Playing a show like Piano Fondue, you find yourself in front of a new crowd every night. You want these folks to sing along and have fun, but before that can happen, you have to connect with them. Once you develop a connection, the audience will pay way more attention to you, and they’ll be open to having some fun.
Here is a great trick that I learned early on. Start small. Focus on two or three audience members sitting close to you. Chat with them, ask how they’re doing, ask if they have any requests, show them other people’s requests, cheers them with your drink – anything you can do to involve them in what’s going on. Make sure these few people are having fun, and the rest of the crowd will follow suit. When the crowd is watching you, they’re watching you through the front few rows. They’ll want to have that experience that you’re having with that front table, and once that happens, you’re set! After a few songs, try opening the circle to some other folks in the room. Odds are, they’ll be ready to play along.
See you at the next show!