How to Busk in Boston Part 1: Why Busk?
( A piece by Matt Sokol at weirdodrummer.tumblr.com)
This is a guide to performing music and making money in the MBTA stations through Boston’s official busking program. In part 1, I’ll tell you why busking is such a good idea.
I can give you three reasons to busk:
1. Busking is the most direct step you can take to make money from your music.
Every musician wonders how they can make money from their music. With busking, you can make that happen within weeks of the initial decision to start.
Busking is a simple concept. You go out, busk for hours, and make money. Compare that to selling a recording - you can’t go out for six hours and sell records unless you are an extremely good salesman. You CAN go out and busk, though, and probably receive at least some money for your effort.
If making money from music seems confusing, busking is a simple way to get started.
2. Busking is a great way to improve your performance skills.
There is a big difference between playing in a rehearsal space and performing for a real crowd of people.
As a street performer you can hone your skills on a day to day basis, learning how to interact with people and to build a crowd. This isn’t easy and you will notice a difference within a few weeks of busking.
Amanda Palmer and Charlie Hunter got their start as street performers. It’s a cool way to build your skills.
3. You will build a stronger repertoire of songs.
Busking is extremely repetitive. If you have an hour’s worth of music, it will seem to run out quickly.
You will be driven to learn new material. Learning a lot of new music will have a huge impact on your vocabulary as a performer and songwriter. It’s also thrilling to begin to understand the tricks that your favorite artists use.
This is an awesome side-effect of the busking process.
If this sounds remotely appealing to you, stay tuned. In part 2 I will tell you how to do the first few steps of the busking process - applying for a permit and getting your set together.