By: Eesha Barua

The value of public speaking and soft skills in performance art is often underestimated.

It may seem like the short commentaries that the NCCMI musicians deliver before their performances are extraneous to the musical performance. But engaging with our audiences on multiple levels is really important.

 An artist must always be reminded that a performance begins the second they assume the floor of a stage and ends the second that they leave it. As a result, several other components such as delivering introduction speeches, preparing beforehand and wrapping up after a performance are just as important to the audience’s experience.  

To many young musicians, this is a novel concept. That’s why, in order to help ease their transition to a more comprehensive understanding of what performance truly is, we created “In the Spotlight: A Guide to Public Speaking and Performance.”  

From a user-friendly Table of Contents to thorough explanations of every aspect of a concert, the “In the Spotlight” Guidebook seeks to help NCCMI musicians deliver the most artistic and performative pieces they can play. The Guidebook covers these important elements: Before the Big Show, the Pre-Performance, Commentary Content, the Post-Performance and Virtual Performance Tips. Each major section lays out the perfect performance etiquette, tips for advancing speech and delivery skills, and everything in between.  

With the new Guidebook dedicated to Public Speaking and Performance, we hope to help young musicians everywhere become more comfortable and engaging in front of audiences, in addition to being talented musicians.  

Regardless, do not be afraid that there are unrealistically high expectations! After all, a musician’s voice and instrument both serve the purpose of conveying meaning from an otherwise abstract collection of sounds. Our Guidebook works to help musicians supply context for an audience through language, a uniting vernacular. And then their music unites the audience in a more sublime, inexplicable way.  Good concerts are transformed into excellent ones when students find ways to elevate their performance. With a renewed devotion to the art of performance, we can usher in a new generation of brilliant NCCMI musicians in the spotlight.