• IIMS

Speaking the Language of Music


Free Online Public Speaking Class
Thursday 14 May 2020 - 5:30pm UST (1 hour)
Register now at info[at]irishinstituteofmusic.com.


Speaking in public can seem like the scariest thing.


We worry what others might think of us. We risk making a mistake. We don't want to be seen as a fool. We don't want the audience to be bored, to check their phones, to talk amongst themselves. We don't want to be ignored.


Not only does this hurt our own self-confidence; it also hurts our message and ruins the story we were trying to tell. If the story we want to tell is an important one, we have to do our best to command the audience's attention. How do we do that?

These thoughts run through the mind of performers around the world. As musicians, we just get used to the self-doubt and we take those risks. Ultimately, we have to believe those risks are worth it.


Why do we gamble with our dignity?


Before speaking in front of a crowd, it's vital to realise why we're doing it. What is the reason we put ourselves through this anguish, fighting nerves and anxiety to communicate this message?


Usually, it will boil down to the content of what's being said. It has inherent value. It is entertaining, educational, or inspirational.


However, many times the way we tell the story will win over the audience. There are tips and tricks that can be learned, and many of these will transform the way you speak in public.


Maya Angelou was an African-American civil rights activist and writer.


She famously said:

"At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

Funk bass guitarist Victor Wooten from the USA quotes Maya Angelou in the short video below. While demonstrating familiar riffs for a crowd, Wooten explains how the act of playing music "with feeling" often trumps playing with complicated techniques.

Wooten goes on to say that the guitar-playing of B. B. King is not remembered for the technique involved, but for the soul. According to Wooten, B. B. King "played the same 5 notes" but it's how he played those 5 notes that won over his audiences during every single concert he ever gave.


It's not just what you play, but how you play that matters.


It's not just what you say, but how you say it that matters.


Sometimes, we should focus on connecting with the audience instead of trying to impress them. When it comes to public speaking, learning to connect with our audience will make people listen to our story. Public speakers have a lot to learn from the language of music.


Join us on Thursday 14 May for a free online course by registering at info[at]irishinstituteofmusic.com.


You can read more about the IIMS Introduction to Public Speaking course at this link.

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