Improving your speaking skills between songs

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How to improve your onstage banter3 steps to better stage banter at your next show

Lots of musicians are comfy-cozy when it comes to playing through their songs on stage, but they freeze up when they have to tell a story, thank the crowd, draw attention to merch, or ask for email signups.

I’ve been one of those artists myself. In fact, I felt like I had a few “uhhh, what should I say now?” moments at my gig this past Friday night.

For artists like me who feel like the between-song banter is the hard part, Wade Sutton of Rocket to the Stars has posted a series of videos (embedded below) all about the art of talking to your audience.

Individually, they’re on the long-side for your average YouTube video — about 15 minutes each. But I think they’re worth watching, as Wade expounds on three main points:

1. You should practice your storytelling, jokes, banter, and calls-to-action as part of your rehearsal

2. You should NOT memorize your on-stage dialog verbatim

3. You should pay careful attention to your sentence structure and put the most important, resonant, hilarious, or heartbreaking phrases at the END of your monologues (or dialogs)

Anyways, that’s an oversimplified summary of his advice.

Check out his videos below for more details and examples, plus an explanation of WHY these things are crucial to putting on a good show.

How have you improved your speaking skills between songs? Let me know in the comments below.

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  • ontheforum

    After playing hundreds of shows over the years, I realize how important this information is for any musician who wants to connect more with their audience. Rehearsing, and taking the time to consider how to interact is something that can make such a difference, and make more fans at the same time. Having things to say between songs, when done right will create memories about you to people who might otherwise forget about your performance.

    I still remember a story Jewel told when I saw her in concert about 9 years ago. It was about a really sweaty fan who put his arm around her while taking a photo. Years later, I still can picture that happening in my mind.

    Warm Regards,

    3000 Records

    • Thanks, Terrance! That is a great story about Jewel!

  • Yeah, and it’s good to also remember that the things you say between songs don’t necessarily have to relate to the songs themselves. It could just be a good story from your life that will be memorable.


  • SLinSeattle

    Great info here; good fundamental stuff that will definitely help beginners and even experienced players. Thanks!

    • Thanks! Glad to hear you found it so useful!

  • Zach Thalman

    I think everyone should try this even if they aren’t planning on being some sort of public speaker. I know I could really benefit by practicing speaking to others because I sometimes struggle to use good language especially since I am bilingual and mix up the grammar of the two languages. I know that there are quite a few methods to help you practice speaking that work well. It just all comes down to finding something that I can work with and see progress from.