5 Quick Tips to being a busker
Those of you that know, or have seen me, will know that I am a proud Busker on the London Underground. I absolutely love it - I love the connection I have with the crowds and I love the chance I get to try out new music to see if it works. I've met some interesting people down there, been given some interesting gifts and have made friends from all around the globe. It truly is amazing.
Now I often get asked about being a busker and so I thought I would write 5 quick tips to anyone that is considering this noble trade!
1. Be confident.
The situation, initially, feels slightly odd and alien for sure, but there is no point in begin a wall flower and getting shy. You are there to command an audience and entertain the heavy throng of human traffic and to do so you need to be confident, stand tall and belt out those tunes. Key thing to remember is this - You are up there doing it, not the hundreds of people that are passing you by. You've got off your arse, not them. Be proud of that fact.
I always play a little game when I am busking and try to smile at everyone I can and I make extra sure that if I see someone who is looking exceptionally moody or down to give them the biggest grin I can. You will be amazed at how 99% of these people react...with a great big cheesy grin back. If there is one thing I have learnt busking, it is people need and want to be made to feel good on their commute and us Buskers are the ones that can do just that, which is such a wonderful feeling.
3. Be prepared to play Wonderwall on more than one occasion.
There will be people that come up and talk to you. Many of these people will interrupt you whilst you are playing and a few of these will request a song. Embrace this, they almost always say something nice about you and your music...but the drunker these people are the more likely they will ask for Wonderwall. Refer to the point above: We are there to make people happy, so indulge them and play it...for the fourth time that hour!
4. Have a good arsenal of songs to play.
This is as much for you as it is for anyone else. You will be playing for hours at a time and so you don't want to only have 5 songs to play over and over again, it'll drive you mad and no doubt anyone that is around you. Have as many styles and types of music as you can - This includes your own original material (See Point 5!)
5. Play your original music
I have never found a better way of trying out new material than performing it to the great British commuting public. These lovely folk are on a mission to get from A to B and nothing is going to get in their way or slow them down. Soooooooooo, if you happen to get people stopping, dancing (yes it happens!) dropping money in your bag or asking for your details then you know your music is a winner. I try out any new song I've written in this way and it has been such a help and a great barometer for when I have a song right!
I regularly play down in the London Underground so come say Hi if you see me!
Are you a busker with any other tips? Let me know in the comments below!
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