Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
Albert
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:14 pm

Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Albert » Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:06 pm

May be a silly question. When beginning, is it recommended to not look at the hands while practicing (presumably so that one's hands learn where to go :) )

Rasputin
Posts: 352
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Rasputin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:08 pm

Albert wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:06 pm
May be a silly question. When beginning, is it recommended to not look at the hands while practicing (presumably so that one's hands learn where to go :) )
I'm no teacher but I would say look as little as possible, or you will find you can't play without looking and that is going to make things harder later - sight-reading especially.

Albert
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:14 pm

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Albert » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:21 pm

Thank you. That is what I was thinking.

User avatar
lagartija
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 10059
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:37 pm
Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by lagartija » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:28 pm

It really depends, IMO, on what you wish to accomplish.
When first learning something, it would be preferable to keep your eyes on the music and not your hands.
However, I find that when trying to make a big shift and land with my fingers arranged in some chord shape, it is necessary to look at my hands and place my fingers accurately as I repeat that isolated maneuver. After practicing that accurately repeatedly, I will try to do that without looking, just trying to reproduce it by the sensation I felt when doing it.
Later in learning a piece I will look at my hands to aid in memorizing it. After a practice session of that, just as I am falling asleep at night, I try to picture my fingers on the fretboard as I run the passage in my head. If I can't remember, I try to see the score in my head to help me remember what comes next. If neither image works, it means that I don't really know the passage except by kinesthetic sense, and that I should go over it in my next practice session.

So the short answer is...it depends !
When the sun shines, bask.
__/^^^^^o>
Classical Guitar forever!

Brynmor
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:32 pm
Location: United Kindom

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Brynmor » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:46 pm

Look at your hands when you need to. You will find this becomes less often as you progress.

Albert
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:14 pm

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Albert » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:51 pm

I guess we do have to look initially but the theme seems to be to begin looking away as soon as possible. Thanks for the replies!

oc chuck
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: orange county, ca.

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by oc chuck » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:44 am

Segovia looked at his hands a lot!

Imho,
Some things you can do.....
Learn transverse scales, like Segovia's,
then play them not looking, then with your eyes closed.
Same thing with simple chord progressions.

Play slowly and smoothly a little every day
and be very patient with yourself.

User avatar
AndreiKrylov
Posts: 1718
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:22 pm
Location: Canada, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Spain

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:31 pm

Albert wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:06 pm
May be a silly question. When beginning, is it recommended to not look at the hands while practicing (presumably so that one's hands learn where to go :) )
look if you need to, if you are not sure yet about your hands position etc.
but later try to break this habit.
it is the best to control sound by ear, not by eyes! It is the sound not picture you are making - it will help you in many ways,
it will help to avoid neck and back problems too...
but again - when you can...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

Albert
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:14 pm

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Albert » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:39 am

Wonderful advice. Thank you. I'm a total beginner just one month in.

User avatar
andreas777
Posts: 472
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:00 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by andreas777 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:47 am

I think the answer is 'yes' and 'no'. You should look at your hands and control the position of your hands and fingers, but you should also be able to play without looking at your hands. I saw professional players that permanently look at their hands, and other professional players that close their eyes and play a challenging piece in a live performance with closed eyes.
21 classical guitars, soon 22 :-D, 1 digital piano - no TV, no radio

User avatar
Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
Posts: 1938
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:26 am
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:17 pm

Your objective in everything is to be able to choose.

Regard it like a feedback loop. Most people find that if they watch their fingers they can better assure i. really accurate placement, e.g. by the frets, ii. avoiding pushing or pulling the strings sideways, iii. efficient finger angle, wrist placement, etc. So that when reading from the page, these things can then be trusted to keep happening. But you have to read things to memorise them in the first place ...

My usual thing is to say, one of the many reasons to memorise scales and arpeggios in particular is so that you can do everything in the previous paragraph. That can then also be extended to playing pieces from memory, and for the same reasons. But it is also essential to be able to play accurately and cleanly when reading, not least if one places ensembles, but also so that the learning process of solo pieces is as accurate and clean as possible.

So in summary I would answer the question by saying, look sometimes as part of your planned practice and development, also plan to work on looking at the page and indeed playing from memory with eyes closed - or indeed in the the pitch dark, which is strangely different ...
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

guit-box
Posts: 1067
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by guit-box » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:37 pm

You should be looking at your hands and observing what's going on, it's the best way to make sure your movements and placements are correct. The exception is when you're practicing sight reading, then you need to keep your eyes on the page.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

User avatar
Larry McDonald
Teacher
Posts: 1245
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:33 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Wi USA

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Larry McDonald » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Hi,
This is what I recommend.
http://www.larrymcdonaldguitar.com/pdfs ... actice.pdf

All the best,
Lare
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar Instructor
Royal Conservatory Advanced Theory Instructor

Kevin L Benbow
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:40 pm

Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Kevin L Benbow » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:27 pm

I often play with my eyes closed. I find that when learning it is important to look at chord shapes, etc. Once a piece has been really ingrained I either look or I don't.

There is nothing wrong with either approach.
Note: This mind not for rent

Return to “Classical Guitar Classes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 17 guests