Make a Connection

AG 218 February 2011

Posted by Ruth Parry

The invisible line between performer and audience is a barrier that, for most musicians, is best to break. Making a connection with your listeners and engaging them is important for a few reasons. First of all, you will have more fun during your performance, but the audience will also enjoy themselves more (and your tip jar will reflect that). Additionally, you’ll increase the chance that the person who hired you will call you back. These tips will help you and your audience have a good time. 

1. Look ’em in the eye and smile.

It sounds like advice from the vaudeville era, but it holds true today. If you’re reading a piece of music, don’t bury your head in the music stand. Look up and notice the people around you and smile. Audiences typically desire to make a connection with performers, and the simple act of looking them in the eye and smiling can begin that process.

2. Tell a story.

Tell the audience the story behind the song you’re playing. If it’s an original song, share what inspired you to write it. If it’s a cover tune, talk about the first time you heard the song and/or what inspired you to learn it. Perhaps the writer of the song had a special impact on you. Provide a short background story of your experience. When you let the audience in, they connect with the music more.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar, February 2011

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