Yes the clocks have sprung forward and we are enjoying longer days and warmer weather which is perfect for me as I earn part of my living from playing music on the streets of this fair Isle and beyond.
It's also the time that people tend to take up Busking for the first time, so if this is you, here are a few tips for maximising the Busking experience this Summer.
There's a catchy little phrase they use in the military called the 5 P's, which goes, 'Preparation, prevents, piss poor performance.'
Prepare as much as you can and you can then focus on the important part which is delivering a great, engaging performance.
- Prepare a set list of songs and practice them before you play them so you can deliver them confidently, if it's your first few times you need to build up confidence first.
- Prepare your kit, make sure your instrument is tuned, cleaned, powered up and you carry spare batteries, strings and other consumables that you may need
- Prepare food, take a packed lunch and plenty of water, juice or a flask of hot beverage of choice as if you find a good pitch you don't want to move until your finished and performing whilst thirsty and hungry isn't going to be comfortable.
- Prepare clothing, layers are good for unpredictable weather, a light rain coat and something waterproof to cover your equipment is a good idea
- Prepare yourself, Get good rest, warm up your voice if you sing, get some business cards or have a card on display which shows your name, website or email details and above all else, have fun!
2. Be Pleasant
If you're new to Busking then you there are unwritten rules that you'll need to follow if you want to get along with people and enjoy the experience.
There is a balance between standing up for yourself and your ground and pissing people off who can make your life difficult.
Use your common sense and intuition and you wont go wrong.
- Don't play too close to another busker.
- If a Policeman/woman or shopkeeper asks you politely to turn your amp down, then do it.
- Engage with your audience, smile, compliment people and ALWAYS say thank you for people who tip!
3. Be Persistent
You're not going to get it right every time, you'll make mistakes, mess up songs, pitch up in the wrong place, have some people say negative things to you, make very little money, be ignored andt hassled by street people, this is just part of the process of learning.
But if you stick at it you may also experience the joy of entertaining a crowd of people, receive big tips, develop your skills, increase your repertoire, get asked to play gigs, weddings, parties, meet great, friendly, interesting, people and enjoy a sense of freedom and fulfilment that is hard to describe.