Playing with your eyes closed.

TheGroceryman

Silver Member
I find that when my eyes close subconsciously, two things happen. 1. I am really really in the zone, and my playing is always much better than normal, and 2. I tend to listen much more intently on the players around me rather than my own playing. It's sort of like my playing goes on autopilot while i can listen to others. It hasn't hurt me yet, and it feels real good so i guess i wont be stopping any time soon.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I've heard that the reason it feels so good when your eyes are closed is that it frees up a large percentage of the processing power in your brain. It takes a good deal of your brains' resources to process visual information suppoesdly. When you free up all those extra resources, all of a sudden, you have more brainpower (and we can all use as much as we get!) to allocate to playing your instrument. However, missing cues is a major embarrasment and looks so ameteur, plus I believe that the audience much prefers it if they can see your eyes open, like you're present and accounted for not off in LaLaLand, so I try my best to keep the eyes open as much as I can. During any drum solo's is when I give myself permission to close them so I can get the benefit of more brain power, because Lord knows I need as much help as I can get during solos. But otherwise they're open as much as possible.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i'm a notorious eye closer and for me it's a bad habit i've been trying to break for quite a while now. i used to close my eyes so much it was problem. i can groove just fine with my eyes closed, but sometimes i'll miss cymbals and that's embarrassing! i also need to keep them open to watch other band members to see where they're going with the song. another embarrassing thing was there were so many pictures of me at shows with my eyes closed, i was becoming the butt of fan teasing. so for me, it's better leave my eyes open, even though my natural tendency is to close them.
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
I've heard that the reason it feels so good when your eyes are closed is that it frees up a large percentage of the processing power in your brain. It takes a good deal of your brains' resources to process visual information suppoesdly. When you free up all those extra resources, all of a sudden, you have more brainpower (and we can all use as much as we get!) to allocate to playing your instrument.
this is very true, i only close my eyes druing personal practice sessions, or when im learning particularly hards parts and it really seems to help me really focus on the movements of my limbs when my eyes are closed. for some reason it reminds me of star trek,

"Reroute all power from weapons and engines to main sheilds! We've got an inverted accented paradiddle at 12 o" clock!"
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I believe that the audience much prefers it if they can see your eyes open, like you're present and accounted for not off in LaLaLand
I agree, tho I like bobdadruma's solution - wear shades :) Since I wear glasses, once the lights are glaring off my specs no one can see my eyes - bonus!

Sometimes a drummer off in LaLaLand can look pretty cool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl3AXgyzYgs#t=03m16s ... although in the crucial, complex moments he sneaks a peek or two ...

One thing I like about closing my eyes is I'm much less self-aware. It's as though I don't exist ... as much. That makes me feel more at one with the music. If I was playing music as a job I would try to avoid it, though. Risk management and all that ...
 
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Aeolian

Platinum Member
Need to be careful of that too. It helps me listen and hear everything that's going on, but (especially with blues), watching folks is really important. Also, as folks said, it's easier to get someone's attention and to lock in with what they're doing with your eyes open.

There are folks out there, like Tom Politzer of TOP who I've played with, who can lock eyes with you and transmit rhythmic figures though some sort of telepathy.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I noticed at last night's rehearsal that I played about half-half. I often look at our singer's expressions to see if what I'm doing is working for him. That doesn't work on stage, though.
 
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