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Busking?

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(@dylan6776)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 124
Topic starter  

Well, me and mate finally decided to go busking (we've been on about it for two years!), and OMG did it open my eyes! The crowd loved us - and we made £23 in about an hour and a half! We were both a bag of nerves at first, but soon settled in, and not only did it give me the courage to play in front of people, it was really interesting to note how people reacted to our music/playing. All in all, very positive. It's given us both the 'bug', and made us realize that maybe we're not so bad players/singers after all. Here is the line-up we did:

I'm Sorry - John Denver
Fields Of Athenrye - Various
Jesse - Joshua Kadison
Sonny - Emmylou Harris
Dreams - Everly Brothers
The Times They Are A-Changing - Bob Dylan
Streets Of London - Ralph Mctell

We repeated a few of the songs (because it's an ever-changing crowd, it didn't matter!). I have to say, it was a great confidence booster, and I highly recommend it!! We had great fun doing it (actually forgetting the words at one point and just humming LOL!).

So if anyone does happen by on the Streets Of Nottingham and you see two ne'er-do-wells singing away, chuck us a few quid. Thanks! :lol:

Never assume the other fellow has intelligence equal to yours. He may have more.


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I enjoy busking, but there are days when it's hard work too.

One day I was out busking in Frankfurt. Now, the Gemans like you to be good at what you do before they give you any money; in fact they really prefer to come round and look at the certificates on your wall before they give you any paying business. So, anyway, I'd just reseeded the hat and it had DM 4.37 in it. There I was, playing for all my worth, and this woman stood there listening for twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes!!!!!!!!

I heard the "chink" of coins falling into my hat, and had a look. DM 5.37 - she had paid me one lousy Mark for twenty minutes hard playing. Gross that up for an hour and she'd have me playing for less than a pound an hour. Tightwad.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@pearlthekat)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1468
 

Never done it. I'd love to-- if anyone in NYC sees this.


   
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(@dylan6776)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 124
Topic starter  

Lol @ Alan - I know what you mean. I know a few buskers (hard-core types) that have told me you have good days and really, really bad days. I guess we just had a good day.

Mind you, the amount of hours I've spent sitting in my bedroom just playing with myself (jeez, I really need to rephrase that!), why not sit out on the street and earn a few quid for it - lord knows it's took a lot of hard work and dedication!

Oh, and to the people reading this - BUSKERS AREN'T BEGGERS!!! We provide a lot of entertainment on these dreary streets, and a lot of hard graft has gone it to what we do...it's gotta be worth your loose change!! Please give generously :lol:

Never assume the other fellow has intelligence equal to yours. He may have more.


   
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(@big-lar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 165
 

I was really happy to read this topic because it gave me an excuse to post this. It is a great article from the Washington Post about an experiment in busking.

Very interesting.


   
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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

I was about to post the same thing.


   
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(@causnorign)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 554
 

Someone once told me that if you want to go busking you should learn at least 6 songs, I see you've gone one over. I'm going to Atlantic City NJ next week and plan to do a bit on the boardwalk. I've seen such bad players there that I'm not worried about my abilities.


   
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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

I've noticed that buskers seem to do the best around here during lunch time, when the business crowd is walking a bit more leisurely than during the commute times.
Or on the weekends near the market areas.

Actually, one of the tourist destination type markets has set up what they call "busk stops" in specific areas around the market, and encourage buskers to perform to add atmosphere to the area. It's not quite as spontaneous as "proper" busking, but there are some great performers out there, and you can tell that they are usually having fun, even if they aren't getting rich.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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(@dylan6776)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 124
Topic starter  

Wow! That Washington Post thing is really interesting! And just goes to show how stupid and blind people are to real talent!!

Never assume the other fellow has intelligence equal to yours. He may have more.


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

I was really happy to read this topic because it gave me an excuse to post this. It is a great article from the Washington Post about an experiment in busking.

Very interesting.

Good read! :D

Exactly the result you'd expect though. I'm sure that the newspaper knew just what they were doing. It's an obvious 'set-up' that got the desired result - he was mostly ignored. As Kent_eh said, context is always important - so they picked a place and time where the people would be least likely to feel like stopping, and most likely to be concentrating on other business. They picked the 'morning rush hour' and had him play for 45 minutes to a bunch of people dashing off to work, distracted by thoughts of the day ahead and at the train station where worries about missing the next train are most acute.

There'd be no story in "Well known violinist gets recognised and makes $2,000 in 45 mins busking" would there? :P If they did it in a cafe strip in a more well to do and leisurely situation it would have been different story - but unfortunately not one worth printing. :)

I'm fond of the music mentioned, and I have it on CD, plus some of Joshua Bell playing other classical pieces. I'm sure I wouldn't have recognised him though, and if I was in a hurry I might not even have stopped, although it would probably have prompted me to play the music when I got home that night. Had he been in a park and I strolled past then I'd have stayed there for as long as he kept playing, whether I knew who he was or not.

I ran into a busker I know this morning and asked him about it, and he confirmed that the time and place make a huge difference to him making $70-$100 an hour or zilch. It's also important to fit the play list of music to the situation. I forgot to ask him what the most reliable songs were, but there are definitely ones that buskers find are better "purse string looseners" than others.

Good luck with the busking Dylan6776. 8) 8)

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

i'm guessing if he was playing at the end of the work day, where people don't have to be somewhere right away, he'd have had different results.


   
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 Taso
(@taso)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811
 

agreed. No matter how great the music being played, if I'm on my way to work I can't stop and listen, I have responsibilities, a family, bills, etc.

^Not me, I have no responsibilities, I slept till 4 oclock the past 3 days, and I'd definilty stop. But someone who wasn't a bum - they'd need to keep going.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Washington Post follow-up: http://tinyurl.com/3x9s2a

Thanks for that Neztok. Interesting follow-up. The journalist is still having a lovely time pulling all the strings and milking the replies for all he's worth (and why not - he did a good job on the piece). I liked his straight-faced reaction to the 'bureaucrat bashing' charge. As if a journalist would ever do such a thing! Purely sociological research! :roll: :wink:

Interesting that he did give us the truth behind some of the more obvious fudges in the article though. Such as implying that Bell got away with busking there because the security person saw something special this time, whereas in fact they'd obtained prior permission to do it.

So he proved a couple of things:

1) People in a rush aren't easily distracted, and

2) Classical music isn't actually all that popular.

No surprises there. I'm betting he could have used a great operatic soprano or a top ballet dancer and got the same results.

If he really wants to try a 'sociological experiment' in how readily we ignore things of beauty, then pick something that more people would actually value as beautiful by their standards. Most of us value beauty from the natural world, right? So run it again. Just don't deliberately do it in the rush hour - and use a beautiful and artistically posed naked woman instead of a fiddle player..... That should bring out the cultured side of a few more commuters... :wink:

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@dylan6776)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 124
Topic starter  

Well again, me and my mate proved we could earn more money in the same time frame as a multimillionaire professional - and we're crap!

The main reason why I picked up a guitar in the first place - people want to listen to it. They love it. They wish they could play it. It's the finest instrument ever created. Six strings, only a handful of chords, and yet so versatile no two songs sound the same. What a creation!!

They used to call it a 'poor man's piano', which leads me to the saying...

You hold a piano at arms length - but you embrace a guitar. Enough said.

Never assume the other fellow has intelligence equal to yours. He may have more.


   
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