Can I Look At My Hands?

If you’re an adult who had piano lessons as a child, chances are your teacher was very strict about NOT looking at your hands. Should you be the same way with your beginning piano student?

The reasoning behind keeping a child from looking at their hands while playing the piano was to teach sight-reading and to help develop a direct connection between the mind and the fingers. While these are important skills, it’s not necessary to forbid a child from looking at their hands as they play.

Look During Finger Exercises

There are certain times when you definitely want your child to look at their hands while playing. One of these times is when they are doing finger power exercises. These kinds of exercises are a great time to practice good piano posture. Children should be watching to make sure their fingers are curved and relaxed, and their hands and wrists are correctly aligned. To review good piano posture, read these tips.

Look When Performing Memorized Pieces

Another time that children should feel free to look at their hands is when they are playing a song they’ve memorized, especially one that requires them to change hand positions. If you watch any advanced piano player, you will see them looking at their hands as they perform. An expert pianist will use sight, sound, and touch in perfect synergy to create a great performance.

Do Not Look When Sight-Reading

Are there any times that a child should not look at their hands? Yes, one. When a child is learning to sight-read. While sight-reading, a pianist doesn’t have a lot of time to glance down at their hands. They need to keep their eye on the upcoming notes. While a child is first learning to sight-read, rather than scolding them if they glance down, put a book or a piece of paper over their hands so that the child can’t see them, even if they do look down. This will help them develop the habit of watching the music and using their ears to hear if they are playing the right notes.

So, unless your child is working on sight-reading, then yes, it’s okay for them to look down at their hands as they play.

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