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The bottle to play for others

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
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1,015
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Essex
Well done Martin! that's brilliant news!

Phil good idea - but I really couldn't even do that without dragging some poor soul along with me for moral support! but maybe one day :D
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
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4,440
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The Palm Tree strewn Wandle Surf Beach under the o
I've been lucky. Whether with school choir, trad band, folk excursion, Morris melodeon and flute or even puffing at the tenor, just one word of appreciation or applause, makes it all worth while.
Jump, you're far better than you think.
 

tom9437

Member
Messages
180
Locality
peterborough uk
Martin well done will you let us know how you get on next week lol[no pressure]lol but i wish you all the best.
 

DaveW

Member
Messages
160
Locality
Stockport, Cheshire
Another one to say 'well done' Martin and do let us know how you get on. Good luck.
 

MartinL

Member
Messages
366
Locality
Bilston, United Kingdom.
Thanks for the good wishes everyone, It certainly focuses my mind now for practice. I'm really looking forward to going next week, even if I am scared to death... Maybe a quiet street corner in the snow would be a good idea... :))) Yes they let the music out, I'll get some next time.


>:)Looks like I hijacked the thread, LOL :)))
 

tom9437

Member
Messages
180
Locality
peterborough uk
You hijak all you like friend speak soon. Oh i just seen a thred about a course for £60 run by a Karen??? can anyone shed any light??and or if it would be good for me??? Thanks.
 

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
140
Locality
St.Helens, Merseyside. UK.
Hi Tom,
I managed to sit in with a local community band ( a wind orchestra- so basically anything you can blow, plus a drummer- about 60 strong). The first night was terrifying. I had never played with a conductor before, or with other players. I'd never considered having to count several bars rest as I had only played on my own from tutor books. I was playing 2nd Alto on a piece called 'Mancini Magic'- a medley of Henry Mancini tunes. I didn't have a clue and played about 10% of my part.
HOWEVER- the rest of the sax players there were incredibly supportive and full of good advice. Four years later I have 60 friends I didn't have before, my sight reading and ensemble playing have improved no end, and I get the chance to pass on what I've learned when new sax players join the band.
My advice is try to find a group to play with. You won't be the best player there, but you won't be the worst- and either way, does it matter? You know what you want to achieve, and you'll enjoy yourself along the way.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
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21,471
Locality
Just north of Munich
The music schools here make their pupils play in public from the very beginning. First concert is usually at the end of the first year, and from then on it's twice a year at least. On stage, in an auditorium, often a big one. Captive audience, all proud to see little Johnny/Mary doing his stuff on stage, even with the fluffs. As one of those parents, it's interesting to see the kids progress... And some are really good. And since I signed up there, something tells me I'm going to have to do my first gig in the middle of a pile of kids, ranging from about 6 to 16..... I need to get good, fast, cos all those parents aren't going to be very easy on me...

In a similar vein I used to be the barman in a folk club in the late 70s. There were always a few floor spots, often solo - guys would range from appalling, to pretty good (and hoping to get booked), but we supported all of them - and the regulars picked up and progressed nicely. Never any catcalls for the beginners, just appreciation of their efforts. I always admired the bottle of the starters, especially the ones who knew they weren't very good, but were giving it a go. A few encouraging words from the bar afterwards did a lot of good, and helped them keep going. Funny, most seemed to think it was a lot easier than they'd expected.... It was the getting going that was hard.

So hats off to those who've tried it. And to those who haven't, take the plunge.... It'll only do you good.
 

SteveK

Member
Messages
148
Locality
Guildford, Surrey
Bite the bullet and get out and busk. Work on 5 simple standards - record yourself and play them back - listen very critically. Ideally get a portable amp and have some backing music as well.
It's tough but you'll learn more in a hour busking than in six months of playing to yourself.
Another idea is to post on gumtree (www.gumtree.....) there is a musicians section. It's free for a basic ads that stay at the top for a few days.
Sometimes you just have to take the chance and either shine of feel like a fool - but you learn more and develop faster with the later.
Don't feel alone as I know many very accomplished musicians who will not play solo.

