when a blind person first starts to play the piano, he struggles to learn where all the keys are located on the piano. in order to find where a key is, he has to simply feel the black keys and count them.
for example, he wants to find a c on the piano. he knows if he is feeling 2 black keys in a row (not 3), he simply plays the note a half step below the first black key. it takes him some time to find where all the keys are located on the piano.

i am finding out that in order to improve your left hands speed in stride, it is best to learn where the keys are located without looking at the keys. that way you won't have to keep an eye on your left hand as you play. like magicians say, "the hands are always faster than the eye." when you finally learn where the keys are located on the piano without looking at them, the notes under your fingers should become natural. this makes sense, because in stride piano playing, you are constantly making huge leaps. i saw many of fats waller's videos, and in many of them, he looks like he is striding with the left hand and not even looking at his left hand.

when i try to actually go in and do the process, i miss the notes and my ear tells me that i hit the wrong notes at that time. i think this is what i should of learned to do a long time ago but now the time has come. either do it now or don't improve at all.  

i've been trying to learn where the keys are located for a couple of weeks. no luck. the problem is my hands just don't want to learn.  
what are some methods of improving your ability to memorize where all the keys are located on the piano without looking at the keys?
There are 16 comments, leave a comment.
feel the black keys, it's easier than reading braille.
scot has said in the past that he was able to affect his playing without looking by playing in a completely darkened room, which in effect would render you blind. you could also construct a "cover" that would prevent your being able to see the keys. if you have adequate discipline, you could simply opt to not view the keys, maintaining your vision elsewhere. your speed and accuracy will both improve if you do not need to visualize your hand/finger placement.
peace out.
it's no harder for a blind person.  my very first piano student was a blind 4-year-old girl.  she was smart as a whip and learned to find the keys quite easily.  she had a bit more trouble with finger numbers, but learned those too.
get a job at a piano bar. this is assuming that you can play at least 50 tunes and are able to pick out a melody that someone hums to you. you will learn very quickly how to play without looking at the keys while having a conversation with the barflys.
practice with the lights off, the easiest solution.

when i went to the university of washington they would kick people out of the music building at 10pm.  ridiculous, of course, so i would pick the lock of a classroom door with a nice grand, close the windows, turn the lights off (or leave them off) and play piano until the middle of the night.

i recommend practicing in the dark to everyone.  you immediately start feeling the keys and hearing more of the music and how it relates to what your fingers are doing.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

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plus most gigs are in the dark.
plus most gigs are in the dark or very dimly lit rooms
how long does it take you guys to memorize the notes? month or two?
you're not memorizing the notes.  thinking about it that way might make it more difficult for you. you are just recognizing the feel of the keys and how they relate to music.

start simple, turn off the light and play the song that you know the very best.  maybe it's f blues of some kind.  just play it in the dark.  go real slow if you have trouble, but work it out. you know how the piano is set up, you know the keys, you just have to break through that thin membrane of "how do i memorize the keys" to "oh cool, i'm playing in the dark."

just try it and see what happens.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
i agree wdennissorrell. i think it is better to construct a blindfold rather than to just play in the dark. that way, you'll be able to play without looking at the keys any time you want. being in the dark is limited since you will only be able to play in the dark when its dark outside. most of us will probably end up going to bed at that time.

i find it more helpful doing what wdennissorrell said - constructing a blindfold and playing without looking at the keys. i didn't have any good material to construct my blindfold with. at first, i tried cutting up some paper towel with scissors and taped it onto my face. does that sound stupid or what? well, that was the only thing i could think of! i finally thought of a better way. i took a really long sock and tied it around my face.

i started blindfolding myself and playing my favorite selections. my left hand became a little bit of trouble because i found out that it was hard to "feel" where the base notes on beat 1 and the chords on beat 2 were. it was easier to play the chords on beat 2. beat 1 in stride gave me a little bit more of trouble. it's not easy to hit the right base notes on beat 1. if i am supposed to play a c on beat 1, i might for example, hit a b, a d or an e instead.  

the only thing that i don't agree with is that when you give your performance in a bar, you won't have enough time to "feel" where the keys are located. you are just going to have to wish the best out of your performance.

i have always used my left hand's pinky for hitting the base notes on beat 1. i thought maybe if i used a different fingering, than i would more likely be able to "feel" where the base note of that chord is.
that blindfold seems like a lot of work when you can just close your eyes?
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
blindfolding is better than just closing your eyes because when you practice closing your eyes while playing on the piano, you'll be more focused on closing your eyes than playing the piano.
good point, but only true for some people. i know in my case it's not a chore to close my eyes while playing, that's how they wind up naturally unless i think about keeping them open.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
you could try this:

https://www.jumpusa.com/dspecs.htm

it blocks the view downward, so you can't see even if you do look. i used them years ago in my basketball training to practice keeping my head up while dribbling. i had them laying around and they can be used for this as well.

thanks,
ryan
interesting....
ah, yes, the striking similarities between jazz pianists and ballas'.
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