Photo by Rui Dias-Aidos, REDAV, Inc.; courtesy of New World Symphony


Audience will internalize and recognize the melody to a higher degree through the use of lyrics.


Write lyrics to a tune and have the audience sing along.


  1. Identify a piece on your program with a recurring theme. This is especially effective with rondo form, or another form where a theme is repeated often.
  2. Identify something interesting about the character of this theme, or think about what emotions or ideas it might evoke for you. Use this inspiration to set words to the theme. Alternatively, you can use lyrics if they already exist for the piece, or find a poem that works well with the melody,
  3. In performance, before playing the piece, teach these new lyrics to the audience. Have them sing it back to you, so they really get to be familiar and recognize this theme.

Audience Type

What does this activity look like in action?

Example Script:

Piece: Luigi Boccherini – Cello Concerto No. 9 Mvt III

Performer: Hi everyone! What inspires me to make music is its ability to tell a story. In our next piece, composer Luigi Boccherini uses the form of a rondo to tell a story. All rondo’s start (like many stories) with a theme that introduces us to the main character. Even though we can’t talk to Luigi, we can see an inspiration for the whole piece in his main character. I find that this character is really proud. Like maybe even embarrassingly proud. This is a character who walks into a room and says “This is me! I am great! I’m the greatest person in the state!” In fact, they’re so proud, they don’t just say it, they sing it:


[projected somewhere above the stage if possible]
This is me!
I am great!
I’m the greatest person in the state!


They even sing it twice!


[The words are projected above.] Let’s all take a moment to put on our proud hats and celebrate this ridiculously proud character together (all sing)


After we meet this very proud character, the rondo takes us through some of the character’s experiences. After each one you’ll hear the character remind themselves of who they are. Whether it’s a celebration after a success, or a consolation after a struggle, you’ll hear our character: “This is me, I am great, I’m the greatest person in the state!”


  • For higher interactivity, see “Mad Libs Lyrics”, have the audience give feedback on the lyrics suggested, or have the audience create their own lyrics.


  • Can be used to demonstrate form as well, by having different lyrics for each section of the form of a phrase, or to identify a recurring motive/section of a piece. The above example can be used to teach the audience rondo form by explaining that this recurring theme is the rondo theme.
  • Can make connections to poetry/creative writing if desired. See “Form & Rhetoric” for more ideas.

Create interactive performances. We have activities to help you connect with your audiences.