One of the great lessons I learned as a young pianist is that my playing always benefited if I “played” what I was learning by stepping away from the piano and singing it. I don’t mean fancy singing. I mean doo-dee-doo, bom-bom-bom kind of singing. The kind anybody can do.
Each time I did it, I discovered intention in my phrasing and tempo and attack that I hadn’t seen at the piano, but now that I’d made the sounds with my mouth, I could reproduce it at the keyboard.
When people speak in public, they are singing. Or at least they should be.
Poets know it.
Listen to Amiri Baraka in this Def Poetry Jam clip of Why Is We Americans. Listen to his phrasing. His tempi. To the places where his words literally lift off into music. And then, next time you stand at a mic, sing!