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The Art Of Street Busking

Updated on August 24, 2013

The Art Of A Street Busker

I've always admired people who take it onto themselves whether they face financial hardship or do busking as an extra income source, there are some talented performers out there who may do it for recognition alone in the local press and want to step up that career ladder that they are passionate about by expressing themselves with their number one talent.

Of course there are those who are desperate to make a little cash on the side that the talent thing has eluded them somewhat, they are focused on the spare change and nothing else, because either they really need the money, which I can't blame them for, or that they actually think they have a talent playing the flute whilst juggling( I saw this last month and the guy was really struggling to juggle and play the flute coherently and I just thought there must be an art to this type of thing and I have come to one conclusion.

And this is it, to try and earn a little side income from busking you have to have the X-factor, that mysterious something that just makes people dig into their pocket and hand over their spare change that they really don't need, you have to be entertaining in the short space of a youtube video, it's that quick, because people have to get somewhere or are busy and so they may have to pass by an they will stop if they like what they see and hear, something that has the WTF Factor aswell!

Whilst on a travel around Yorkhire I happened upon this mini circus happening right in the middle of the town centre and by mini I meant they were little people, dwarves, midgets...(whatever the PC phrase is these days) and they were dressed like ompa loompas from willy wonka and the chocolate factory and they was doing back flips and allsorts of skate board trick it really was impressive and it drew a huge crowd and lots of buckets of change for them with a good few money notes that I could see and I thought to myself, what if they did this everyday, they would make their money!!, Although some of them probably do do it every day.

Street busking has come a long way over the years and there are various types of street performers, artists and whatever else and in any town I'd hazard a guess that there is 3 or more street performers that do it regularly as their main income.

One of the most fantastic things I've found about most buskers is that even if they are ridiculously bad at what they do, they still carry on, although what is not fantastic is the amount of abuse that they get, but then if they do have a talent it is unlikely but not impossible that they will get any verbal or physical abuse.

The art of busking comes down to a choice, another outlet for your creative side, after the internet and the online world, to actually show people what you can do is the next obvious choice.

In our town there is a Chinese guy who does these wire scupltures of animals and he's been there for years doing them, so he must enjoy it and his sculptures are quite good too.

So remember to do busking here are some factors that you must have within your own personality:

Confidence - Without this you are not going to stick it out, if people shout "Booo!" when you know you have a talent then you must take this with a pinch of salt.

A Talent - Don't show up expecting to earn money from a knitting tutorial to some rock music or else people will really take the piss!

Motivated - By being motivated you can do this throughout the week by planning different towns you can go and perform at.

Realistic expectations - Earnings are not typically great, but with a little effort and practice on your talent, then it does work out later on.

The art of busking is really something for those who need to practice interacting with people and drawing a small crowd for practice sessions, sort of like practice runs for the larger thing like concerts or organized events.

So always think about the art of busking.

Street Busker...It Takes Guts!

Street Busker busting out some tunes on his guitar.
Street Busker busting out some tunes on his guitar.

Busking As An Art Form

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    • superyoss profile image


      10 years ago from Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia

      I also amazed with their 'ideas' to got their needs! Nice hub!

    • waynet profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Tully 

      12 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Oh no, that's what I thought, being in a normal job like retail or an office job is like your trapped and that's why I'm glad I'm finding it hard to get back into work, but anyway I've just completed a business plan to do an internet content business, so I'll be busy with that until it's set up and runs almost automated!

      Genuine buskers always I do respect over the casual beggar, because there is more chance that the busker might put all the collected money to good use, instead of drink and drugs.

    • robertsloan2 profile image


      12 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      I wouldn't say talent, I would say skill. Even a moderately skilled musician or juggler can manage to entertain people "in the span of a YouTube video." I successfully did it for one day and came away with a few bucks and no boos when all I knew was how to play and sing "House of the Rising Sun," on guitar, which I loved since I was a little kid. I practiced for that for several months. Then lost interest in the guitar and there it went, because I was doing better selling portraits.

      So the same musician who's lousy today, if he or she is still out there next year, they won't suck. Doing it every day does bring skill. So odes learning the songs people usually ask for -- sometimes it's local ones, sometimes not, it depends on where you are what's popular.

      If I had wanted to do it continuously I would have learned a good dozen or two good songs, all popular and more or less the same style. That way if they stick around to hear more, you don't run out of "more."

      It's trial and error finding out what the favorites are. The main thing is to get practiced enough so that you're on tune and don't stumble over it at normal speed of playing it. If you do something funny that's something different. Some people can turn a goof into a joke -- especially jugglers, who then have to learn to deliberately goof if they do it too long.

      Busking is a great old tradition and I'm always glad to see someone doing it. I will give change to a busker even if I'm out of spare change for beggars, because that's someone trying to get a start in the arts and they need the encouragement. When I go out and see buskers, it's a good feeling I get knowing that not everyone is locked into working retail or shuffling papers in offices.

      Great Hub!


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