Where do your eyes glance when you play?

Posted: 7/13/2012 8:01:11 AM

From: Small town Missouri on Rt 66

Joined: 2/27/2011

I remember piano lessons from my youth (just after the dinosaurs died).

My instructor was always reminding me to stop watching my hands.

Not so long ago, a virtuoso guitar player was giving me some pointers, and he told me to stop watching my hands.

The man has been blind since childhood.

How did he know?


Posted: 7/13/2012 1:01:17 PM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

haha that is funny!!! Trust me they know.

Posted: 7/13/2012 9:41:04 PM

From: Nashville, TN, USA

Joined: 12/22/2011

When I play I usually stare at the cedar post 4 or 5 feet behind my pitch rod...I keep the pitch rod in my unfocused near vision.  I think this helps me keep my upper body still when I play, since I can use the alignment of the near antenna and the more distant cedar post to make sure I'm not swaying...My eyes help my brain keep my body in one position....I think this is why it's so hard to play with one's eyes closed....I have also been told that I make odd faces when I play, probably involuntarily because of my intense focus on trying to play in tune...It may be that if I ever play in public I will have to wear a bag over my head to avoid creating an unplanned secondary performance....Plus, it will help to beautify my surroundings....  :-)

Posted: 10/14/2012 3:03:21 AM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Right now, I just stare into the void and try to find my zone in which I feel "one" with the theremin. That's the only way I can deliver something decent haha

Posted: 11/24/2012 8:42:25 PM
Joe Max

From: Oakland, California

Joined: 1/2/2009

Late to the conversation and been away for a while, but I noticed this post because I had just been thinking about this.

Due to busyness and traveling a lot, I've not been playing much lately, but started practicing again last week. Thankfully I don't seem to have gotten too rusty (like the old saying of never forgetting how to ride a bicycle.) But it I found myself as more of an "observer" of my playing than before my hiatus, which is probably temporary but interesting.

And one of the things I noticed was that I've never looked at my hands much since my early days trying to learn - in fact I suddenly realized that, looking back, it was after I stopped watching my hands that everything "clicked" and I started getting the hang of it.

It seems counter-intuitive - since the position in space is so important, visual feedback should be useful. But watching my hands seems to make the subtle moves (like half-step note bending, which I do with my pinky) overshoot the pitch.

Somebody here mentioned "theremin stare" and yeah, that is what happens. I'm staring off into space but not really LOOKING at anything.

Posted: 8/4/2015 2:37:56 PM

Joined: 8/4/2015

When I play bass with my band, I notice my drummer looking up and to the left. If this were an Oliver Stone film I would say he was dying, but I checked his pulse, looked for a gaping head wound, and asked him, "He man, whatcha lookin at?


He said he didn`t know. Thinking about this I realized I was looking down and to the left. At what though, I have no idea.











Posted: 8/5/2015 2:38:20 AM

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

I usually look towards the clock across the room from me and while paying slight attention to my hands in my peripheral vision as well. Strangely I tend to play better when I am slightly blue or thinking of a lost loved one.  When I get into that zone my intuitive movements kick in and it seems that the instrument is almost playing itself. 

Posted: 8/5/2015 4:31:18 PM

From: Cleveland, Ohio

Joined: 12/21/2014

Interesting question -- I realized that if I'm practicing a technical exercise on theremin, I will often be looking at my right hand.  If I'm playing a song, I get this kind of glazed mid-range stare on my face -- I'm thinking about the music.  I've been told I make rather odd shapes w/my mouth when I play -- I think I am unconsciously singing along in my throat...I'd rather not make faces while I play, but I'd also rather not be thinking about what my face looks like at this early stage.  I do believe even with the stare, I'm keeping an eye on the right hand through peripheral vision.


Posted: 8/5/2015 10:45:45 PM

From: Scotland

Joined: 9/27/2012

I tend to look anywhere and everywhere except at my hands but unlike when I play the fiddle or blues harp, don't close my eyes.












Posted: 8/6/2015 1:47:40 PM

From: Oak Harbor, WA

Joined: 12/26/2013

I video taped my practice performance of "Cannon in D." Saw I close my eyes about four measures into this and any other song. Probably because in my head, I'm looking at the sheet music in my eye lids. LOL! Go figure.

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