“All musicians should be able to address audiences confidently.”
–The Musician’s Way, p. 176
Speaking from the stage can work wonders to enhance audience-performer rapport.
Here are six speaking tips for musicians, from Chapter 9 of The Musician’s Way.
1. Speak First
If you plan to greet listeners at the start of a concert, speak immediately following applause rather than deferring until you finish setting up and tuning.
2. Welcome, Inform & Entertain
Welcome your listeners, give an overview of your program, and then intersperse spoken tidbits throughout your show. Connect to people’s emotions by sharing evocative stories; avoid dry data along the lines of composer birth dates.
3. Manage your Delivery
Speak with ample volume and clarity, pause slightly between phrases, and shift your gaze among different areas of the audience. Even if you rehearse every word, speak in ways that sound unscripted. In unamplified classical concerts, if your voice doesn’t carry well, use a mic.
4. Be Congenial but Concise
Audiences attend concerts to hear music, not monologues.
5. Be Yourself
It’s your distinctive personality that attracts listeners, so project your true self – your doing so can also help quell any nervousness that you may feel.
If speaking from the stage seems alien to you, don’t be intimidated. With practice, your on-stage manner, like your smile, will become a genuine expression of who you are.
See Parts I & II of The Musician’s Way for inclusive performance-preparation guidelines.