If you've entered the Nell Trail Junior or Intermediate scholarship sections of the LearnMusicNZ Eisteddfod, you're probably already aware that you need to give an introduction a) to yourself and b) to the pieces that you're going to play.
The purpose of this is to give you valuable performance experience. These days, when you attend a concert - it is very common for the performers to engage with the audience and share a little bit about the pieces that they're going to play.
When you're preparing your introduction, keep in mind, that the goal is for your audience to get to know you a tiny bit - and more importantly, to understand the music that they're about to listen to, and what you bring to it. Please don't memorise a whole lot of biographical information about the composer of your piece from wikipedia and recite it like a robot!!!
So, I get it. Preparing one of these introductions is challenging! Because of this, I've put together a few steps that you can work through. I'm hoping that if you follow these steps, you'll end up with a short, engaging intro.
PART A - INTRODUCING YOURSELF
Introduce yourself at the start of your performance.
Figure out a couple of things that you think will be interesting for the audience to know about you and why you're learning music. Keep this brief! (10 seconds sort of thing!!)
PART B - introducing your pieces
You can either introduce all of your pieces at the start of your performance or you can introduce each piece as you go.
Work through the following questions if you'd like some guidance on how to prepare the introductions to your piece:
a) Read about the composer of the piece you're playing
As you're reading, make some bullet point notes about things like: when they lived, where they're from and what things they were interested in.
b) Read about the piece you're playing
Find out if:
- the piece is about something or someone?
- if it was written at a particular time for a particular purpose?
- if it was written at a significant moment in the composer's life?
That kind of thing.
c) Reflect on the music itself
What's the mood of the music?
Is there anything signficant in the music itself that's worth mentioning?
Do you have a favourite part in the piece? Why?
What challenges you in this music.
Jot all these ideas down as bullet points.
d) Make connections with points a) b) and c)
For example things like:
If you found out that the piece was written during a period in the composer's life where things were going well, is the mood joyous?
Was the composer challenged in some way and are they bring this out in the music?
Did the composer love jazz - and so bring some jazz elements to this piece?
At this stage, if you find it challenging to write your ideas down in full sentences - you could start with making these connections as a flow chart.