Why you should NEVER sing entire songs with your eyes closed (part 1)

It’s a very common thing to see Gospel singers do their entire selection with their eyes closed. And honestly, most have very good reason for doing so.  After all, Gospel music is ministry. As such, many well-meaning singers simply want to completely lose themselves in the song and it’s meaning. Their thinking is if they close their eyes and focus completely on God and the message, God will use them to bless the audience. Some others though, close their eyes simply out of fear, nerves or stage fright.

Either way though, singing with your eyes closed the entire time is something every singer should avoid. Ironically the very reason many singers close their eyes is the most important reason they should STOP doing it. Have you ever been in a social setting with two or more people who are having this intense conversation and not involving or addressing you at all? It’s as if you’re not there!
Singing with your eyes closed has a similar effect on your audience. Even though every sincere Gospel singer wants to have a powerful, effective ministry that really speaks to people, closing your eyes cuts your audience out of that conversation and makes it a private conversation between just you and God. The audience, even though many may be enjoying the performance, is robbed of a much deeper connection with you because you’ve made them an outsider “looking in”.

But when you sing with your eyes open- and sorry guys, starring at the ceiling or the clock on the back wall doesn’t count either- I’m talking about making eye contact with members of the audience- people feel a much deeper spiritual connection with not only you but the message you’re portraying in the song. Imagine for a moment that you’re in the audience watching a performer sing. He’s great, and clearly fully invested emotionally and spiritually in the song he’s rendering. His eyes are closed the whole time. You hear him sing “sometimes you have to encourage yourself”, and you nod in agreement as you sway back in forth.

NOW: Imagine the same artist is doing the same song. He sounds great and the spirit is high. He’s engaging and looking at members of the audience as he sings. Just as he comes to the line “no matter how you feel, speak a Word and you will be healed”, his eyes make contact with yours and he points at you. This time tears begin to flow because you KNOW God is delivering a Word directly to you through this artist.

That’s the difference. When you engage with the audience while you’re singing, your message is much more powerful because you allow God to speak directly to them through you. And that’s the whole point of it all, isn’t it?

Now let me just clarify something really quickly. When I say you shouldn’t sing with your eyes closed, I mean just what I said above; that is, not for the entire song. There are moments in a song where it’s perfectly normal to close your eyes for a moment during a high energy or emotionally charged point in the message. Worship songs are also a bit of an exception to this rule of thumb. Typically when you’re singing a worship song it’s being done in an atmosphere or time of corporate worship. As such, most of the audience will also have their eyes closed…..in a perfect world. But we all know that’s not often the case even during worship songs.

Worship songs are different in that they’re really designed to set an atmosphere for worship and communion with God. It’s a lot like the background music at a really nice restaurant. Even so, while it’s maybe more acceptable to close your eyes longer or more often in a worship song, it’s still just as important to be sure to make eye contact with members of the audience from time to time.

Ok so we’ve established that it’s not a good idea to sing entire songs (or even most of a song) with your eyes closed. But singing with your eyes open comes with its own challenges. In part 2  I’m going to share a really neat performance tip you can use to make it easier to and highly effective.

See you then!

Image courtesy of “imagerymajestic”FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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13 Responses to Why you should NEVER sing entire songs with your eyes closed (part 1)

  1. alyce says:

    So, it wasn’t a worship song, but the Star Spangled Banner! Seriously? Eyes closed, on national television, for the entire song? Just, ‘no!’
    Echoing my previous response to this article over 3 yrs ago, “Amen!”

  2. Cheryl says:

    Thank you so much for this info!! I purposely googled this because I sang a solo at a homegoing service today and my eyes were closed the ENTIRE song. When I was done, it really bother me that I did that. I didn’t want to look at the grieving mother in fear I would cry and mess up the song but I sure could have looked elsewhere. Thanks again for this I’m going to read part 2. Bless you for your insight!

  3. Pingback: 3 simple ways to instantly connect deeper with your audience when you sing - The Music Ministry Coach.com

  4. Pingback: Why you should NEVER sing entire songs with your eyes closed (part 2) - The Music Ministry Coach.com

  5. Karen Gibson says:

    You spoke to me again!! Great information, all of it. The songs mean so much to me but I am ministering to them so I have to connect with them. Thank you!

  6. Nyamsick says:

    Thanks for the advice and the remindal, I caught myself just yesterday still closing my eyes, thank God I am more concious about it right now. It used to seem almost natural to me.

  7. Stephanie D. Etienne says:

    I would close my eyes out of sheer nervousness… It seemed much easier than looking in some of their faces.. This is great information for the amateur and the professional alike..

  8. Penny LeClair says:

    I find that if my eyes are closed and getting lost with God, it really doesn’t matter to me! lol Never gave it a thought. 😉 thanks for the eye opener…no pun intended! 😉 hehe

  9. Olga Hermans says:

    You are so right Ron, I don’t like it when the worship team sings with their eyes closed all the time…there is a disconnection….although we all need to focus on the on we worship, as a worship team we need to send out the massage of the song to the congregation as well.

  10. Alyce Harris says:

    Amen!

  11. denny hagel says:

    Great article! Singing with your eyes closed all of the time would definitely interfere with the connection with the audience!

  12. Traci says:

    LOL @ “staring at the ceiling or the clock on the back wall doesn’t count either” – Something I would do when I was a kid because I was shy, but loved to sing.

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