Should you look at your fingers when playing guitar?

The answer is both yes and no. The goal is to be able to play guitar without looking at your hands. Relying on your eyes to guide you will put you at a significant advantage which I will explain. The only time you will want to look at your hands is when you are first learning to ensure your technique is correct. Look at your hands as you place them on the neck or learn to pick or strum. Work at repeating without looking each time to see how you went and then correcting. You can try practicing in front of a mirror and then try videoing yourself to analyze and correct. So why is your goal is to play without looking? Firstly on the guitar you are coordinating between two hands and relying on your eyes will slow you down. Every chord change and every note would require you to be checking each hand. The second reason you want to feel and listen to what you are playing and that is best done using your ears not your eyes. The third reason is that hopefully your goal is to play with other musicians and for an audience. You therefore want to keep your eyes available for making eye contact with your band members and your audience. A good way to learn to play guitar without looking at your eyes is to get your teacher to guide you. Eg. Try playing a chord without looking at your fingers and get your teacher to give you feedback as you go. The will help you to develop your mind’s eye. David J Hart

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