Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

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Rasputin
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Rasputin » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:20 am

Yes, but you also need to be able to play without looking or you won't be able to read, and might also struggle to follow a conductor. It's just that when we see concert guitarists in action, they are practically always playing from memory so are free to look at their hands. They don't always (watch Raphaella Smits, for example). I think it's fair to say they generally do *in performance* but that is not the whole story. Also remember that it can be hard to know where to look in a performance - gazing at the fretboard is partly a solution to this, even if it does also reduce mistakes.

kervoas
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by kervoas » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:31 pm

I think most beginners tend to twist the guitar onto its side in order to be able to see the fingerboard/frets from above.
I certainly did this at first, and then had to learn to hold the guitar body correctly and to play without looking at the fingerboard surface, just the fingertips.
“The only escapes from the miseries of life are music and cats”
Albert Schweitzer

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:10 am

Yoyo Ma practices in the dark. So do I.

Of course this is only for late advanced and concert players who's mechanism is absolutely trustworthy. Beginners through early advanced [level 7-8 on the RCM scale] should examine their hands regularly, preferably through video.

I recorded a Level 5 student this week who was quite surprised at how much she bent her left-wrist after viewing the video I made for her. Another was in disbelief at how much he pronated his left-hand (rotated counter clock-wise) when he didn't need to do so. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth?
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

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:56 pm

It's inevitable for a beginner. That's part of the learning process. You constantly need to check your hands and fingers positions and the way you play to make sure you are practicing correctly. If you practice incorrectly, it can become a hard to lose habit. You might find the following link useful:
https://puremusician.org/2013/02/24/pre ... struments/
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

AndreiKrylov
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:26 pm

meouzer wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:31 am
Almost without exception, classical concert guitarists constantly and intently look at their left hand. So no one can say you can look at the left hand too much without contradicting common practice of the greats. Jamie Andreas who writes for beginners/intermediates and who has won pedagogy awards says "you don't know what your fingers are doing unless you look at them" (both right and left). So you adopted bad practice and ingrained it because you never looked?
for beginners it is sometimes necessary and normal, but for "greats"? it is unnecessary, harmful bad habit... and they set bad example this way too :)

music is the sound!!!!
why do we want to control production of sound by using our vision instead of our hearing? and .. is it good for one's neck? for one's back? etc. so much pain could be avoided if one would not do that constantly ...
Therefore - Yes! bad practice ingrained... and the same with many many things regarding guitar playing and other forms of our activities...
many of the things what we do done as irrational rituals repeated after "great teachers" .... if we only do rational things... if we only personally examine by reason all kind of things what we do or intend to do... maybe world will be so much better?
maybe...but..
this will never happen.
We will continue to religiously follow "great leaders" .. academia etc. in all kind of rituals and taboos which fill our time here... :D
Thanks!

robinfw
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by robinfw » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:26 am

I have to ask.
How this woman learned guitar.
Mauro_Giuliani_Op._107_Variations_Ioana Gandrabur_by_Handel-2.mp4
Here is a link.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lMwExiTmXo

Anyway I think we all need to eat some humble pie.

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Non Tabius
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Non Tabius » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:01 pm

I've got to the stage where I read a piece without consciously "peeping" at the LH.Yet in memorized pieces, I like to look at the fretboard in general also RH, without actually gawking at each position, but simply the pure joy of interacting with the neck and whole guitar as were.Most pianists do the same from the bit that I have watched.Once again its whatever works for you, and how you paint your picture for yourself and others (hopefully) to enjoy.Yet I do agree that for reading getting used without "peeping" is essential as stated here already.I think a gradual knowledge of the established cg positions also goes a long way in facilitating reading, because of the unique duplication of notes on the guitar as opposed to other instruments, where reading standard notation ie relatively easier according to Noad BK1

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Guitar Slim Jr.
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Guitar Slim Jr. » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:43 pm

This has always been an interesting topic to me, and I apologize for not reading this entire thread, sorry if I'm repeating what other have said.

Guitar is one of the few instruments where this is even an issue. Consider: brass and wind players only play in one position and do not need to track changes of hand position with the eyes; Keyboard players always have the keyboard in their peripheral vision while reading. violinists and violists spend literally ALL of their time staring down the fingerboard while they read; cello and bass, it's a combo of peripheral vision and line of sight.

As far as I know, nobody but guitarists ever worry about this. The biggest practical reason for being able to play without looking is so you can sight read without stopping to check the fingerboard. The way around the problem is to keep the music stand low and to your left (right if you're a southpaw), this way you get both LH and score in your range of vision.

Almost every concert guitarist I've ever seen has positioned the music this way, for that very reason: so they can also see their hands while they read. They also ALL frequently looked directly at their hands...usually to track a big shift up or down the neck.

mainterm
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by mainterm » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:54 pm

Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:10 am
Beginners through early advanced [level 7-8 on the RCM scale] should examine their hands regularly, preferably through video.
As Larry implies above, the key distinction is whether one is "examining" their hands or simply peering away at them mindlessly or with little purpose.

It is difficult to examine the hands carefully by looking directly at them while playing, the view is limited and one can't get the whole picture. It is better to have the perspective of an observer, e.g. by using video, having a teacher, having a teacher who is using video...

I often find with beginners that they form a habit of looking at the fretting hand and that this provides little to no technical or musical value. However if the student has the means to examine their hands - preferably through video - then do it, it is very effective.

Aguado states in his new method (nearly 200 years ago) - that looking to the hands should only be done in a minimal way when in the initial stages of learning a finger position or movement. He asserts that once the movement is learnt don't look anymore - rely instead on your sense of hearing to ascertain whether "any sound is not clear". And, if you must look - use a mirror instead. Perhaps 19th century version of video?

AndreiKrylov
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:40 pm

mainterm wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:54 pm
Larry McDonald wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:10 am
Beginners through early advanced [level 7-8 on the RCM scale] should examine their hands regularly, preferably through video.
As Larry implies above, the key distinction is whether one is "examining" their hands or simply peering away at them mindlessly or with little purpose.

It is difficult to examine the hands carefully by looking directly at them while playing, the view is limited and one can't get the whole picture. It is better to have the perspective of an observer, e.g. by using video, having a teacher, having a teacher who is using video...

I often find with beginners that they form a habit of looking at the fretting hand and that this provides little to no technical or musical value. However if the student has the means to examine their hands - preferably through video - then do it, it is very effective.

Aguado states in his new method (nearly 200 years ago) - that looking to the hands should only be done in a minimal way when in the initial stages of learning a finger position or movement. He asserts that once the movement is learnt don't look anymore - rely instead on your sense of hearing to ascertain whether "any sound is not clear". And, if you must look - use a mirror instead. Perhaps 19th century version of video?
Thanks for Aguado quote! it is nice to find out that (without knowing of his opinion ) I always felt the same!
Thanks!

Albert
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Re: Should beginners look at their hands when practicing?

Post by Albert » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:16 am

Thanks so much to everyone for your interesting and helpful replies. I am learning to slow down in practice and this is helping me with finger placement and looking less. Only a few months in and enjoying it tremendously. What a wonderful instrument.

And may I say something else? Despite the obvious knowledge and experience by many with this instrument, I am finding most to be very helpful to beginners like me. Your replies only reinforced this impression. So thanks again!

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