An “out-of-the-box” way to practice piano

If you want to see amazing results with your piano playing, it pays to try something different once in a while. Something really different.

Are you ready?

Sometime today (whenever you’re reading this), sit down at your piano or keyboard and close your eyes. Then play!

My students sometimes laugh when I suggest this to them, thinking it’s impossible. But it’s not.
In fact, you can probably do it better than you think.

You don’t need to play anything fancy. Just a simple tune, or a pop song, or an improvisation. Just close your eyes and let your hands play a few notes. Listen to the wonderful sounds. Sometimes we’re so visually-oriented that we stop listening. So when you close your eyes, the music sounds more vibrant. Each note comes alive in a new way.

Listen to one note. Then another. Play 2 notes together. Can you hear them both distinctly? As a composite sound? How about a chord? How does it feel to improvise like this?

Playing with eyes closed also teaches us the keyboard better. You get a good sense of where things are. Use the black keys as guideposts, feeling the groups of 2 and 3. Don’t worry about wrong notes, either. Just be like a little kid again and soon you’ll start finding your way around better. Maybe even after 5 minutes. It’s like walking into a dark room: at first you can’t see a thing, but soon you start distinguishing shapes. The piano’s like that too.

I used to practice this way a lot, to get to know the layout of the keyboard. I can play pretty much anything I want with my eyes closed. Now, I practice this way to sharpen my ears. We can hear more with our eyes closed.

Give it a try, and don’t give up if you can’t do it well within 30 seconds. See what happens if you stick with it for 5 minutes or so. (Or 30!) Practicing like this has helped all my students and it will help you too. Have fun!

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