Do you like it or not, when a conductor or performer speaks before a piece?
Most symphony concerts have program notes, but occasionally the conductor will speak from the podium to explain something about the piece being played, its composer, the performers, etc. Sometimes it's just a few words, but sometimes it can go on for quite a while.
This can also be the case at recitals - performers sometimes speak from the stage..
This can be a good thing, when the speaking is easy-going, engaging, and contains just the right amount and right kind of information to pique everyone's interest. However, if audience members start looking at their watches, scrolling on their phones and rolling their eyes, then the speaking may have defeated its purpose.
Speaking from stage is its own skill, and not everyone has it. As a performer, it can be daunting. I can remember a recital I gave in which I was required to speak before each piece - I was more nervous for the speaking than for anything else about the performance!
In recent years, the ability to speak from stage has been given more emphasis in education. For example, at the Heifetz Institute, students are encouraged to speak from the stage, as a way of engaging with the audience, and they are actually given classes in public speaking and expression, so that they can learn to do it well.
For the vote, I'm interested in your own experiences. Do you generally perk up when someone starts speaking from stage, or do you roll your eyes? If you perform frequently, do you like to speak from the stage, and do you do so on a regular basis? Or do you prefer to let the music speak for itself? In your estimation, what makes a good on-stage intro? (Content? Length? Speaking skill?)
Please participate in the vote, based on your recent experiences, and then share your thoughts in the comments.
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