To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

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

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by guit-box » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:06 pm

The title of this topic is "To Look or Not to Look at your LH", and of course sometimes players don't look and sometimes they do, but the point is that it's not some badge of honor to not look at your left hand when you play. Sight reading is a whole different subject, but even then it's best to set the stand up so the LH is in the same line of sight as the sheet music. Every player looks at their hands as needed even if sometimes they don't look. If we can only find a few pros not looking at their hands and they only do it sometimes, then the argument that one shouldn't look at the hands is a bogus argument. Two things are true: 1. Most players look at their hands as needed and that's most definitely helpful. 2. Not looking at the hands does not develop the ability to play without looking, careful practice and attention to the details does that.

Here's a player who could stand to open his eyes, slow down, and practice more careful placement of his fingers. (he's good, but keeping his eyes shut is hurting him imo)
https://thexvid.com/video/SQRHSILA6Xk/p ... groho.html
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

guit-box
Posts: 1508
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by guit-box » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:18 pm

Raphaela Smits doesn't look once during the Chaconne, impressive.


Raphaela Smits from the same concert looking at both hands and also looking ahead to where the LH is going next.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

guit-box
Posts: 1508
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:57 am

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by guit-box » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:34 pm

I can see some musical advantages to being more in your head and blocking out an audience or external distractions. It might help one to focus on good posture or also help with stage fright issues.

It is impressive that Marc Teicholz can play without looking. He does peek at his LH at times but mostly his eyes seem shut. He's obviously amazing, but even so, his left hand still has a feeling like it's reaching for notes in an uncontrolled way at times, but no doubt he's getting it done with very little looking. I still don't think this is something a player should strive for unless they really want to block out external distractions.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

AndreiKrylov

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:52 pm

guit-box wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:06 pm
Two things are true: 1. Most players look at their hands as needed and that's most definitely helpful. 2. Not looking at the hands does not develop the ability to play without looking, careful practice and attention to the details does that.
1. yes almost all may look on their hands sometimes - but does it make that only good or positive or necessary?
- most of the time it is just habit developed after years of doing it... and all it can do in cases of good players? it .. may bring some pain in neck etc.. and maybe distract them from listening of sound, when controlling playing visually rather than via listening of your guitar...
2. Yes good practice is always good!
but... what is attention? - more looking? - then one who will pay more attention this way will look more, and .. will always look...
the only way is to look less and to pay attention to music by listening...

More listening - less looking
More looking? - Less listening....

Steve Langham
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Location: Melbourne

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by Steve Langham » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:14 pm

I have the habit of looking at my left hand all the time when playing which I don't mind particularly although I end up turning my right shoulder around to get a better look and the result is that without realising it I have bad posture and my back ends up getting a bit sore when I'm practicing for long periods.
I've started to try and play without looking or with my eyes closed and I really like it for a number of reasons:
1. I'm more focused on the music and less on what my hands are doing
2. I feel a bit more relaxed and seem to just enjoy it a bit more
3. my posture is better
4. when I do start to look at my left hand it feels easier after not looking
5. I find I have to really know the piece and it forces me to visualise it more

The problem I have is I just find I make too many mistakes when I don't look. I've been learning a couple of Andrew York pieces and looking at him play them he very rarely looks and seems to have his eyes closed all the time, seems very impressive.

Maybe this is off topic but how do you learn not to look? ie,
If you are learning a piece, do you learn it as normal by looking, wait until the piece is "under the fingers" then start to practice the piece again without looking?

AndreiKrylov

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:32 pm

Steve Langham wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:14 pm
I have the habit of looking at my left hand all the time when playing which I don't mind particularly although I end up turning my right shoulder around to get a better look and the result is that without realising it I have bad posture and my back ends up getting a bit sore when I'm practicing for long periods.
I've started to try and play without looking or with my eyes closed and I really like it for a number of reasons:
1. I'm more focused on the music and less on what my hands are doing
2. I feel a bit more relaxed and seem to just enjoy it a bit more
3. my posture is better
4. when I do start to look at my left hand it feels easier after not looking
5. I find I have to really know the piece and it forces me to visualise it more

The problem I have is I just find I make too many mistakes when I don't look. I've been learning a couple of Andrew York pieces and looking at him play them he very rarely looks and seems to have his eyes closed all the time, seems very impressive.

Maybe this is off topic but how do you learn not to look? ie,
If you are learning a piece, do you learn it as normal by looking, wait until the piece is "under the fingers" then start to practice the piece again without looking?
If you wish to look less - please just try to look less... please try to control sound with your ears, try to see technical aspects of music by inner vision... it is not achievable in one take - it will take a time...a bit of time...but .. more you will do it - it will be easier and easier, but one need time for that.. and one to have to use listening and imagination lot more than in a case of looking...when you are looking - there is nothing else to imagine, nothing else to think about rather than exact position of one's hand.
But music is so rich in ideas and images .. it could bring us faraway, to the worlds where we've been and there we will never be physically and yet.. we could be there .. by means of music..yet wouldn't it help if we let our imagination to take control and take us where?

Luis_Br
Posts: 2376
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Location: Brazil

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:29 am

Well, I said I agree looking at hand might help to some level. What I disagree is on relying everything on it.
For example, specially in jumps it is useful and in this case, looking at the target rather than at the hand or fingers is an important advice. The vision is important to aim the movement, as when we shoot a basketball, we must look at the basket rather than at our hand.
What I would like to point out is that, in my experient, it is not the vision that decide if the positioning of the hand is good. It should be used to help guiding, not to judging. So when one say it is the vision that decides wether a wrist position is good or bad, I think it is a mistake.
IMO, if you use the vision to help reaching the correct fret, it is fine. If you use the vision to check if hand is doing well, it won't have the accuracy and sensibility to judge it.

Luis_Br
Posts: 2376
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:50 pm
Location: Brazil

Re: To Look or Not to Look at your LH - that is the question

Post by Luis_Br » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:14 am

Below another one who hardly look at fingerboard in every performance. His guitar position actually does not allow it for frets lower than 7th position.
It is interesting to notice that when we start playing in this position we start looking more at right hand, something we hardly do in traditional position, because it simply does not allow us to do it well. Would you say we need to look at RH finger and nail angle/touching to play well and achieve good results?



And Gandrabur, who simply can't look at the fingerboard:


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