Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So, after much planning and deliberation, I finally began my secondary life as a busker. I had gotten the idea in mind a few months ago, but I consider that alright when considering I had begun teching myself Ukelele halfway through last year.

Anyway, that is why my voice now hurts and fingers have a new tipping to them.

In preparation, I had not given much thought. My 'quoteable' saying is 'your life is not a rehearsal'. So after a couple of conversations with a friend from church (actually I know him because Sam goes to my sibling's youth group), we both rocked up outside one of the town shopping centres a little bit after midday.

The task was simple. Play music. I had a folder, and he had a folder, and we used our gifts of versatility. Essentially, it went something like this:

"Okay, can you play this?" (Flicks to page)

"Oh, yeah." (Starts playing)

"Oh. Uh, this is one of the ones I transposed. But you can play this chord (plays) and this chord (plays) and this one and this one and you've got it in C."

"...Right. I'll just sing it."

FYI, I was the second voice in this. So, that's how Sam and I rolled. Flicking through songs, bouncing off each other. This guy has had a minimal amount of actual training but he's a whiz. So, we'd both begin - me on the Uke, and Sam on the Guitar. Halfway through the first verse he would put the instrument down and trade it for the keyboard, going ape with a variety of techniques I'll never hope to muster. Occasionally, he'd hit a couple of notes, and, seized by inspiration, begin a different song. This happened at least twice.

Since that type of spur-of-the-moment stuff was in his head, I would resign to singing as loud and tunefully as I could to what the song was. I combated and won against a host of bad memories when he started playing the opening riff to 'How to Save a Life' (The Fray) and later in the afternoon we sang 'Hallelujiah', which was probably the straw for my underexercised voice.

Never having busked before, I was able to concur several very important facts about the activity.

Old people are awesome. There are quite a few people who will stop and listen, but 70% of the people who stopped, listened and threw coinage were old people.

Say 'Thankyou'. This can be hard if you are in the middle of rapping the verse from 'One Week' but it makes a difference.

Early morning is your best bet. Sam arrived earlier than I did and caught the tail of the rush. Most people who are willing to give you money come in the earlier morning. Of course, you have to beat the other buskers to the better spots also.

Sunscreen. I remembered, and still got burnt.


Eat before you busk.

Sam and I plan to take a couple more mornings by storm before I choof off to England, but as far as today went, we busked for three-and-a-half hours and had $31.35 at the end. I would have liked more, but that is a mark of having started late and missing the crowds. Still, we'd never actually played more than about two songs together before. I think it went well.

1 comment:

  1. my little brother likes to dress in a santa suit and do the robot. He has made quite a bit before doing just that. Pretty neat source of income.


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