We all know that feeling that comes over us when your guitarist needs to change a string or tune up and you know you should say something to fill that awkward silence but your mind is blank, you have no words, the tumbleweed is rolling across the floor..you feel eyes boring through you waiting impatiently for the entertainment to commence. It is after all your responsibility to make sure everyone has a good time right? This is something I have struggled with but have started to find ways to combat it. It all comes down to preparation. Below I have shared a few ways to help improve your crowd banter.
10 Tips for better crowd banter
Energy and enthusiasm will keep your audience interested. Don’t leave moments of awkward silence. In these moments, have a something ready to talk about. Prepare what you want to say. Don’t just leave it to chance. We practice our songs, and we should practice our banter also. Study other artists, comedians and public speakers and take note of things that work well for them. Bullet point this information on a flashcard and leave it somewhere that you can glance at it when an opportunity arises.
Mention your band name, and when you are playing next. It is also a good idea to have business cards ready for anyone who shows interest. You will often have people come up to you during or after the gig asking where they can find out where your next gig is.
Find out what the drink promos are on the night and tell the crowd what they are. The bartenders might appreciate this as well. You could say something like ‘It’s time to get another round of drinks in because we’re about to take it up a notch and you won’t want to miss it.’ (This is not usually done at original gigs.)
Enjoy yourself! The audience will pick up on your energy. If they see you enjoying yourself, they will too. If you are having a bad day or are feeling a bit anxious, have a plan in place to get you in good form (like listening to feel good music on your way to the gig or when you’re getting ready.) I talk about having a ritual in another blog post which can apply to gigging also. You can check it out here: https://rebekahsvocalstudio.mymusicstaff.com/Blog?PostID=54074
Speak clearly, stand confidently, make eye contact. (Again, if you are an original artist, lack of eye contact could be part of your stage persona, so not always necessary for you.)
Talk about how great the crowd is tonight, and how you love playing in this venue.
Interact with your bandmates (if you have any). It is intriguing for an audience to watch musicians smiling, laughing and rocking out together.
Engage with the people who are reacting positively to you. If someone or a group of people are singing along, acknowledge them in some way, maybe just a wink, a smile or thank them for singing along.
Announce your ‘last song’, make it a good one. But always have a couple more because you WILL be asked to play on! A quick google search will bring up a list of songs that go down well at pub gigs. But you will discover your own as you gain more experience. An encore can also work quite well for original artists but generally only headline acts do this type of thing.
If the crowd are singing along, wave your hand back and forth or clap for them! Hand gestures can be a good way to communicate.Anything you can do to make your gig more streamlined and entertaining is worth working on. Happy gigging!
Make a checklist of everything you need to prepare for your audition. Below I’ve included a few examples of the type of things you could put on your checklist;
✔️Reply to any emails you get regarding audition before indicated deadline, including all information requested like including your CAO number and dates you will not be available to audition.
✔️Prepare your songs and make sure they fit any criteria requested by college.
✔️ Read audition guidelines & include any important details on your checklist. Like whether you
need to arrange accompaniment, bring a backing track, or choose songs from a prescribed list.
✔️ Practice any technical exercises you might also be asked to perform such as scales, harmonising, or music theory.
✔️ Research your course choice and be prepared to talk about why you are are the right student for the course.
✔️ Bullet point any info you want to talk about in your interview like why you chose the course and any goals you have for the future.
✔️ Mark audition date in your calendar and make sure you request the date off work if you need to.
✔️ Choose your outfit a couple of days BEFORE audition day.
✔️ Plan your journey a few days BEFORE audition and give yourself plenty of time to get there. As a rule of thumb, I usually plan to arrive an hour before I’m due to audition. During this time, I'll sit in my car or find a quiet corner and go over my notes for interview, listen to music to get me in the right head space & grab a tea or a bottle of water. This is your time to get in the zone.
Laughter has a long list of health benefits including physical, and mental health! Laughing releases endorphins (those happy hormones everyone's talking about), reduces stress and anxiety, relaxes your whole body, improves your mood, promotes group bonding AND lucky for us singers, it can actually help you sing better!
Inside our larynx (otherwise known as the voice box) we have what we call vocal folds, which are the source of sound when we speak and sing. On either side of the vocal folds are the false folds, whose main function is to stop food and drink being inhaled into the lungs. The false folds also constrict when we need to lift something heavy for example, covering over the vocal folds in the process. If there is any constriction of the false folds when we are singing however, it may cause strain or interfere with the sound we are trying to produce, stopping us from achieving our singing goals.
Lucky for us we have a quick fix for this, laughter! A good giggle can help release this constriction freeing us up to sing with more ease!
Stand up comedy is probably not on the cards for me, but I’ve been binge watching Netflix comedy specials in hope that I’ll soak up some giggle material with my students in mind! My favourites include Iliza Shlesinger and Ricky Gervais if you fancy a good belly laugh!
Below I have included a couple of links to stroboscopes on youtube (but be warned, you may find them a bit yucky);