Tutorials

Busking in Sydney, Australia - Day 1

tengu01

Member
Messages
732
Location
London, UK
Hi all, thought I'd share a little of my new-to-busking experiences

After a lot of waiting, talking and wishing my saxophone arrived in Sydney, so it was finally time to put up or shut up. I was going out busking in town in Sydney.

I went to the Glebe Town hall, handed in my application form and ten minutes later, was rewarded with a card with my name, a picture of me and an official city of Sydney logo. I was the proud owner of a busking license.

I headed into the centre of town, walked down George Street and worked on steeling my nerves for the occasion. Feeling that I would need somewhere slightly less exposed to the general public, I turned away from the main street and headed for the leafy and less busy Hyde Park.

I set up shop and began to play. I was astonished by how many tunes I had forgotten and how the ones that I did remember were in awful shape. Still one or two people came by and dropped money in my case. A photographer was took some pictures, so I said hello and we sat and talked for a while. He took some pictures of me, we swapped email addresses, photo tips and he told me of a few places which would be good to take photographs. Sorry, mind wandering. Good places to busk.

Busking Observations
1. It is extremely difficult to concentrate on what you're playing while trying to say "thank you ' at the same time. I lost my place a number of times during the course of the first session.

2. Some people stop and stare, or set up camp for having lunch, enjoy the music and then leave. Some hear the music from far away, get their coins ready and drop them into the case when they arrive.

3. Some tourists seem to think that buskers are part of the Sydney public service infrastructure, appreciate the music, take pictures and then walk by.

4. It is amazing how quickly you forget your entire repertoire adn fall back on repetition to keep the music going.

5. You live in hope that your musical flubs are not as obvious to the outisde world as they are to you. In my mind, they are monsterous

6. I need a more interesting repertoire. Rodrigo y Gabriela need to make their way into the collection

7. In 2 hours, I'd made approximately $13.

8. It is very nerve wracking to have to set up shop, put the case out in front of you and get going, with people walking past.

9. Hyde Park is a runner's park. Runners rarely carry wallets. Or stop.

10. It's better to push the case a little further out in front of you so that people don't need to come too close in case they feel intimidaated into steering clear.

11. Playing along with Dexter Gordon makes the outside world disappear (and money magically appear in my case)

12. Assessment of location is key. Now need to check some other areas for money making potential adn ease of set up.

13. George St corner was too busy to attract people who will stop and listen. Everyone's in a hurry, either just passing or rushing towards the traffic lights.

14. A Gucci-clad Nigerian man walked by and droppped 5 dollars into my case. Not sure whether it was musical appreciation or pity, but I was grateful for the cash injection.

15. The sound of a velcro wallet being opened is sometimes very similar to that of a crisp packet/chocolate bar being unwrapped. Your ears strain for those sounds when you've been staring at the floor for a while.
 

Sloth

Member
Messages
102
Location
The cheap end of Brighton
Thanks for that, I enjoyed being transported to Australia (I wonder how many times that has been said?)..

Sounds like you need another method of showing your appreciation, maybe a foot-operated bell or 'thanks' sign - could be a good gimmick!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,622
Location
Rugby UK
I'm so glad you took the bull by the horns approach. Ain't it great, the look on peoples faces when they enjoy something you played. I've been busking for about five or six months and love it. The best Ive done so far was in Hastings just before Christmas. I played for about three hours in two different locations (one being a short subway (walkway) and walked away with just under £100. The important factors are things like

1 look like your having fun
2 don't look like a beggar
3 Choose a site where people gather, benches, pavement cafe(with owners permission) or anywhere people are being funnelled by the buildings.
4 Anywhere people are putting change in their purses (after making a purchase near a market but don't upset stall holders who tout their trade (veg men etc.)
5 Play things that people know, so have a good variety of tunes for the young and old.
6 you will be used by mothers to entertain their screaming brats...love children:( (everything has a downside)
7 Have a notice saying "Thank You for listening" that way your not asking for money. Your just expecting people to listen if they wish. A donation is up to them.