Steve
 

tom9437

Member
Messages
180
Locality
peterborough uk
Thanks steve ,kev, Rico It all sounds so easy lol Busking i have considerd many times but often worry about taking somebodys spot.and even more someone tring to pinch your sax case or even your sax???. I have sent 2 emails off to the peterborough big band and peterborough orchestra i dont hold much hope but who knows.It just makes me feel so down because this is the one thing in my life that i think of most of my wakeing time and even after 2/3 years my family listen [forced lol] all i get is ye its ok[end] i need to prove to myself and people who know me that i can play it will be the only thing i achieve in this life.Family and friends all see me eg on face book ect and my pics always me with my sax but no one ever mentions it wierd ??? anyway does anyone know of the Lady called karen who does a sax course for £60 ?????? thanks Tom.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,015
Locality
Essex
Tom can you play a blues scale? if so get yourself down to a local blues/pub jam night and have a go! (google blues jams/jam nights in your area) if I can do that anyone can!
 

Howard Long

Member
Messages
51
Locality
London
Tom can you play a blues scale? if so get yourself down to a local blues/pub jam night and have a go! (google blues jams/jam nights in your area) if I can do that anyone can!

I started doing blues scales only about a month ago after someone in the office I work in, who also plays sax, said he was having a go. What a hoot! After less than a week I was improving for the first time in my life.

Then over Christmas, my nephew, who's a Grade 5 guitarist, and I did an impromptu blues jam. It was the first time I'd ever improved with anyone. Now my mother, a classically trained pianist with a Grade 6 certificate gained circa 1945, who normally doesn't have a single good word to say about me, was gobsmacked. She just could not work out how two people, who've never played together, could just play reasonably cogently off the top of their heads.

Cheers, Howard
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,034
Locality
Rugby UK
Now my mother, a classically trained pianist with a Grade 6 certificate gained circa 1945, who normally doesn't have a single good word to say about me, was gobsmacked. She just could not work out how two people, who've never played together, could just play reasonably cogently off the top of their heads.

Cheers, Howard

Keep it up Howard cos there's nothing like the feeling of producing music "off the cuff" Get yourself off to a jam session now and see how that feels!
Well done for getting up and having a go! (I always find it harder to play in front of relatives than a whole crowd of strangers :w00t:
 

SteveK

Member
Messages
148
Locality
Guildford, Surrey
B*gg*r the other buskers - just get there and setup. They are no different to you. My town council requires that you don't play for more than two hours. I usually only do a max of an hour (I can't stand listening to myself for longer).
The really is that all the men will quietly envy you (because they wish they could do it) and the woman will want to... oops I think thats my wife coming.
Open mic in local pubs are a good idea as well.
Don't waste your time worrying how other people react or don't react - it's very complex. It will come.
Steve
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,015
Locality
Essex
I started doing blues scales only about a month ago after someone in the office I work in, who also plays sax, said he was having a go. What a hoot! After less than a week I was improving for the first time in my life.

Then over Christmas, my nephew, who's a Grade 5 guitarist, and I did an impromptu blues jam. It was the first time I'd ever improved with anyone. Now my mother, a classically trained pianist with a Grade 6 certificate gained circa 1945, who normally doesn't have a single good word to say about me, was gobsmacked. She just could not work out how two people, who've never played together, could just play reasonably cogently off the top of their heads.

Cheers, Howard

Well done Howard - great isn't it and so easy to improvise!

I slip into blues accidently so much that I get ticked off at my jazz class for over-using it ;} :D
 

tom9437

Member
Messages
180
Locality
peterborough uk
Stevek can i ask what 5 b tunes and backing you would use??? also and would you use something like a boogi box with battery play back. and last of all do i need a permit to set up ??? or just turn up and play??? thanks and well done to the others for din there thing :welldone. \i wish this thred could go on and on its been great speaking and hearing your stories Thanks Tom.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,034
Locality
Rugby UK
Tom, I don't know if you read my post on my busking adventures, but you may find them helpful. MY Busking Exploits Phone your local county council or county hall and ask them for advice. Cover all the surrounding areas so that it gives you the freedom to try different places. One word of advice is to watch out or other buskers, sometimes they are not too friendly, especially the unkempt ones with dogs. Nuneaton has such a fellow. Most other buskers respect each other and don't play in the same road as you, or at least within earshot of each other. Quite often, if there is another muso playing you can come to an agreement to share the prime locations. That way every one's happy.
 
