starting tomorrow you have to play the piano very, very, slowly. If you make 1 mistake, you have to play even slower and you keep going slower until you can play one measure without a mistake. And you cannot look at your fingers and there is a reason why you don't have to look at your fingers.


I usually aim for about 90BPM. All is well at that speed and higher for the major scales. The minor forms are more challenging and that is where I often get mixed up. I'm thinking that perhaps I haven't 100% mastered them and I did undertake to learn the 3 forms simultaneously because of similarities among them. Sometimes I decide to practice the natural minor scales but along the way I'll mess up because my brain is momentarily confusing natural with harmonic or melodic with harmonic. Perhaps I will slow down and concentrate on only one per week, or something like that.



Originally Posted By: Michael_99

When you play the piano. You probably place your thumb of your right hand on the C and the index finger on the D, and the middle finger on the E. Everytime you play the thumb you have to say outloud C and when you play D you say outloud D. After doing that a few million times - I am joking - you brain will remember what finger that plays what note.


I heard a few times that its not a good idea to associate a particular finger to a particular key, because that's not how music is written to be played. Unless there are fingering suggestions on a sheet, it boils down to practice and "fingering it out" for yourself.

Originally Posted By: Michael_99

It is all about hand position. It is that simply.


Yep, but that is where the proprioception comes in. If for some reason my internal navigational "map" of what key I'm pressing is off and that my hand and body is not in the right place spatially speaking, then a wrong note may or will sound.

Originally Posted By: Michael_99

Just play slowly WITHOUT ERRORS and you will do just fine and DON'T LOOK at your fingers. And PLAY VERY SLOWLY. When you are making a error it means you have to slow down. Everytime you make an error, you are training your brain wrong so it will keep making mistakes unless you retrain the brain. It is never, ever fun retraining a brain.


My whole idea of moving (scales & arps) at 90BPM is precisely to master anything without ever looking. A lofty goal I hope to attain some day but wonder if I ever will. Its not a be-all-end-all but sure would be nice to play that way smile I will follow your suggestion to practice a lot more slowly. I keep in mind a quote I read: "accuracy first, speed later".

Originally Posted By: Michael_99

About reading the music and playing the music at the same time. First of all I have had a stoke and I am dyslexic which means I have a broken brain when it comes to memory.


I'm sad to hear of your experience and the outcome. I'm sure it makes a lot of things in life more difficult all the while having to retrain your brain.


Originally Posted By: Michael_99

When you look at music, you will see a measure. The measure will probably contain 1, 2 or 3 or 4 notes. You should be able to read the music by saying c b b a d or whatever the notes are. When you read the note and say the note outloud, if you wish, then your brain will tell which finger to press and it will play the note. If you can't do that then you have to go back and learn the notes. Understand I am learning the piano, too, just like you have and I play the tunes everyday for months and months. After I play the tunes hundreds of times and say the notes and push the keys, you will learn to read the music and not have to remember the music, just play it.


Proficient sight reading is a long haul and I'll be at it forever, even if I don't have that long. For the time being I have to contend with memory and visualisations. And practice, practice, practice until perfection. Instant note recognition and instant interval recognition are skills I'm still working on.

Originally Posted By: Michael_99

Practise can be boring to some people but to piano people you have to love practicing the piano.


Not a problem at all, I've gotten over the bore long ago and always find a way to make practice time a "good time" no matter what I'm working at. You're right, you have to love the practice as much as the finish line otherwise its all a waste.

Thank you for your insight smile

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2001821 - 12/19/12 05:42 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: -Frycek]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 400
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
The trick is to learn to recover and keep going.


Amen to that! I read it was an essential skill to master.

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2002084 - 12/20/12 10:20 AM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: John_In_Montreal
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
The trick is to learn to recover and keep going.


Amen to that! I read it was an essential skill to master.

John


I had a teacher tell me that when she practices for a performance she practicing for mistakes. So if she messes up she will know exactly what to do next to keep going. I thought that was interesting.
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#2002085 - 12/20/12 10:21 AM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: Bobpickle]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
great post, Michael.



"Practice makes permanent."
"Amateurs practice until they can get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."


