The art of taking notes is a field of its own. How many times have we all said either, “Oh, I never remember jokes” or “I should write that down, that’s great!” when we’ve heard something outrageous or amusing? A big part of my performance has always been to communicate with an audience or radio listener…or in this case, the reader. The goal of the art form called performance is to ultimately capture, rivet, or at a minimum, maintain the audience, listener or reader’s attention.
If it’s your personal experience you are sharing, chances are pretty good that someone else has had that same or at least similar experience, perhaps in a peripheral sense. In other words, something like that, but not exactly, happened to them but they can still relate. Better yet, they might wonder, “Did that really happen?”!
The singer-songwriter shares interpretations of stories set to music in a concise manner with the lyrics telling the tale and a chorus after each stanza repeating the point of the story. The storywriter or storyteller should assure the audience that the story’s journey will eventually reach its destination and that the listener will not get lost. Too often folks tend to either ramble on and on, drift askew, or simply fail to generate interest in the listener. For a performer to forget the welfare of their listener can be the kiss of death for an effective set.
Just as sound quality, attire, eye contact (or not), song selection, and pacing are key to an effective performance, momentum is still, in my experience, absolutely key to maintaining a good show. When telling stories it is important to have a well thought out palette of dynamics to include word choice, inflection, timing, expression, just as you might in music as you develop your repertoire of verbal communications with an audience.
Another major key is to have a great filter and be as cautious and artistic as you select your verbal performance voice the same way you do while developing your musical performance voice. Often times I actually pay attention to occurrences during a show that may lend themselves to another future performance.
I always try to have a scrap of paper or notebook and pen handy to swipe these little gems offered up before they have a chance to drift from my conscious mind. I’ve even stopped in the middle of a set to write something down if it just can’t wait and it’s undeniably and absolutely hilarious, like the time during a Q and A session with some 1st graders at a school program when one of the little tykes asked, “Are most of the people who like the music you play dead?”
Originally posted 2011-02-01 18:13:25.