Everybody who sings has a different way that they like to perform. Something that stays the same across the board is that many singers close their eyes, most often when they are at an emotional climax in a song. Though it’s normal to see, you might wonder why vocal artists do this. So, why do singers close their eyes?
The main reason that singers close their eyes is for focus. It allows them to turn off one of their senses and drive their energy into the singing. Closed eyes will enable you to focus on your other senses, allowing singers to become part of their music.
Read on to learn more about why singers close their eyes as they perform. We will go over some of the science behind the auditory focus and learn about a few other reasons why this event occurs when these artists perform.
The Main Reasons Why a Singer Closes Their Eyes
There are many reasons a singer might choose to close their eyes in the middle of a performance. It does not matter if that’s in front of a million people or inside their own homes. Though the decreased sensory intake is the main one, there are others too.
- Focus: The singer might close their eyes to focus on the words and song rather than the outside world around them, the audience spectating, or their gaze if they are at home. It can help them to focus their senses on the song rather than visual distractions.
- Absorption: The singer wants to take in every change and shift in the harmony they can, drawing on the deeply rooted emotion in the song. Closing their eyes might help them to take in the feelings in the lyrics.
- Relaxation: Closing their eyes might help a singer to relax, as they don’t have to focus on the eyes that are staring at them. Nerves are common on stage, and this can help to decrease the stressful intake of stimuli.
We’ll discuss each of these in more detail. Then we will learn about the effect that closing the eyes has on a singer. You might be surprised at the strong impact that this simple act has.
To Focus on the Words and the Song
The main reason why singers close their eyes, as stated above, is because it allows them to focus. By cutting off the vision, the brain isn’t constantly bombarded with visual imagery that it must then take and then process. The focus of the brain can rely solely on the ears.
There is a science to this. Limiting the senses stimulates the brain to kick others into overdrive to compensate for the loss. The singer can then:
- Immerse themselves: This permits them to dive into the other senses that sight is taking away from, reducing what the brain is required to process in a short amount of time.
- Call on memory: A singer might use this technique to recall previous practice sessions and focus on getting every word and pause in the right spots as they go through the song.
- Channel the performance: They can shut out the rest of the world so that they don’t become distracted by what’s going on around them, zoning in on the task at hand.
There are a variety of benefits that impact focus that can come from this simple action. If you see a singer closing their eyes in a song, the chances are that it’s for this very reason. However, they might have another motivation for blocking out their vision in the middle of a performance.
To Absorb the Power of the Song
Sometimes, a singer closing their eyes might be something even more straightforward. They could be attempting to absorb the power of the music and channel it into whatever they are performing.
As stated with the previous reason, pushing away visual senses can allow the singer to focus on the task at hand. This focus applies to the emotion of the song as well. Without visual distractions, the singer can take it all in. This will assist them in:
- Understanding the song’s depth: Singing the music as if it were a story, rather than going through the motions.
- Layering emotions: Without distractions, the singer can focus on the feelings intertwined in the lyrics and the melody. This enables a quality performance.
- Going on a vocal journey: When the vocalist can take in the song’s entirety, they can successfully go on the vocal trip that the lyrics and melody provide. The singer can visualize it as they create their art.
Closing the eyes allows the artist to experience the highs and lows that they should during a performance. Like acting, a singer can play the part onstage that they need to draw both audience and them into the story.
To Ease Their Nerves
A less common reason singers might close their eyes during a song is to ease any nerves that might have taken over onstage. Any performer is familiar with the jitters that come with singing, particularly in the first few performances.
The simple act of closing one’s eyes can help with this to a tremendous extent. This assistance is due to the outside stimuli that the brain must process. As with the previous two items, shutting these down can allow the singer to focus on themself.
Closing their eyes do to a sensation of anxiety can:
- Spark reality: This can bring the singer back down to earth, away from the intrusive distractions anxiety can cause.
- Slow the heart rate: When a singer closes their eyes, the outside stimuli shrink. This action can cause the breath to slow and the heart rate to decrease. Nerves will lessen from this point on.
Though many singers use their nerves as a format of performance adrenaline, this anxiousness happens often. Closing their eyes can help a performer rid themselves of any intrusive thoughts that they might be experiencing.
Is This Technique Effective for Performance?
After taking in all of this information, one might wonder if closing one’s eyes work well in performance. Many advise against it, stating that it’s an overused act that needs to go away. For some, it seems to be more of a performance than something that benefits the singing.
Here’s another perspective on this:
This choice depends on the individual singer. Closing one’s eyes while singing can help out with:
- Staying calm
- Focusing on the music
- Feeling the depth of the song
However, there are also some drawbacks to closing one’s eyes as they are singing. While shutting their eyes, a singer might:
- Lose connection with the audience that they are singing to
- Distract themselves from the ability to read the room and act according to the response from those watching
- Forget what they are doing
- Come off as ingenuine while they’re singing
These negatives should not drive a singer from closing their eyes as they perform. Singing in front of an expectant audience is a monumental task. Whatever works for a performer is what they should use, without giving in and using outside advice from those who do not experience the same thing.
When a singer closes their eyes, you can assume that they’re doing it for one of many reasons. They may be focusing, taking in the music, or trying to ease a case of anxiety. You might even be able to see the focus take over when this happens on stage or in your own home.
Whatever the reason is, you know that they’re trying to make the musical experience as excellent as they possibly can. It’s an effective method and works for any musician, no matter the experience level.