Busking Getting Started

What Is Busking How To Start Busking Busking Equipment Busking Permits Busking Check List Busking Performance

How To Start Busking

In This Brief Article We'll Look At:

  • What Is Meant By Busking

  • Planning A Busking Performance

  • Preparing Yourself

  • Delivering The Performance

  • Performance Review & Improvements

Start Busking

What Is Busking?

Busking Is Normally Associated With An Artist Performing On The Street or Shopping Mall, Usually With A Guitar Case Open or Some Other Container, Hoping For Donations. I Like To Think That It Is More Than That.

A Busker May Be More Interested In The Art of Performing or Show Casing Talent, Having The Experience of Performing To Others or Just For The Sheer Entertainment, The Donations Being Secondary. I See Many Buskers Performing With No Open Guitar Cases, No Containers, No Hats etc. For Donations. This May Not Strictly Be To The Definition of Busking But, Does It Matter?

Busking Is Changing! As We Head Towards A Cashless Society Will The Hat or Open Guitar Case Become A Credit Card Swipe Device? Difficult To See That Happening! Will Busking Take On New Forms, Such As Online Streaming? What About Current Day Issues, Such As Impact From Pandemics & All The Associated Rules?

If Busking Wasn't A Fun Thing To Do In Its Own Right, People Wouldn't Do It!

Going To All The Effort of Preparing Your Gear, Transporting It, Lugging It Down Streets, Packing Up & Returning Home Is Offset, To A Degree, By Donations But, If That Is The Main or Only Reason You're Busking, Then You're Probably Better Off Putting Your Efforts Elsewhere.

I Like To Think That Today's Busking Is About A Musician Playing To Others, As A Performer, No Matter Where!

Whether It Is Busking By Definition, Entertaining Friends, Performing To Family or, Entertaining Yourself, In This Era, It's Busking!!

No Matter What You Want To Call It, You Need To Be Prepared To Give The Best Performance You Can. This Helps Develop The Entertainer Mind Set. A Little Bit of Professionalism.

Planning The Busking Performance

Before Stepping Out To Busk or Entertain Friends & Family, You Need To Give Thought To The Overall Performance.

  • What Age Group Do You Think Your Audience Will Be?

  • What Do You Think The Audience Will Want To Hear?

  • Will You Play Original Songs, Covers or A Mix?

  • Will There Be A Mix of Instrumental & Vocal Songs?

  • Have You Considered The Degree of Difficulty of Each Song?

  • What Songs Will You Select?

  • What Will Be Your Format, Single Set, Multi Sets With A Break, Single Set With Individual Song Breaks?

  • Will You Order Songs In Your Set To Give Variety In Tempo & Beat?

  • Have You Produced A Set List Based On The Above?

  • Will You Take Requests? If So, What Resources Do You Need?

  • What Music Sheets Will You Need?

  • Have You Allocated Practice Time For Your Performance?

  • Do You Practice As If Giving A Performance? Remember, "You Play The Same As You Train"!

  • Have You Assessed What May Work & What May Not, And Made Adjustments?

Being Prepared

Ok, You're Going To Give A Performance. Having A Routine or Check List Is A Big Help In Being Prepared. You Don't Want To Be Caught Out Leaving Critical Gear Behind Such As, Instrument Lead, Power Adapter or, Having Flat Batteries!

Check List:

  • If Busking, Do You Need A Permit & Have You Got A Copy With Your Gear?

  • Have You Gained Approval From Mall Managers, Shop Owners or Other Parties?

  • Are All of Your Batteries Charged Ready To Go?

  • What Other Power Source Gear Is Required & Packed Such As, Leads, Adapters etc?

  • Have You Checked That All The Equipment, Amp, Pedals etc. Is Working Now - Not Just The Last Time Used?

  • Are All The Required Instrument or Audio Leads Wrapped & Not A "Birds Nest", Ready to Go?

  • Is Your Main Instrument Checked, Working Properly & Ready To Go?

