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How To Play Piano Without Looking At Your Hands

Improve your familiarity with the keyboard and your sight-reading skills

Lisa Witt - Aug 23, 2019

Playing the piano without looking at your hands is a common hurdle for beginners.

 

What ends up happening is you’re trying to read music, or a lead sheet or chord chart -- as well as trying to look at where your hands go on the keys.

 

It’s easy to get lost between the two -- and that can be frustrating.

 

I have a great exercise you can practice to help you develop this skill.

 

But first -- it's important to know that:

 

Everybody Does It! 


Every piano player glances at their hands from time to time, so don’t feel bad that you have to look.

 

The goal is to get so comfortable with the keys that a glance is all you need.

 

Here's how to get better:

 

Step 1 - C Position


First of all -- get into C position. It’s ok to look at the keys to do this!

 

Get your hands set so that your thumb (or 1 finger) is on middle C, and your left-hand pinky (or 5 finger) is on the C an octave below.

 

Once you are set -- look away from the keys. Look up, or close your eyes, and play up the five-note scale until you land on G.

 

Easy so far!

 

Step 2 - Moving into G Position


The next step is moving our hands from the comfortable C position into G position - without looking at the keyboard.

 

We know where the G is because our right-hand pinky and left-hand thumb are resting on it. So we need to practice moving our hands so that our right-hand thumb and left-hand pinky replace the other fingers on the G notes.

 

It’s not easy! 

 

Once you are in the new G position -- play another five-note scale starting on G. Again -- don’t look at the keys.

 

Step 3 - Moving into D Position 


This is a repeat of Step 2, just moving to a different position. Because our top note is now a D, we’ll move from G position into D position.

 

You can keep working your way up the keyboard to practice this in all the keys. Try not to look, but also don’t beat yourself up if you get it wrong!

 

A BONUS Exercise


If you want to challenge yourself, try calling out (or having someone else call out) random hand positions, and then move to those as quickly as you can with just a glance at the keys.

 

This exercise is great as it more closely mimics what the reality of playing a song or piece of music is like.

 

In time, and with practice, you’ll develop a greater familiarity with the keyboard, and your muscle memory will start to kick in so you’ll have a much better idea of where you are at all times.

 

That will allow you to focus on reading the music or chord charts more - which will make you a better player.

 

Happy practicing!

#Piano Lessons

#Beginner Piano Lessons

#Lisa Witt

#Pianote

#Play Piano Without Looking At Your Hands

#Play Without Looking At The Keys

#Five Finger Scale

The Perfect Beginner Piano Fill (My Favorite)

It sounds awesome and it's super easy!

Lisa Witt - Aug 20, 2019

I get asked a lot of questions, and one of the most common ones is: "How do I add fills to my right hand when I'm chording?" 

 

Playing basic chords in root position or inversions is fine when you're starting out, but after a while, you want to be able to make your songs sound more 'musical' and complex.

 

Fills are a great way to do this. We've done a few videos on fills in the past, but today I'm going to show you my absolute favorite fill.

It's super simple, and something you can start practicing straight away.

 

So let's go!

 

We'll Start With A Song


So we need a chord progression to practice this over, and I like "Sweet But Phsycho" by Ava Max.

 

We're in the key of C and the chords are: F-C-G-Am-G-F

 

It's a typical 4-1-5-6 chord progression.

 

And it sounds ... fine. But it could sound better.

 

My Favorite Fill - The Sus Trill


So I call this fill the "sus trill" because I'm starting with a sus2 chord and then putting in a quick trill to move from the 2 to the 3.

 

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. I'm only shifting one note in the chord. It's nice and subtle, but it gives the chord (and the progression) a whole new sound!

 

Like everything, the key is to start slowly, to build up your muscle memory.

 

Adding A Little Extra - Walking Back Down


Once you're comfortable trilling from the 2nd up to the 3rd, you can change direction and walk back down.

 

All that's happening is the sus2 resolves to the 3, and then you just walk back down to the 2 and then the root. The 5 finger never moves.

 

Try it out! It's my hope that will inspire some creativity in your playing and allow you to step outside the comfort zone of basic chords.

 

For more awesome fills and riffs that you can try -- check out our previous blog post.

 

Have fun playing the piano!

#Beginner Piano Lesson

#Riffs

#Lisa Witt

#Piano Chord Progression

#Pianote

#Right Hand Fills

#Piano Fills

#Fills

Make Your Chords Sound 'Fancy'

How to practice and use 7th chords in your songs

Lisa Witt - Aug 16, 2019

7th chords are so beautiful and common in music. They can instantly transform the sound of a basic chord to make it more fancy and 'dreamy'.

 

If you're not sure about 7th chords and how to make them - check out our previous blog post.

 

So you know how to play a 7th chord. But how do you actually USE them in songs?

 

I have some great tips on ways to make practicing 7th chords fun and musical. It'll also help you to incorporate 7th chords into your playing.

 

The chords and progression we'll be using


We're in the key of D, and we're using a progression I'll call the 4-3-2-1 progression.

 

So we'll be using the first four chords in the D Major scale.

Those are:

 

D - Em - F#m - G

 

And because we're practicing 7ths we need to make them all 7ths. So they'll be:

 

DMaj7 - Em7 - F#m7 - GMaj7

 

What do actually do with them

 

The first exercise is to play these 7th chords in a broken, descending pattern. Start with the 4 (The GMaj7) and work your way back down to the DMaj7.

 

Now you might be thinking, "This sounds familiar!" And you'd be right! Can you name the popular song that uses this progression? Comment below to let me know.

 

Some technical things to remember


Your wrist is a really important part of these exercises. Remember to rotate it slightly as you play the broken chords, that will allow you to play them faster, and it will remove tension in your fingers. Also, remember to sit up with your back straight!

 

Make it sound dreamy


Now that we've played the chords in a 4-3-2-1 pattern, it's time to mix them up. Play around with these four chords and experiment with different progression orders. Try playing some of the chords broken up, and others as full chords.

 

Also, try experimenting with chord inversions. Remember -- the 7th does NOT always have to be at the top of the chord!

 

Check out our other blog post for ways to invert your 7th chords.

 

And have fun making your chords sound dreamy!

#Learn Piano

#Pianote

#7th chords

#Dreamy Chords

#Beautiful Chords

#Major 7th Chords

#Minor 7th Chords

#Fancy Chords