Love that!
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#2002186 - 12/20/12 01:51 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1952
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
I think everyone has different strength. I tend to read and play. I don't need to look at the keys when I play except when there are jumps when I have to give a quick glance. But if the notes are closer like Bach, I play by the touch. This is also a problem. I am bewildered when I start playing with memory. The sight of keys shocks me. So I go through the processs to reacquainted with the piece by watching the keys. I also am not good at memorizing. I used to think its because I am old (middle age). It takes me a long time to memorize anything. Then i met an 83 years old who read music very slowly but memorize the piece as he practice! I personally envy people who can memorize. Then they can be really expressive. Don't know if I contributed any insight you are looking for. Well I will post it anyway since I wrote it.
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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#2002204 - 12/20/12 02:20 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...Also according to what Beethoven told one of his students, wrong notes happen even to professionals. He used himself as an example. The trick is to learn to recover and keep going..."

A very nice--- and comforting--- observation, Frycek. Told, if I remember, to his pupil Karl Czerny. But Beethoven continued, reminding him that although mistakes were forgivable, what was NOT, was in disregarding the composer's expressed intentions, as given in the dynamic markings and other instructions.

As you know, Beethoven could be severe.

Well, John, as to your question. My teachers insisted that, if I made a mistake, what I should learn to do was to back up a measure or two and correct the miskeyed notes immediately, lest muscle memory ossify the error. This is not my inclination--- I like to keep going and come back to the difficulty, practicing the movement over and over deliberately until the fingers have the right idea (do not expect it to happen in a single session, though--- it takes persistence). There is probably something to be said for both points of view.

Come to think of it, was it not Czerny who said, "Practice is the great magician, which makes impossible things not only possible, but easy." I have the spirit, if not the exact words. But others say, "Perfect practice makes perfect," meaning that if we practice the same mistakes over and over, that is what we will learn.

It seems to me that you are persistent, John. I think that, maybe, with only a slight modification of your understanding, that your persistence will give you its reward. As one concert pianist remarked, regarding a review that mentioned his 'effortless perfection', "I practiced those scales for hours every day for thirty years--- and now they say I'm perfect."
_________________________
Clef


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#2002323 - 12/20/12 06:36 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
PaperClip Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 521
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
Hi,

My teacher learned me to not play the wrong notes from the beginning. She was very serious about it. I thought it was impossible to do it. But it's just another habit now. Though it meant slower and longer practise before playing a piece at normal speed. It was one of her most rewarding advices.

I always look at my hands when learning the notes. Just finding out how to move the hand and the fingers to the next note. Doing at very slow speed. Never hitting a wrong key. The movement isn't perfect in the beginning. I can hear it in my sound. When the sound is beautiful and movement is perfected, I learn the movement with closed eyes. Still at a very slow speed. Only after that I proceed to higher the speed and to look at the notes while playing. Although the piece is already memorised at this stage.
_________________________
Chris

Playing since May 02 2009

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#2002406 - 12/20/12 10:57 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: PaperClip]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 582
Loc: Finland
I used to believe the warnings about "practicing my mistakes" and it slowed my learning a lot. Now I have learned that this is not a problem for me at all. My brain works in a strange way: I may have learned a passage quite solid and then I notice (or my teacher tells me) that somethins was wrong, like a misreading that doesn't sound wrong. When I realize this it only takes me a couple of repeats to change it. Maybe this is the "good" side of having an unreliable (flexible?) memory smile

My biggest issue is that it takes me ages to get the piece (bssically the notes and fingerings) into my head, but after it is there I find it easy to make adjustments and corrections.

So one should learn to know what works and what doesn't personally instead of just going by advice that generally is applicable.

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#2002596 - 12/21/12 10:53 AM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...So one should learn to know what works and what doesn't personally instead of just going by advice that generally is applicable."

Well said--- it is just so. If we allow, I think we can take the help of both.

What bothered me about my teachers' insistence that I drop the flow and go back to correct a wrong note is, that a mistake in realizing the tempo or time value of notes--- is still a mistake.

"...I'm wondering if its kind of normal to still experience inaccuracy after... 2 1/2 years... Is my mechanism of proprioception kind of "doomed" or is there something I'm doing, or not doing, that is causing this continued inaccuracy? What are your experiences with playing while not (or never) looking at your hands or the keys? Am I too impatient still ?..."

No, your proprioception is not doomed, John, and you are doing the technical exercises that will help your hands to 'just know' where they are. I wonder if there are two things tripping you up: impatience and tension. Maybe they are facets of the same thing. Are you breathing, or tensing up? Do you take a secure and comfortable, erect posture at the right seated height, or is there some discomfort and stiffness? Do you tell yourself that you are 'bad' when you have a peek at the keys, or do you feel it's ok, as long as it helps and doesn't go too far?