  • Do You Have Spares Such As, Guitar Strings Packed?

  • What Other Accessories Are Required, Like A Tuner, Capo etc. & Are They Packed?

  • Are Mic Stand, Music Stand, Keyboard Stand, Collapsible Seat etc. Packed?

  • Any Music, Notes or Other Documents, Including Promotional Handouts Packed?

  • What Personal Needs Do You Have Such As Drinks, Food, Clothing, Hat, Sunscreen etc. And Are They Packed?

  • Have You Put Together A Small Tool Kit With Screwdriver, Scissors, Small Spanners etc.

  • Lastly, Have You Packed The Gaffa Tape!

No Doubt There Are Other Check List Items You Can Add To The List, To Suit Your Needs.

Delivering The Performance

The Time Has Come For You To Perform. Relax, You Have Planned, Practiced & Prepared For This Moment.

  • You Have Either Chosen A Spot To Perform or, It Is A Pre-arranged Given

  • If Online Streaming or Video, Ensure The Background Is As Planned

  • Have You Arranged Your Gear How You Like It, For Ease of Access or Playing

  • Have You Completed A Quick Sound Check & Made Adjustments, Especially Volume, Reverb & EQ

  • Have You Got Your Set List Visible or, If Taking Requests, Are Your Resources At Hand

  • Now, Time To Perform As You Practiced And Don't Worry About Mistakes, Just Continue

  • This Is A Live Performance, Don't Worry About A Few Twangs, Mis-keys, etc.

  • Put Personality & Character Into The Performance, Make It Your Own!

  • Put Some Emotion Into The Performance or Vocals

  • Show That You Are Having Fun!

Performance Review & Improvements

On Completion of Your Performance It's Important To Reflect On What Went Well, Where Could You Do Better, What Would You Change. You Should Also Include In Your Review Your Plans & Preparation.

  • I Think That Most of Us Do This Intuitively, In An Informal Way Anyhow

  • If You Have Just Completed A Practice Session You Probably Reflect On How You Went

  • It's Best To Do This Reflection As Soon As Possible After The Performance, While Things Are Fresh In The Mind!

  • What Sort of Things Are We Talking About?

    • Let's Start At The Beginning

    • Your Plan - Did The Result Meet Your Expectations?

      • Did The Music Resonate With The Audience?

      • Did They All Just Pass By?

      • Did You Think "I Should Be Playing Something Else"?

      • Do You Think You Should've Allocated More Practice Time?

      • What About Your Format - Did That Work?

    • Your Preparation

      • Did You Forget Any Gear?

      • Did All Your Gear Work As Expected?

      • Did Anything Annoy You During Setup?

      • What Would You Change or, Include In Future Preparation?

    • Your Performance

      • How Did It Go?

      • What Went Well?

      • Why Do You Think It's Well?

      • Can You Do Those Things To Make Other Parts Better?

      • What Parts Need Improvement?

      • How Was The Instrument Playing?

      • Did The Vocals Work - What Would You Change?

      • What About Equipment Settings

      • Volume, Reverb, Effect Pedals - OK or Changes?

      • Write Down or Mark Settings On Gear

Keep A Notebook Handy & Write Down Points For Your Next Performance.

The Key Point, Be Prepared, Be Professional & Be The Performer! Busk'n Servant's - 3P's - For Success! :)

The Above Tips Apply Equally As Well To Any Performance, Whether It's Busking In The Street or Mall, With Friends & Family or, Just Entertaining Yourself.

Busking Equipment & Information

Check Out This Article On Busking Equipment & Experiences That I Wrote For The Beginner Busker or, Learn More About Jamming For Beginners. Also, Checkout Busking Online & The Online Busker Article.

Read More About Music Backing Tracks & Backing Tracks For Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboard, Drums. Also Read More About Looper Pedal Backing Tracks & Busking Music Backing Tracks. Listen To Busking Music & Busking Loops or Try The Free Learn Guitar-Bass-Drums Lessons! Checkout Musician Resources.

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