The Washburn Guitars Forum

Washburn General Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: vanbrettakov on November 11, 2008, 01:46:47 PM

Title: My first busking experience
Post by: vanbrettakov on November 11, 2008, 01:46:47 PM
Busking. Street performing. Putting yourself out there for the world to see. What a strange career choice, if you can even call it that.

 I've been playing guitar for years. Been singing even longer. Only recently have I figured out that I can do both at the same time. Is it hard? Well, at first, yes. Very hard in fact. Your hands are doing one thing, and your mouth is doing another. My brain felt like it was being pulled in two different directions. Trying like hell to get them right and make it sound good. People that are good at it make it look so easy. Kids do it for cryin' out loud. It's tough for me cause I just started doing it in my early 30's!

 Something happened just before the summer. Michelle (my wife) and I went to see The Cure at Red Rocks here in Colorado. It'd been a while since I'd seen them (12 years) so naturally I was really stoked. A couple days after the show, I decided to learn the chords for a song called 'Catch'. I figured out the solo about three years ago, but couldn't sing the song cause I didn't know the chords. The internet is a great tool for learning music and I used it to get what I needed. I couldn't believe how easy the rest of the song was. I could've been playing this for years. The flood gates were now open and there was nothing to stop its momentum. Things really picked up when my psychiatrist put me on Adderall for ADD. My concentration went through the roof and I learned 20 songs in just 2 months! I'm even starting to figure out whole songs without the help of the internet. One day, Michelle suggested that I go downtown and play on the street for tips. What? Do what I love for money? Get paid for playing music? I couldn't. I shouldn't. I...I...why yes, I can.

 Using the internet once more, I started doing research on street performing. Turns out it's called busking and it's one of the oldest proffessions around. There's all kinds of busking acts: magic, music (solo or groups, intrumental or vocal), acrobats, comedy, pantomime, contortionists. Even those 'human statue' people that don't budge are street performance artists. A little more net research turned up a location in LoDo (lower downtown) Denver where It's perfectly legal for me to do this. All I have to do is follow some simple rules (don't sell anything, don't get in the way of foot or vehicle traffic) and I'm good to go. I've been perfecting my act and adding good songs to my repertoire for the last month and a half. Finally, yesterday I was ready to try it. It went a lot smoother than I'd imagined it would. I just picked a corner away from other buskers and started playing. Almost immediately someone put money in my tipjar. Cool! That was easy. I continued on, playing for about an hour and 15 minutes. I was a little nervous. My voice didn't sound as good as it does at home and I had trouble hitting some of the chords but no one seemed to notice or care. I even ad-libbed parts that I messed up. It was great. I never got a captive audience. People were just walking by the whole time and yet they still put money in my jar. I ended my set with 'Boys don't Cry' and started packing up. I could've found another corner to busk on but I want to get into this slowly. Yesterday was just an ice-breaker for me. Hopefully it was the start of a lenghthy self-employed career [:D]
Title: My first busking experience
Post by: Pike on November 11, 2008, 04:53:28 PM
so that was you....
Heh heh. Nice going vanbrettakov!  So what'd you make for your hour and 15 minutes?
Title: My first busking experience
Post by: magoo99 on November 11, 2008, 05:27:13 PM
Heh heh. Nice going vanbrettakov! So what'd you make for your hour and 15 minutes?

Great question, My friend did it every sat last summer,  he saved every thing he made and got himself a nice tak Jumbo guitar.  his wife couldn't even say a thing...LOL.
and he did it in the shopping district before 1pm.
didn't tell me what he made, but the guitar can't be cheap.
Title: My first busking experience
Post by: vanbrettakov on November 11, 2008, 06:33:07 PM
LMAO Saint. Believe it or not, that guy probably makes $$$. I read somewhere the crazier you look, the more people give. My look isn't as daring as that guys, but perhaps over time (maybe I should go back to the mohawk :)

As for the money I made, not much. I've made more at other jobs. Much more. But it was the first time I made anything on my own steam. That's what made it such a big deal for me. I show up when I want to show up. I play what I want to play. I leave when I want to leave. I'm sure the money will get better. The holidays should be good. If our economy improves. Things like that. Hopefully my 'act' will sound tighter with a better guitar. I went down there with a cheap one. Plus I'll learn to interact with the public a little better (I wore sunglasses and didn't move much, like I said, I was a little nervous). The corner I picked was a bit noisy too from a bus station across the street and the lightrail passing by every so often. The other buskers were in the middle of the blocks they were on - less noise.

I just wanted to get that first one out of the way. Experience is the best teacher and I learned a lot that day.

Title: My first busking experience
Post by: Pike on November 11, 2008, 06:40:25 PM
Very cool Brett!, keep us posted.