The tension is not good--- that will trip you up. We can deliberately do things like consciously breathing fully in while playing (which breaks up tension, lifts the posture, and oxygenates the muscles and brain cells), and stopping to stretch every so often. We can reframe our understanding of the feeling of impatience, and be happy that we feel ambitious, motivated, hungry for greater accomplishment--- these are tremendous advantages for a piano student. They are greater still if we team them with the virtues of patience and of cultivating the habit of regular (daily), disciplined, and balanced practice time, which has room for a variety of the different things that help a musician.

Excessively harsh self-criticism is exhausting, and not helpful; it robs us of the energy we need to make progress.

If you are not working with a teacher, you might do well to consider it, for it speeds things along and you will have someone to discuss these questions with as you go. You can make a lot of progress in two-and-a-half years, but the road is a long one, and you have much further to go. None of us can say any better for ourselves, for the subject is a vast and inexhaustible mine of precious gems; even finished musicians continue to grow and learn, and if they stop, they go backward. After all, mining is, at best, not easy work.

Was it Rubenstein, who was asked in an interview, "Do you still practice every day?" His reply: "If I don't practice for one day, I can tell. If I don't practice for three days, my wife can tell. If I don't practice for a week, anyone can tell."

Best of luck to you, John in Montreal.


Edited by Jeff Clef (12/21/12 10:57 AM)
_________________________
Clef


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#2002650 - 12/21/12 12:41 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Do you mean playing inaccurately for sight reading or just the pieces you learn?

A little trick I have is to play piano in the dark; it trains your ears and lets your fingers know where the notes are. smile

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#2002731 - 12/21/12 03:18 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: Bluoh]
outo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/12
Posts: 582
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By: Bluoh

A little trick I have is to play piano in the dark; it trains your ears and lets your fingers know where the notes are. smile


I actually tried this one night and it was weird...It showed me how much my memory relies on visual clues. I could find the keys well, but suddenly I had no idea what to play in passages that I thought I knew well. I absolutely could not remember what notes to play. I think I'll do that again when trying to get the piece really well memorized. The less solidly memorized spots became obvious...

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#2002746 - 12/21/12 03:53 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3160
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: John_In_Montreal
It also means I'm not all that good at reading music and playing it at the same time; so I have to memorise.

It may instead mean that you're giving up too soon and relying on the crutch of memorization instead of perservering at a slow careful pace with improving reading and proprioception.
Quote:
Practice, practice, practice !

Are you practicing the right way and the right things? You say you do scales and arps for accuracy, but that will only help you when a piece has scales and arps (I'm not saying don't do scales and arps, but there's a lot more to practice in terms of the many proprioceptive patterns of relationships of notes in a piece). Are you doing your scales and arps too quickly? Are you playing enough pieces at a basic level to solidify your reading and proprioceptive skills?

You don't mention practicing chord inversions at all. This is something I did (again, just a piece of the puzzle) intensively for about three months, in both block and broken form, major and minor, in various patterns (I can recommend you the book title if you want), and it helped me immensely with that aspect of playing pieces.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2003134 - 12/22/12 03:13 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: PianoStudent88]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 400
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: John_In_Montreal
It also means I'm not all that good at reading music and playing it at the same time; so I have to memorise.

It may instead mean that you're giving up too soon and relying on the crutch of memorization instead of perservering at a slow careful pace with improving reading and proprioception.


Hum, interesting thought on your part. I think sometimes I am impatient, reading and playing is something I find quite challenging. I regularly read away from the piano to acquire the skill but its more of a challenge to actually read and play.

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Are you practicing the right way and the right things? You say you do scales and arps for accuracy, but that will only help you when a piece has scales and arps (I'm not saying don't do scales and arps, but there's a lot more to practice in terms of the many proprioceptive patterns of relationships of notes in a piece). Are you doing your scales and arps too quickly? Are you playing enough pieces at a basic level to solidify your reading and proprioceptive skills?

You don't mention practicing chord inversions at all. This is something I did (again, just a piece of the puzzle) intensively for about three months, in both block and broken form, major and minor, in various patterns (I can recommend you the book title if you want), and it helped me immensely with that aspect of playing pieces.



I'm hoping that I'm practicing the "right" things and the right way! I've only had a teacher check up on me about 3 times in those 2.5 years. Seemed I was on the right track but without a regular teacher, hard to be 100% sure I haven't strayed.

Some of my worse mixups are when I practice minor scales but with feedback from PW friends I've figured out what's happened and I've changed my practice/learning routine on that.

