Most of what we play is atmosphere gigs. That is, we set up someplace where music isn't the reason people come (most often a coffeehouse), and we play while they hang out, talk to each other, do homework, whatever. We're there in the background to make the experience seem a little cooler.
When we're doing atmosphere, we don't interact much with the audience beyond saying who we are and occasionally announcing a song name. The people sipping coffee and talking to each other aren't there for us; it seems rude to interrupt their conversation.
All well and good. But when we finally find ourselves playing in front of people who are -- gasp -- actually listening, as in Friday's gig, it occurs to me that I need more practice chatting them up. Even if I'm a lot more comfortable with this than when Cinder Bridge first got started, I'm kind of introverted, and I have a tendency to trip over my words.
My first vocal coach told me that I should rehearse not only what I'm going to sing for a given set, but also whatever I want to say. I've never taken her advice. It's one thing to practice vocal technique, make sure I've got the lyrics down, work on challenging keyboard passages, etc. It's another thing to banter with a pretend audience and not feel absolutely ridiculous.
So, what's a nerdy singer/songwriter to do for chatting-up experience?
Dunno. Maybe I should try a little harder to connect with those coffeehouse patrons.