Sing Better: Engage Your Audience

Singers, you are the host of the evening --says Mark Baxter

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The Singer is the host

In this episode, Mark explains that singers should not fall into the trap of believing they must be either one of two extremes: the wallpaper or the life of the party. Singers don’t have to be either – they simply need to see themselves as the host of the evening. You wouldn’t invite a bunch of guest over to your house for a party, then right when they all arrive, says, “Well, what should we do?” As host, you are the guide. It’s never the audience’s job to set the tone and the vibe. You are not entitled to their attention just because you are standing on a stage – you have to work for it.

Adapt to the size of your audience

Nothing is more awkward than singer who is in denial and who is acting like there is a big audience when really there are only 8-12 people sitting there. Mark explains that in smaller venues, singers should see that the entire venue is your stage, and the minute you enter the venue, you must begin your job as host. If the audience has only 9 people, you should know everyone’s name and what kind of day they had before you begin singing.

Know if you are a charismatic or personable host

Your job is to let your audience know that their enjoyment is so important to you, you are willing to go out on a limb. You may be a charismatic person who loves being the life of the party. You might pull an audience member by the hand on to the dance floor. The risk is, you are left exposed if they don’t go along, but it’s ok, because you have shown your honest desire for them have a good time. If you are an introvert, like many singers are, then your job is to be personable and caring – share something honest about your day or your experience. It’s interesting to see someone be an open book about their life! Just remember, it doesn’t work to try to be someone you are not.

Watch out for spoilers

Your connection to a song, a little history, or a story about how you lost your keys today can become the perfect song introduciton. When introducing a song to your audience, don’t fall into the trap of explaining the whole meaning of the song. That’s a spoiler – that’s blowing the punch line! Tell a story, give some background, but let the audience figure out the song’s meaning for themselves. It is exciting to watch another person take risks and become vulnerable. No matter what your genre or venue, people are still people, and we love stories.

Send the message, “I see you”

Your job is to acknowledge your audience. Thank them for being there. If you are telling a story and even if only one person is listening to you, speak to him or her like they are your friend. Focus is infectious, and before you know it your interaction with one audience member will draw the attention of others. Whether it’s by chatting one-on-one between sets, or shouting out, “Hey, woman in the blue jacket! I see you! You look like you want to get up and dance!” there are many ways to show your audience their enjoyment matters.

What is Sing Better?

Sing Better is the podcast that let’s you power up your vocal development with legendary vocal coach, Mark Baxter. Mark gives you the insight you need on becoming a singer, earning money, vocal health, gear and technique.

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