I've only started to tackle chords about 4-5 months ago; learning them for the sake of learning them, knowing the knowledge comes in handy because they do appear in pieces! I know how to build them, know a bunch of isolated chords and cadences, all the chords in about 5 major scales; still have trouble with quite a few inversions and I often need to look at where my fingers are. Sloooooww progress... next step in that project is to play them perfectly blindfolded smile

Yes, do give me the name of the book, I can probably get my hands on it at my university's music department library.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience smile

John


Edited by John_In_Montreal (12/22/12 03:48 PM)
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2003150 - 12/22/12 03:46 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 400
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hi Frycek, BobPickle, Jotur, Whizbang, Kymber, FarmGirl, JeffClef, Paperclip, Outo and Bluoh. I Read your posts and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience.

Originally Posted By: JeffClef

Well, John, as to your question. My teachers insisted that, if I made a mistake, what I should learn to do was to back up a measure or two and correct the miskeyed notes immediately, lest muscle memory ossify the error. This is not my inclination--- I like to keep going and come back to the difficulty, practicing the movement over and over deliberately until the fingers have the right idea (do not expect it to happen in a single session, though--- it takes persistence). There is probably something to be said for both points of view.

"Perfect practice makes perfect," meaning that if we practice the same mistakes over and over, that is what we will learn.


Both views are correct; as I recall, there is a time & place for each in the practice routine. Agree about persistence also. I'm glad I've got a streak of stubborness in me, it does come in handy!

Originally Posted By: JeffClef

I wonder if there are two things tripping you up: impatience and tension. Maybe they are facets of the same thing. Are you breathing, or tensing up? Do you take a secure and comfortable, erect posture at the right seated height, or is there some discomfort and stiffness? Do you tell yourself that you are 'bad' when you have a peek at the keys, or do you feel it's ok, as long as it helps and doesn't go too far?


Paid more attention than usual to attitude and tension the other day. Yep, the old bogeys are sometimes present still shocked. Posture and body-instrument relation is good except for a flare-up of an old cervical problem... hum, that might not help at this time. Thankfully, I've gotten over hitting myself with a hammer whenever I make a mistake or a series of them; but on a bad practice day, I will tend to still become impatient. That's when I know I have to smile and let it go for a while smile - well, you taught me that!


Originally Posted By: JeffClef

If you are not working with a teacher, you might do well to consider it, for it speeds things along and you will have someone to discuss these questions with as you go.


Unfortunately I still haven't a teacher to work with. Now that a lot of things are "settled" in my life, I'm hoping I can finally make this happen in 2013.

Originally Posted By: PaperClip

My teacher learned me to not play the wrong notes from the beginning.

I have read that some advocate it was best to stop and NOT play the key if I wasn't sure it was the right note; that way I wouldn't practice or play the wrong note to start out with. That is a hard "rule" not to break and I'm not 100% diligent on this, especially if I'm on a roll and things are going rather well.

Originally Posted By: Bluoh

A little trick I have is to play piano in the dark; it trains your ears and lets your fingers know where the notes are.


I do that a lot, or close my eyes and concentrate on the feel, the space and the sound. Yes, it does wonders!


John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2003179 - 12/22/12 05:14 PM Re: Still many wrong notes when not looking at hands [Re: John_In_Montreal]
PaperClip Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 521
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
Originally Posted By: John

Originally Posted By: PaperClip

My teacher learned me to not play the wrong notes from the beginning.

I have read that some advocate it was best to stop and NOT play the key if I wasn't sure it was the right note; that way I wouldn't practice or play the wrong note to start out with. That is a hard "rule" not to break and I'm not 100% diligent on this, especially if I'm on a roll and things are going rather well.


Well, I have to clarify this a bit. When playing a note, when dropping the finger onto the key, the hand moves to next note at the same time. So you must know which key to play otherwise you can't make that move correctly. Then for the duration of the note, the finger on the key relaxes and the next finger hangs straight above the next note. Then when you play the next note, you only have to drop your finger. There is no way you can miss that note, because if you let your finger fall you hit the right key.

If you rhythm is correct, but you misses notes, then your technique isn't good enough. You'll have to slow down until you don't miss notes. Work on your technique, so after this you can speed up. This is when learning a piece.

If you have learned a piece and you play it and have fun with it, so you're not so concentrated when learning. Well an error sometimes isn't that bad if you don't stop playing. But if you played a piece many times, and the piece get worse. Sometimes it helps when you take a few measures and start learning the notes slowly again.
_________________________
Chris

Playing since May 02 2009

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