what do you all think about playing without looking at the keys?
is it beneficial to be able to do this?
There are 4 comments, leave a comment.
of course.  you should know what the notes look like and feel like on the keyboard, and you should only have to glance at the keyboard now and then.
it's mandatory for sightreading.
forgot about sightreading -- can't sightread while staring at the hands, of course, as you said, cynbad.

but while taking a solo, i find i enjoy watching the keys (not my hands, so much) more than staring into space.  maybe not quite a bill evans posture, but it seems like a reasonable area to focus on with the eyes, more than anything else to me.  i guess they could be shut, but i never do that for more than a few seconds if feeling out of pocket or trying to think of something.

even then, if you're playing stride bass, or something else complicated in the lh, you're not going to be looking at your lh except maybe peripherally.  

putting aside visual communication with other players (or audience members) during key moments, it's just plain more interesting sometimes to look around a bit while playing r&b/blues accompaniments -- so long as you can tone it down and tuck it in as far as the deer-in-the-headlights-staring-straight-ahead mode goes.  or frightening your bandmates with a steely, blank gaze.
guaranteed that bill evans had a sore back.  try not to look down at your hands and keys and such on a regular basis.  looking up is better for your health, plus you don't want to be reliant upon looking at the keys or your fingers- that gets pretty mechanical.  keep it organic, let your fingers find the notes you hear inside.  at first you'll make errors of course, but it gets easier. like cyn said about sight reading.
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(i'm becoming almost as fond of this expression as "thusly") i like looking at my hands while i'm playing. it's as if i were a painter watching the brushstrokes apply as a work of art unfolds. you know what i mean?


addendum: as regards the comment above on stride lh, yes! it is very difficult to be accurate and not keep a visual cue.
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