How do i prepare for street playing?
Well i'm pretty bored and was thinking about just going out to play my acoustic bass in public but was wondering if your supposed to prepare some how. Its nothing serious but i was wondering do street musicians usually have a set they run through, a few songs they play, or do they just kinda go out and jam?
I prepared with a large, strong pint of ale. The first time, at least...
And, bale money, Otis.
a bale of what ? or maybe you meant bail as in ... to get out of jail for not having a license to perform on the street.
I never play solo, it's always me and a guitarist - although I have a range of guitarists and each duo plays a different repertoire. Also I always play double bass so we don't need amplification. My busking DB is mega loud. And we both sing, I do harmonies, and I also sometimes attach a kazoo to my pegbox for playing heads.
We don't really do 'jams'. I've seen street performers who do, but they aren't very popular. I think it's a bit lazy really and people can tell if you're trying your best to entertain them or if you're just hanging around entertaining yourselves in public.
There aren't many guys who just go out and play bass guitar solo in the street. I've seen a couple of guys who were good at it but they'd both clearly worked hard on arranging songs very carefully to play on solo bass guitar, and they were very talented.
It's good fun playing in the street but I think if you're just noodling around for your own amusement that's something best done at home. If everybody with a guitar went into town every Saturday afternoon and just played whatever came into their heads, busking would get banned within weeks.
Say the money will be put towards your college education or some noble cause of self improvement. If you've ever seen young musicians in NY its the same story over and over
I've busked a few times in the UK. It's worth checking out with local city councils about licenses and such.
I've found that street entertainers (like jugglers and fire eaters etc) generally have more hoops to jump through purely from the health and safety point of view.
For street musicians, the laws seem much more lax and informal, at least here in the UK. I think as long as you aren't blasting Industrial Strength Grindcore, plod tend to leave you alone, especially if you draw a bit of a gathering and clearly bringing a few moments of joy to passing shoppers.
I had an old bass and a little practice amp, run off the power from a shop owned by a friend of a friend of a friend, and my drummer had a snare, cymbal, practice kick drum and his stool. We just jammed and grooved at random for about 6 hours and made nearly 500 quid in Manchester and Liverpool, but nearly double that in Covent Garden, London.
Go for it....it's a great experience.
Watch and Listen to this video carefully :
I would advise to not just go out and play basslines unless they're of jaco or wooten standard :p If you want to go out and just play basslines bring a guitarist or another musician, if you can play chords then bring someone who could play a cajon or something
It also depends where you plan to play. I know in Vancouver, the musicians that play in our public transit Skytrain (subway) system must audition and obtain a permit before performing.
Well it sounds like i need to have a set. Any ideas on how many songs i should do? Also should they be drawn out more than when i play on stage? I have several pieces that i can play and a few on the way that are written for solo bass so cranking out a few more wouldn't be hard. Also they aren't the type of bass pieces that you think of when you think bass and sound more like a guitar than bass, so they work with just bass.
I thought about doing this to collect money for more gear I can't afford but I am hardly in any shape to play in public at this stage. Have not practiced in years but starting to.
My youngest son and I busk occasionally for fun and to make a few bucks.
He sings and plays his acoustic guitar, and although I could bring my ABG lately I typically use my funky little travel acoustic six banger (Washburn Rover). :::Hint, playing something "different", whether an ABG or a funky travel guitar gets attention, and the more attention the better:::
How many songs do you need? Depends. It's like real estate, location, location, location.
We usually play 10 or so songs, take a few minutes water/tuning break, and repeat. This works because there are lots of outdoor/patio areas that folks eat lunch at the outdoor pedestrian mall we typically play at, and it would be pretty obnoxious to repeat the same one or two songs over and over!
But hey, if you're playing somewhere that it's only passing foot traffic, then you don't have to have a big setlist at all I guess.
1. Have fun while you play. Folks won't stop, listen, or tip you if they think you're an axe murderer or something, so smile, make eye contact, and remember to SHARE your music with folks- even if you're nervous, at the very least act like you're doing something you enjoy, okay?
2. Location. Pick someplace where folks will linger, such as business areas with restaurants and shopping districts, or perhaps near corners where folks must wait for the walk/don't walk indicators. Be mindful to not impede folks from moving around you safely, and be prepared to move on graciously if a store owner complains or something.
3. Don't worry about being perfect. Most folks will ignore you, some will treat you like a panhandler, but believe it, there ARE folks out there who will appreciate you bringing your art and talent to the street, brightening an otherwise dull workday or what-have-you, and yes, there ARE other musicians out there who will give you props and tip you generously as fellow musical brethren.
4. Moms, dads, grandparents with kids = jackpot. Play to the kids, smile, whip out a children's song if you can, but if not STILL play to the kids. Children love music, and lots of kids have never had the opportunity to see and hear a musician playing an instrument so close. Play to the children, and you will find the mom/dad/grandparent will be your biggest fans and most appreciative tippers.
5. Remember tip #1.
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