View Full Version : To look or not to look?

02-25-2011, 11:57 PM
Hello everyone.
I'm still a beginner and was wondering, is it better when practicing to look at your fingers or try not to?


Hippie Dribble
02-26-2011, 12:36 AM
hi Olivah

keep looking until they start to go where they're meant to automatically. They call it 'muscle memory' and after you've been practicing awhile your fingers will automatically shape the formations and move into position almost instinctively. But as you're just starting out, give yourself a break and watch them initially mate... :)

02-26-2011, 01:04 AM
thank you Eugene!

02-26-2011, 03:03 AM
I agree with Eugene. I've had a uke for 60 years and am just starting to get serious. I had to "start over" and am going through the same thing you are. I can see the "muscle memory" growing each day, slowly, but daily. Just keep on playing....and if you haven't discovered Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp, suggest you start with those exercises. Better approach for me at least than my uke books.

02-26-2011, 03:06 AM
thank you Phil.
"Boot camp" sounds a bit military?

02-26-2011, 05:12 AM
I am a big believer that when you are learning, you need all the help you can get. Looking at finger placement when starting is not unusual, and if it helps you then do it. You will eventually just "get it" and be able to change eyes closed

02-26-2011, 06:32 AM
It's probably better to keep looking for now until your brain gets the motions down completely, but deliberately not looking every once in a while to challenge yourself could be a good exercise, too.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
02-26-2011, 06:35 AM
Agreed, looking at what your fingers need to be doing is mandatory at the beginning. Otherwise progress will be hampered and take too long.

That being said, however, for those who have been practicing the same songs/chords for some time now, I suggest that it's time to forego looking at your chord-forming fingers and let muscle memory take over.

In the beginning things are difficult so look at what you're doing.

After a while, it becomes prudent to trust the results of your diligent work and shift your focus of attention to other matters.

My 2 cents... for now. lol : )

keep uke'in',

02-26-2011, 06:40 AM
thanks everyone.

02-26-2011, 11:09 AM
Isn't that why they put the little dots on there?

02-26-2011, 02:47 PM
I would say look at the very beginning but try to develop the "memory" as quickly as possible. For some of us, the only way to develop the "muscle memory" is to begin looking away.

Finally, you'll never build the proper "muscle memory" if you change the position of the uke to see the fingerboard. I.e., when looking, keep the uke "upright" and lean forward over it to see the string positioning, don't turn the face of the uke up to make it easier to see the fingerings. If you do the latter you'll be developing the "wrong" muscle memory and you'll never get up to speed.


02-26-2011, 05:16 PM
Yeah, what he said... and from what I see, even the best players look at their hands from time to time.
I just taught myself to play two easy tunes with my eyes shut.
Next: one hand tied behind my back!