What to Say When Performing On Stage

When performing, it is important to know when to talk, what to say, and when to stop talking. If you are uncomfortable speaking in public, then plan and practice a few key things to share with your audience. You can welcome everyone, share some interesting facts about some of the songs before you play them and take a minute to introduce the band.

If you are comfortable speaking, keep it to a minimum. People sometimes want to feel free to just sit talk and passively listen to the music. Not everyone wants to engage when there is live entertainment. Keep in mind, if people aren't applauding and/or interacting with the band it doesn't mean that they aren't enjoying the music. They may be there to engage in conversation with a friend or family member. A band’s number one job is to make sure everyone is enjoying their night out.

The audience also doesn't need to know the history of every song before it is played. Be sure not to overwhelm the audience with constant dead air just to mention the group’s name and contact information. The best thing is to have business cards available for them to take away if they are interested in staying in touch the group.

When introducing the members of the band, do it once during the course of the evening. Exceptions to this may be when a member of the group is taking a special solo and or playing a unique instrument and you want to acknowledge their performance.

If you are planning to play some original material, it is not necessary to tell everyone why you wrote the song and or the emotional story behind the song. Truthfully, no one cares. If people in the audience are connecting with you, they will be sure to find a way to learn more details about the band and your original material.

Sometimes our role as musicians is to set the mood of the room, not to be the center of attention. If you are able to create some comedic moments and the room is right for that, go for it. If this isn't something you are comfortable with, don't force trying to tell jokes.

Most bands play 3 or 4 sets throughout the evening and it's pretty standard to welcome people back and mention the name of the group at the beginning of each set. It is even better to be playing quietly during the introduction. Just be sure to keep these moments brief and get right back to performing.

Some bands will play a closing song. They will usually say their “goodbyes” and “thank you’s” where there might normally be a solo played. It's a nice way to end the evening.

If you are interesting and talented, don't worry. Your audience will seek you out. They will want to know how to stay in touch with you. Don't spend a lot of air time over-promoting. This can turn people off. Always remember that this night is about them, not you. Your number one job is to make your audience happy.

Until next time....Keep playing music!

-Lisa Leitl - MU Columnist
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