Welcome back to the latest instalment of our 'story telling' mini series. Last time we looked at the basic concept of what story telling is and why it is important. If you haven't read it yet and would like to, you can get it here.
This time out lets talk about how we actually go about telling a story. There is an element of practice that will help you master it but the importance of story telling should not be underestimated. As we have discussed what we are ultimately trying to achieve as musicians is to resonate with our audience in a way that sticks with our audience. And yes, as a purist it is so we can perform our art for them and feel good about what we do but the business half of the brain should realise that the more you connect with your audience, the more people talk about you, the more CD's they buy, the more streams on Spotify, and ultimately the more money you make. (sorry to be bringing it all back to the money, but last time we checked, good wishes don't feed people).
So your music tells the audience a tale, transports them, brings them in, but in between songs you may be passing up a golden opportunity to get them in a totally different way.
Silence is not an option I hate to tell you, it looks weird, it is uncomfortable.
Sadly it is also something that sticks in the memory, and not in a good way. Your show includes the spaces in between the noise, and it is important to help your audience retain valuable information, and remember you better than most.
Now when it comes to telling a story many people do not think they have it in them, they do not think they have stories to tell, they don't know how long or short to make a story, what to include. Basically there are a massive number of reasons people give themselves to avoid something they are not good at, kind of like the first time you took a stage and had those jitters, it is uncomfortable at first but then it gets a bit better every time you do it.
In an effort to alleviate some of these concerns we have compiled some tips and tricks on how to make sure your story telling is fast tracked into a better place to help your shows and engagement with your audience.
Step 1: Keep a Journal
Habit is important here. If you do not think that you have stories to tell, try writing things down, every time something out of the ordinary happens, write it down. Before you know it when you look back on things you will see that some pretty interesting stuff happens, and then you just have to adapt it to a stage story. Common things to talk about are difficulties you have overcome, personally, in the band, whatever it is. Obviously funny stories are worth a laugh. But the important thing here is that you keep jotting down what has gone on before and look back on it and think how these stories can be used to accentuate your performance on stage.
Step 2: Match what you want people to do with a story
Stories resonate, we have said it once and we will keep saying it. When a message you are trying to convey to your audience is coupled with a story or even a short anecdote, it becomes much stickier than just the message itself. So say, for example, you want people at your gigs to buy your new T-shirts (you do want people at your gigs to buy your new T-Shirts if that is unclear). You can stand up in between your songs and say "Hey guys, we have new T-shirts, please buy them" or some variant of that sentiment, and we would wager a lot of you reading this relate. Or, there is another way. You look through your book and you find the funny story about when you were designing the artwork and your friend walked in and asked what you were drawing an owl riding a unicycle, but you said....." You get what we mean, and honestly we cannot think why we were drawing an owl on a unicycle, and we bet a lot of you want to know what happens next.
Hopefully this makes sense, attach a story to a sentiment and people are drawn in, and will be more inclined to part way with money for your weird, owl, unicycle thing because they, the audience, remember and attach the story to the product.
Step 3: Practice
We know, we know, we have told you this before. But let us ask you this, when you first picked up a guitar, did you get annoyed that you instantly could not play the Sweet Child of Mine intro? Hopefully not, although 10/10 for great expectations if you did. No it took time, practice and determination to master your first 3 chord song, let alone intricate riff work. Apply this mentality to your story telling and you will find that you quickly become more comfortable with the act.
Do any of you reading this have any anecdotes, funny stories to tell or tips and tricks? Let us know below.