Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

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Terpfan
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Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Terpfan » Wed May 01, 2019 1:56 am

If you do, what is the purpose and how do you utilize it??

paskin
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by paskin » Wed May 01, 2019 1:59 am

Is this a trick question? Yes. So I can position my fingers more accurately.

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lagartija
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by lagartija » Wed May 01, 2019 2:05 am

When I’m learning a piece, it gives me a visual image I use when I practice visualizing playing the piece away from the guitar. As I audiate the piece, I see my left hand in the position I am playing. I also visualize the score, but I can only do one or the other, not both at the same time.
There was someone who posted that they have a “split screen “ image of both... but that would not be me! :lol:
I also watch for inefficient movement and accuracy. After I know the piece well, I don’t have to look. If I am playing a duet, I only look at the score, not my left hand.
I only do it when memorizing a piece. It helps me with memory. It works best if I have also been saying the letter names out loud.
Intellect, sound, visual image, physical memory.... all are helpful to support memory.
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Terpfan
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Terpfan » Wed May 01, 2019 2:09 am

paskin wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:59 am
Is this a trick question? Yes. So I can position my fingers more accurately.
No it's not a trick question. I guess I am rediscovering aim directed movement after almost 20yrs absence on guitar.

Terpfan
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Terpfan » Wed May 01, 2019 2:13 am

lagartija wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:05 am
When I’m learning a piece, it gives me a visual image I use when I practice visualizing playing the piece away from the guitar. As I audiate the piece, I see my left hand in the position I am playing. I also visualize the score, but I can only do one or the other, not both at the same time.
There was someone who posted that they have a “split screen “ image of both... but that would not be me! :lol:
I also watch for inefficient movement and accuracy. After I know the piece well, I don’t have to look. If I am playing a duet, I only look at the score, not my left hand.
I only do it when memorizing a piece. It helps me with memory. It works best if I have also been saying the letter names out loud.
Intellect, sound, visual image, physical memory.... all are helpful to support memory.
Especially for big shift and fast shift section, looking ahead split second before helps tremendously.

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed May 01, 2019 8:04 am

Terpfan wrote:Especially for big shift and fast shift section, looking ahead split second before helps tremendously.
I suggest that a split second before is often too late and can lead to "jerky" transitions.

If it is really necessary to use aim directed movement at some various moments I advise students to look at the target point well before the act of shifting.

This does indeed produce a sort of split-screen mind set - playing one passage whilst anticipating another - but it's not essentially different than good sight-reading where the eyes are several measures ahead of the fingers - somewhat easier in fact.

Just remember that eye movements should be practised and integrated in the same manner as any other element of the performance.

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Contreras
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Contreras » Wed May 01, 2019 9:04 am

Doesn't everybody? Most top performers seem to do it.
While I find that when I know a piece really well I can play it with my eyes closed, I suppose following the left hand imparts an extra level of accuracy.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed May 01, 2019 10:08 am

Contreras wrote:Doesn't everybody?
Not always - like you, I often find myself playing with eyes closed - even in concert situations. Other times one might be watching the conductor, reading the dots, smiling at that weird looking girl in the second row ...

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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by simonm » Wed May 01, 2019 10:10 am

Invert the question. Is there anyone apart from blind players who never look at their fretting hand?

dtoh
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by dtoh » Wed May 01, 2019 1:48 pm

It depends.

If I play from the score, then I don't look at my hands at all.

When I'm memorizing, I rely heavily on remembering where my fingers go and look very carefully.

After I've memorized a piece, I work to internalize moving my hands based on the sound without thinking about the position.

If I play in front of people, looking at my fingers helps me to concentrate.

I have a theory that focal dystonia may be caused by looking at your LH too much.

Terpfan
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Terpfan » Fri May 03, 2019 2:52 am

dtoh wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:48 pm
It depends.

If I play from the score, then I don't look at my hands at all.

When I'm memorizing, I rely heavily on remembering where my fingers go and look very carefully.

After I've memorized a piece, I work to internalize moving my hands based on the sound without thinking about the position.

If I play in front of people, looking at my fingers helps me to concentrate.

I have a theory that focal dystonia may be caused by looking at your LH too much.
From my experience, you have to perform like how you have practiced. If you closed your eyes in Practice, close your eye in performance. Changing only make it worse.
Also, focal dystonia is really rare, tendonitis(carpal tunnel syndrome) is more common.

Terpfan
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Terpfan » Fri May 03, 2019 3:09 am

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 8:04 am


If it is really necessary to use aim directed movement at some various moments I advise students to look at the target point well before the act of shifting.

You are right. I studied at Peabody and learned aim directed movement (it's big Aaron Sheared thing) I really don't remember using it. (I took almost 20yrs off guitar and started to play last December) Now I am figuring out technique and it feels new.

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CarmineDeMarco
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by CarmineDeMarco » Mon May 06, 2019 9:45 pm

It depends. If I'm reading off a score, then obviously I'm only looking at my left hand unless I'm shifting around a lot. If I'm playing a piece from memory, yeah, I'm generally focused on my left hand. At times I may close my eyes, or be gazing off unfocused, until I'm shifting more than a couple of frets' distance. I'm always looking when there's a passage with tricky fingering that isn't yet committed to muscle memory. I sometimes see players looking at their right hands, which is something I don't do very often.

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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by guit-box » Mon May 06, 2019 10:53 pm

A useful tip is to set your music stand up so it's in the line of sight of your fretting hand...then you can look at both things (more or less).
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Lawler
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Re: Do you look at your left hand while playing the guitar??

Post by Lawler » Mon May 06, 2019 11:42 pm

guit-box wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 10:53 pm
A useful tip is to set your music stand up so it's in the line of sight of your fretting hand...
Good point, guit-box. Standard practice for me is to place the print music in my peripheral vision when the playing involves position shifts.

Edit: Oops. What I meant to type was, "place the print music so my left hand is in my peripheral vision"
Last edited by Lawler on Tue May 07, 2019 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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