6 Tips to Busking Success: takin' it to the street

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Beat in the Street from Jordan Satmary on Vimeo.

So you want to make money as a street performer, huh? Well, busking ain’t for the feint of heart; it takes perseverance and endurance. Classical guitarist/beatboxer Zack Andrew is no weekend warrior. You may’ve already seen some of his viral videos, where he performs dance-y versions of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata, and more. Andrew brings his music to the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade Monday through Friday and sometimes on weekends (4-8 hours a day).

Check out the short documentary above or visit his website for more clips!

6 tips to busking success:

1) Have a good attitude- remember that you’re not the main attraction. Most folks didn’t even expect to see or hear you, so be gracious and grateful if anyone listens, applauds, tips you, or buys a CD.

2) Be polite to fellow buskers- you’re all in this together. Share the public space. Don’t hog the best spots.

3) Respect local businesses- keep your volume down, and play material that is appropriate for public spaces. Help them make money, and they’ll help you make money. Get adversarial on them, and they’ll be sure to end your busking career early.

4) Be upbeat and joyful– brooding melancholy may be perfect for a smokey club, but buskers gather the best crowds when they play material that makes the kids want to dance and the old folks smile. Ya know,… good times!

5) Pace yourself- Don’t strain your hands or voice before you’ve built up your endurance. Start slow. Work your way up to the long-haul days.

6) Pack light- Learn to perform your music with minimal setup. Strip it down to the basics. Guitar and voice? Great! If you need a PA, bring something battery-powered.

Have you had success as a street performer? Tell us all your busking secrets in the comments section below.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

 

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