I wish you all the luck in the world, and eagerly await your next instalment
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Subscriber
Messages
2,762
Location
Ilkley West Yorkshire
Hi Tengu

Glad the sax arrived safely. My son emigrated to Sydney three years ago and the shippers managed to lose all his tools and a giant roller-wheeled tool box.
Sue and I are going to visit him in May to see our new grandson Jack and attend their wedding.
If you are still busking in town I would love to come and hear you play and maybe pick your brains as to where to go to hear some jazz in the city.
Best wishes
Andy
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Gday Tengu01 from accross the Tasman (New Zealand).

As an expereinced busker $13 in two hours is meager pickings, not that you should expect to earn allot, Taz is right just project that your having fun and the money will come in. Lack of tunes to play, this is not their problem, you only have 15 seconds as they walk by. I think you are a good player,(judging by your old post in the previous forum) so play by ear and change your tune for whoevers passing, I like the kids, especially in prams, I connect with em, even walk down the road for a while. The spot is of prime importance, I choose one that offers full view has good sound projection, extra good are banks Big departments which have an entrance way with lots of glass. Interact with the passers by, nod, say thanks when coins go in, look and feel as though your having a ball and people will react differently.
If I was playing in Sydney, play Waltzing Matilda, Advance Australia Fair and anything else that seems appropriate. Kids love "The Pink Panther"
Often if you stay in the same spot you'll get coinage from people who heard you before. Stop and chat to anyone if there loitering, it,s amazing what you'll find out.

Play what you like, but don't expect to let out all your deapest innermost anger, fears and judgments out of the horn and expect good busking experiences.
In short if your not having fun, change your spot, or your attitude, busking is great, I often treat people to a coffee on the takings.

Buskings about playing (practise, without disturbing the neigbours)
Trying out new material (no one notices bum notes or flubs)
Watching people in the street, and making there day a little brighter. Which makes me a little brighter too.
I feel great after busking, just blowing some sounds and heading home.

Keep up the busking.
I'm planning my next world Busking tour. Maybe we could meet on the street, wouldn't that be neat, n sweet.

Ps Give other buskers some space and move away so you can not hear each other.
Cheers
Jimu
 

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thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
thehunt here not been on the forum too much as i am too in Sydney. Only checking my e-mails every other day, are you still in Sydney busking? Will come along and give some moral support, all the best Phil:w00t:
Hi all, thought I'd share a little of my new-to-busking experiences

After a lot of waiting, talking and wishing my saxophone arrived in Sydney, so it was finally time to put up or shut up. I was going out busking in town in Sydney.

I went to the Glebe Town hall, handed in my application form and ten minutes later, was rewarded with a card with my name, a picture of me and an official city of Sydney logo. I was the proud owner of a busking license.

I headed into the centre of town, walked down George Street and worked on steeling my nerves for the occasion. Feeling that I would need somewhere slightly less exposed to the general public, I turned away from the main street and headed for the leafy and less busy Hyde Park.

I set up shop and began to play. I was astonished by how many tunes I had forgotten and how the ones that I did remember were in awful shape. Still one or two people came by and dropped money in my case. A photographer was took some pictures, so I said hello and we sat and talked for a while. He took some pictures of me, we swapped email addresses, photo tips and he told me of a few places which would be good to take photographs. Sorry, mind wandering. Good places to busk.

Busking Observations
1. It is extremely difficult to concentrate on what you're playing while trying to say "thank you ' at the same time. I lost my place a number of times during the course of the first session.

2. Some people stop and stare, or set up camp for having lunch, enjoy the music and then leave. Some hear the music from far away, get their coins ready and drop them into the case when they arrive.

3. Some tourists seem to think that buskers are part of the Sydney public service infrastructure, appreciate the music, take pictures and then walk by.

4. It is amazing how quickly you forget your entire repertoire adn fall back on repetition to keep the music going.

5. You live in hope that your musical flubs are not as obvious to the outisde world as they are to you. In my mind, they are monsterous

6. I need a more interesting repertoire. Rodrigo y Gabriela need to make their way into the collection

7. In 2 hours, I'd made approximately $13.

8. It is very nerve wracking to have to set up shop, put the case out in front of you and get going, with people walking past.

9. Hyde Park is a runner's park. Runners rarely carry wallets. Or stop.

10. It's better to push the case a little further out in front of you so that people don't need to come too close in case they feel intimidaated into steering clear.

