I can play while not looking down with almost no performance loss while playing scales. Arpeggios are a different story. I have to slow the metronome a lot and I start to make a lot of mistakes. It's also more interesting looking down than into a wall.

I don't have issues playing sheet music as long as I occasionally look down or glance for tricky parts (not trying to brag, but maybe important info).

Thanks in advance :)

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    Do both. Sometimes you'll need to look. – Tim Dec 27 '20 at 19:54

It depends on what you are working on

When you initially practice any drill (scales, cadences, arpeggios, etc.) you will almost inevitably have to look at your hands to make sure you're playing the right notes. As you continue and become a more sophisticated pianist, you'll transition from learning how to play these drills to mastering them, part of which includes being able to do them without too much (or better yet, any) micromanagement.

What you should do now depends on where you are at with your skills and what your pedagogue thinks is best for you. If you don't know, please do not hesitate to ask - they're there for you


Well, when I was a beginner, I had to look down while playing keyboard scales. It was hard to get the 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1 fingering correct. For arpeggios, I found them much easier and did not feel the need to look at my fingerings. I'd say, until you feel comfortable not looking, you're good!

But that time may not come. If you feel you have played too much looking at your fingers, it's probably time to push yourself. You can use my little guide here on most pieces, too!


If you've been trained properly you should not have to look. You should be able to play by feel. All my music teachers, guitar, violin, upright bass, "encouraged" me not to look and that's putting it mildly. However, it does take years of practice to be able to play new pieces without looking at least once, especially if there are some novel fingerings or position shifts.

If you don't like looking at the wall close your eyes.

What part are you allegedly bragging about? Looking, not looking, sight reading, or playing something difficult? That comment confused me.

During performances one may have to look on occasion, especially of you are playing an instrument that allows you to move around on stage (like guitar). For me, looking at my hands for a "difficult part" is suicide. The second I look back I'm lost. In my experience training yourself to not look is the best thing you can do for yourself. So you say that you slow down the metronome and make a lot of mistakes. If you cannot play the passage or exercise at any steady tempo without mistakes then it sounds like you are without any muscle memory or physical beacon to guide you on arpeggios. In that case I'd say work it out without the metronome first, either by touch or looking, then when you feel you've got it start working with the m-nome.

My standard approach on something so new I can't even feel it is to work it out note by note, by feel, no m-none. Only when I can play it smooth and comfortably w/o a mistake do I start woodshedding it. For the most part I always play with my eyes closed or looking at sheet music. I am very grateful for the training my music teachers gave me.

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