Do You Ever Close Your Eyes When Playing?

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Since I was a kid, I always liked to close my eyes and walk. It's both exhilarating and a bit scary because you might get hurt.

There are two versions of the game, 1) open your eyes only randomly and at long intervals. Try to judge the distances and keep in mind a mental picture of what you're about to walk though and 2) It's also really fun to find a really big field, close your eyes and just walk out into it with abandon. At some point I like to open them and see where in the field I ended up and if I kept going straight ahead or not.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, for a few seconds quite frequently, because I feel that it allows me to get a better feel for the music, the harmony, the metrics, check if all players are "in tune". It all flows - I open my eyes lookt at the band and we all have and sense that inner smile that is so satisfying. Your open eyes can distract you from all that.
 
In a non-related eye closure topic.


I am a Surfer and a Bodyboarder.

When you are "Getting Barreled" on a body-board, which means that you are inside the Tube of the wave, you close your eyes until you leave the barrel and complete the ride.

Amongst board riders, this is called doing a Stevie Wonder
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
If its a song I really enjoy i tend to loose myself in it and close my eyes. But never through a case of tiredness or anything. I mostly keep my eyes open though for communicating with the rest of the band.
The same for me, I close them sometimes but most of the time, I like to have an eye contact with the bass player / guitarist.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
If its a song I really enjoy i tend to loose myself in it and close my eyes. But never through a case of tiredness or anything. I mostly keep my eyes open though for communicating with the rest of the band.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
It depends who I'm playing with. When you have extroverts in the band everyone looks silly if you're tuned out while they are trying to communicate on stage. But if you're jamming with eye closers then it's nice to either drift off too - or laugh at how they look while they're blissing out :)
 

Icetech

Gold Member
My eyes are closed most of the time unless i'm just doing rudiments and watching tv or something. but playing they are closed.. my biggest fear is that i will open them and someone will be standing in front of my kit. i will have a heart attack..
 

Florian

Gold Member
Yeah all the time. I'd prefer not to but it became a habit for a few reasons. One is that I used to play in the dark so as to practise being able to hit any part of the kit without needing to see it (muscle memory). Another is that when you're trying to hear your playing as you play (not just physically feel your playing) it can help with concentration here. Also on stage quite often bright flashing lights can be really distracting and jarring with your rhythm. And finally, just sometimes you need to 'center' yourself like if you've had a bad start to a gig or are not feeling quite settled yet.

Ideal lights would be something not too bleachingly bright and with little change. Really bright lights tend to ruin a gig for me. Strobes are fine for really energetic pieces of course. I can see why miles Davis experimented with different lighting during the recording of Kind of Blue. It can have a huge affect on playing and mood.
there is some kismet here. I do the same for about the same reasons. I like closing my eyes as it is more comfortable for me in regards to feel and hearing. Our stage set has lights on me as wash from behind as well as coloring from the front, so it gets tiring on my eyes to look ahead. In response I will either close my eyes or stare at my drums, which looks bad IMO, so I usually just close em and enjoy the gig.

F
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Only when things are really in the pocket for all the players and it feels "effortless" can I close my eyes, but I do like to do it.

Typically, though, I watch whomever is "leading" the part so I don't miss any cue or body language. Once you've been playing for a while you can watch a guitar player or what have you and tell basically by his posture and movements if there's a big change coming up or he's comfortable with the tempo or is ready to come out of that solo.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
Yes, I do it nearly every time I play. We played six songs at church this morning, and I closed my eyes a few times. I could probably play that kit blindfolded. Peace and goodwill.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I close my eyes if I'm in a shitty band so I don't have to look at the crowd's reaction (or lack of crowd).
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Closing your eyes frees up considerable brain power, because your brain doesn't have to process complex visual images. If I could, I'd close my eyes the entire time. Playing drums is twice as easy for me with my eyes closed.
 

Stitch Kaboodle

Senior Member
Yeah all the time. I'd prefer not to but it became a habit for a few reasons. One is that I used to play in the dark so as to practise being able to hit any part of the kit without needing to see it (muscle memory). Another is that when you're trying to hear your playing as you play (not just physically feel your playing) it can help with concentration here. Also on stage quite often bright flashing lights can be really distracting and jarring with your rhythm. And finally, just sometimes you need to 'center' yourself like if you've had a bad start to a gig or are not feeling quite settled yet.

Ideal lights would be something not too bleachingly bright and with little change. Really bright lights tend to ruin a gig for me. Strobes are fine for really energetic pieces of course. I can see why miles Davis experimented with different lighting during the recording of Kind of Blue. It can have a huge affect on playing and mood.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
If it's going really well and I'm playing at a level where I don't have to think about anything mechanical, I do tend to have that "out of body" experience where I can enjoy the music. Occasionally that leads to eye closing, although more often than not it leads to me getting to look at the audience a bit more closely than normal, and feeding off their energy (which is almost always high if I'm feeling it going this well).
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
yeah I pretty much have my eyes closed the whole time I'm playing. I tend to just open them at the end of the song to look at the lead guitarist so we can end it together.
 

newoldie

Silver Member
Jack DeJohnette routinely closes his eyes as I've seen on his videos dating from '85 to 2014. His eyes are often closed whether keeping time or doing fills.

I tried doing this a few times while practicing and realized my bearings were a bit off without sight.

I don't feel any benefit, maybe if I kept at it, it would allow a deeper appreciation of the feel of whatever is being played.?.

Guitar players always seem to be able to do this, their hands cover a smaller area of real estate.
 
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