11. Playing along with Dexter Gordon makes the outside world disappear (and money magically appear in my case)

12. Assessment of location is key. Now need to check some other areas for money making potential adn ease of set up.

13. George St corner was too busy to attract people who will stop and listen. Everyone's in a hurry, either just passing or rushing towards the traffic lights.

14. A Gucci-clad Nigerian man walked by and droppped 5 dollars into my case. Not sure whether it was musical appreciation or pity, but I was grateful for the cash injection.

15. The sound of a velcro wallet being opened is sometimes very similar to that of a crisp packet/chocolate bar being unwrapped. Your ears strain for those sounds when you've been staring at the floor for a while.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Hi all, thought I'd share a little of my new-to-busking experiences

8. It is very nerve wracking to have to set up shop, put the case out in front of you and get going, with people walking past.

15. The sound of a velcro wallet being opened is sometimes very similar to that of a crisp packet/chocolate bar being unwrapped. Your ears strain for those sounds when you've been staring at the floor for a while.

G'day Tengu10

Rereading your original post....the bit about staring at the floor.....This is key for me I stare at the passers by, I love to make eye contact with them, after all we all live on the same planet, and us buskers are just trying to spread some beautiful music around the streets and hopefully get some dosh in return.

What's your favourite tunes and how do they go down.

Try different spots and times to play, I found people in Australia really suppportive of buskers.

Any more Busking stories, I played in Welington NZ during the Sevens International Rugby event in Feb. This was a buzz lots of half cut people Dresssed for fun wandering the street going to the rugby, I ended up playing on the island in the middle of the road by the traffic lights, made $70 in two 1 hour blows.
 

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OP
tengu01

tengu01

Member
Messages
732
Location
London, UK
Busking in NZ

Hi there folks, appreciate all the comments and feedback. I have since moved on to New Zealand and am on my way into Auckland in the next couple of days. I will have to make my way back down to Wellington by the end of the month, but if anyone (Visionare) is in NZ, it could be a good meeting of like minds...

More busking tales to follow from Sydney adn now Wellington as well :)
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Hi there folks, appreciate all the comments and feedback. I have since moved on to New Zealand...... if anyone (Visionare) is in NZ, it could be a good meeting of like minds...
QUOTE]

Gidday Tengu01
Good to hear your in NZ, Wellington's easy just go to the Wellington City Hall, which is within stones throw of the Michael Fowler Centre (and earshot of the Public library) and you'll get a busking permit issued on the spot (no charge).

Spots I've found good are Lampton Quay (accross the road from a sculpture of a old greek column) outside the Lands and Survey building. Manners Mall, Cuba Street and Courtney Place.
I was visiting Wellington in Feb , I live in Nelson, that's on the South Island about 40 klms west of Wellington. If you get to Nelson your welcome to stay and blow your horn as long as you like. PM me for contact details... would love to see you.

Ciao

Jimu
 
OP
tengu01

tengu01

Member
Messages
732
Location
London, UK
Favourite Tunes and how they go down

Round Midnight: Good response. Has been recognised by a few
Poirot: A little slow and usually used as a warm up
Favourite Things: Well responded to. Some people have donated just for that. Children have danced to it
Take 5: They seem to be able to take it or leave it. Not much response
3 O Clock (Dexter Gordon - tune + solo): Always goes down a storm because of the super dexter gordon solo and the fact that people always recognise the end of the verse
Sarah Victoria (Acoustic Alchemy - Ancient Alchemy): Originally a guitar piece, wrestled into sax format. Usually appreciated by the audience
Pink Panther: Favourite with the children and has earned me a few coppers
Riverdance (The Countess Cathleen): Polite response. More for me than the audience. Love that piece of music to bits
St Thomas: Good response if I solo on it and make it funky
Nica's Dream: Medium
Desafinado: Medium to Good
Misty: Usually gets recognised by a few people and appreciated
A Song for My Father: Usually passed unrecognised unless I get funky on solo
Nature Boy: Well received at quiet times for people sitting and enjoying lunch
Summertime: Reasonably well received
Mercy Mercy Mercy: Not so much response. Usually goes down better with a band behind you to flesh it out. Can be a little repetitive otherwise
 
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