It is very possible to make a great deal of money being a busker. For example, I have a friend who has often made a few hundred pounds in a session busking. He does offer something different though by playing the bagpipes, and experience has taught him how to maximize his profits while busking. If you have a talent that people enjoy you can do very well being a busker. Obviously the stronger your talent and better you are the more earning potential you have, but if you can add a bit of enjoyment to someone's day and lift their spirits, brighten up an otherwise dull part of town or surprise someone with their favorite song where they weren't expecting it, they'll reward you for it. The advice and busking tips in this article should help you on your way to being a successful busker.
Being A Successful Busker
The easiest part of being a busker is the actual busking. First of all you must find the right pitch (spot), you can be the most talented musician in the world but if you haven't got the audience then you will not have the income. So we are looking for a place with a consistent, steady flow of people such as a busy high street or shopping centre. Centre square's can be perfect for a busker as you get a stream of folks coming from all directions.
Scout out where the biggest crowds are going to be, bus and train stations too are perfect for busking with a constant flow but also the advantage of a stationary audience as they wait for their buses and trains.
Even better for busking are big events and sports matches, places where everybody's having a good time rather than just on their way to work where they are more likely to be miserable. People in good moods having a good time are much more likely to tip a good busker and tip well.
So you have a spot in mind, first of all take into account local laws about busking and street performing, check with the local council to see if you would need a permit to perform. Then you will need to take a look at the area, busking and heavy noise don't mix, it will drown you out and have you fighting to be heard above it. Then take into account other people busking. Never set up near another busker or try to take someone else's pitch.
Consider where you are standing, you don't want to be blocking peoples passage and getting in the way, bare in mind if you gather a little crowd that they too will not be obstructing anything. Also think about shop keepers and traders, do not block entrances or affect their business's in anyway or they will give you constant trouble.
Something important to take into account as a busker is getting to your pitch and parking, busy shopping center's these days are very expensive to park and leaving your vehicle there all day will greatly affect your earnings. Finding non expensive places to park can mean walking a distance and carrying equipment.
It is often thought that busking is short hours, play a while then go, but when you take into consideration driving to a pitch, finding a place to park, walking carrying your equipment, setting up and then the stops and hassles you will no doubt get from police and shopkeepers wasting your playing time, by the time you have finished you'll find that being a busker can be hard work and a long day.
Now To The Good Bit Of Being A Busker - The Busking
You've got your spot, your all ready to show 'em what you got. It's all about looking lively, don't just sit there looking droll, if you look like your having a great time and feeling good that rubs off on others, its contagious and makes them feel good too. Stand up, do not sit. Remember you are an act, a show. Many people look at a busker as a beggar and would be unwilling to throw their money at someone sat on the floor.
Experiment with songs while you are busking and learn which songs pay and which songs don't. Sometimes modern pop songs are too common and over saturated and every other busker is playing them. If you can bust out a classic that somebody loves, or an oldie that takes them back to good times or their childhood then you can't go wrong. Everybody loves being surprised by a song they love that they haven't heard in years. Grabbing peoples attention is the key.
Keep in mind that busking with a guitar makes a lot less tips than if you play an unusual instrument, everyone has seen and heard a busker with a guitar time and time again.
Have a good repertoire and engage and interact with people. If somebody stops to listen, ask them their favorite song or if they have a request, hopefully you will know it, even if its just a chorus they will feel inclined to give tips. If a child stops and shows an interest, have a children orientated song ready to try and fit his age group, the parent will be impressed and more than likely reward you.
A good busker uses their repertoire cleverly, you should be able to adapt as a DJ would to maximize your earnings. If you see someone walking towards you wearing a Doors t-shirt try and blend into a Doors song, or a group of people who obviously listen to a certain genre of music, its quite easy to tell sometimes with styles and dress sense etc. especially in younger people.
Dressing yourself for the occasion will always make you a more successful busker. Make sure you look the part, if you've made an effort to come out, everyone will make more of an effort to cough up, don't look like you've just decided to stop on a whim on your way home, dress to suit your style of music so you look like a complete act. If you're a folksy type singer or player dress in a traditional folk outfit. Make a novelty out of it.
If you're willing to take a risk while busking, the biggest tips are from drunk people, if you start bashing out a few favorites at a slightly inebriated, jolly person and get a few little crowds around you singing along to their favorite songs, the tips are usually very generous. Take care though the higher tipping goes hand in hand with the higher risks.
Make your busking an act, If you just strum away lazily, you'll make a few quid but you get out what you put in. Treat being a busker as you would treat a job or your own business in that the harder you work and the more effort you put in the more you make.
More so do it for the enjoyment and even see it as practice that you'd be doing at home anyway but the chance to make money while you do it. Hopefully reading these tips will help you on your way to become a busker and get rich busking.
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