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SteveK

Member
Messages
148
Locality
Guildford, Surrey
Stevek can i ask what 5 b tunes and backing you would use??? also and would you use something like a boogi box with battery play back. and last of all do i need a permit to set up ??? or just turn up and play??? thanks and well done to the others for din there thing :welldone. \i wish this thred could go on and on its been great speaking and hearing your stories Thanks Tom.
I have so far used the following with success: (E=Easy, M=Medium, H=Hard)
Ain't Misbehavin' E
Body and Soul E
Bye Bye Blackbird E
Desafinado M
Don't Get around much any more M
Lady is a Tramp M
The Girl from Ipanema M
Lambada M
Let it Be Me M
Lover Man E
Misty M
Oye Como Va H
Stranger On The Shore M
Summertime M
Sunny Side Of The Street E
A Train M
Brown Eyed Girl H
Billy's Bounce H (Alto ideally)
Take Five H (Alto ideally)
Just the Way You Are H
One Step Beyond H
The Nearest Thing to Crazy H
What a Wonderful World (Easy but hard to make it sound good)

These are al very safe and stand up well on their own as interesting melodies without having to improvise. I sometimes throw in a blues shuffle to improvise over.

I use a Tascam Transamp ( I think this is the correct name but I can't check it as I'm travelling at the moment) It has a whopping great power supply, 30 watts amp with a good sound, an Ipod dock on the top and two other inputs for balanced/unbalanced. It has a single speaker but you can link it to another amp to make a 'mini PA'. I do not use a mic for the horn as they are quite loud enough on their own. It is very heavy but luckily it comes with wheels and a retractable handle rather like a suit case. Carrying this around (the wheels don't work well on bumpy surfaces) with a tenor is just about manageable. It's weight is a problem (my arms are often aching by the time I set up) but the up side is that the quality is very good, I setup all the songs on my Ipod, it recharges off the mains and the charge lasts for ever (8 hours+), it even recharges the Ipod. I am often asked to play at parties and family gatherings so it is very useful to just turn up with it so I know what I'm working with - nothing worse than unfamiliar equipment!. I wish it had reverb but I haven't needed it yet anyway.
Roland also do a very good range of battery or rechargeable amps (Cube) which are very compact and I've seen many buskers using them. Primarily for guitarists, but if you need to mic up, some of them have balanced inputs as well. If I was buying again for busking I would go for a Roland - my amp is great but just too heavy.

I took some time to find out if I needed a busking license and then was eventually, to my surprise, told that I did not but was asked to not play where it bothered people and not play for more than two hours before moving on. I was forwarded to the traders licensing department and then finally to the high street management office. The person I finally spoke to was very helpful and said they encouraged live music. Shopping areas usually welcome responsible buskers as it adds to the atmosphere.
I have never had any complaints. I have had a number of band offers, made some pocket money (but I hate it when it hits you between the eyes) and even had a drink or two bought for me.
I cannot see anyone trying to steal or interfere with you while you're paying - but maybe I am naive - you just need to look a little menacing. Jack Dupre, the famous barrel house blues singer/player, said that he chose the piano for his main instrument because when the bullets started flying it was the pianist who usually survived (due to the large wooden frame in front of him).
Although I can play some of the songs by heart I take a music stand anyway. I find this adds confidence but ideally I will stop doing this in time. I also do a couple of the songs without backing as it presents a different challenge.
Most people, like me, I imagine, go through phases and find some days or weeks their playing doesn't sound as good - I suggest you pick a high point if you can.
Make sure you use a robust stand - the collapsable wire one's can be a liability on a bumpy pavement especially if it is windy. Oh, and take some clips to stop the paper flying away.
Have at least one spare reed ready to play. I find that when I feel nervous, as I do when I am first setting up (fine once I'm playing) it is very easy to split a reed.
If you are in cold weather you will have to push the mouthpiece in further than usual. I suggest that you try this at home first as you will probably be pushing it onto fresh cork which can be difficult.
When you first play in an open space you will sound quite different to playing in a house as you will not hear the close reflections of sound - be prepared for this and don't worry as your ear will gradually adjust to the change and 'tune' into the new sound.
I busked before christmas when it was -3 degrees. I had to push the MP on further than ever before. It was quite a struggle and in the process I managed to bend the octave mechanism and split a good reed. I managed to bend it back but my session was off to a less than ideal start.
If you play with backing music, I suggest (because I'm a wimp) that you use an electronic tuner to get set up before your start.
One last thing - especially if you are using backing music, get the playing order sorted out before you leave home. You don't want to be shuffling sheet music on a windy day and it is best to maintain continuity between the songs.

Taz, apologies if I have repeated anything - I haven't had a chance to read your busking adventures yet but certainly will.

Steve
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,034
Locality
Rugby UK
Taz, apologies if I have repeated anything - I haven't had a chance to read your busking adventures yet but certainly will.

Steve

No apology necessary Steve, you've certainly done your homework and come up with some really good advice for Tom, and anyone else who's tempted to take it to the streets for that matter.
Do you and have you busked a lot, you sound like you've had quite a bit of experience?
 

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