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· Registered
766 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody,

as the title states does anyone play as a "streetmusician"?

Often you`ll see city`s and larger towns musicians on a street corner or in an allyway or any acoustic preferred location, with a hat or case with a few pennies dollars cents euro`s etc.. sometimes alone sometimes acompanied.. and often quite talented or skilled people I allways enjoy such performances..

Are there any Sotw members that just get out on the street en play the sax, and i'm not talking about marching bands or ensembles.

just jam it on the street..

· Registered
4,795 Posts
Ah shoot, I sought for it but probably couldnt find it because I just learned the term "busking" by clicking you link..

I found it hard to believe that there wouldnt be such a thread but I havent searched hard enough then?

No worries, it's hard to think of every term that something might be known by. With regard to playing on the street, I've thought about trying but have never had the guts to give a try

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
4,851 Posts
I've busked a few times, but generally don't feel good about it unless I have at least a few bandmates to hide behind.

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
7,329 Posts
I chimed in on the other thread but it's sooooo long that I put in my .02 here.

I've busked in Victoria and Vancouver for 11 years. Started when I was 12.

Right now and for the past 5 years it's been my primary source of income.

Playing around 3-4 hours a day I usually make about 50 bux. Which is ok I guess.

Three times since I've started someone has given me 100 dollars as a tip.

It rains a lot here in Victoria and there are only two good spots with shelter so it gets a lot tougher in the winter. Except right around Christmas time.

I can't even begin to count the number of interesting people and legitimate gigs that I've gotten from people hearing me play on the street. Right now I'm gigging three nights a week just from people having talked to me when I was busking.

I started young and didn't really have any fear but I get how some people might be nervous about the whole solo performance thing.

Just do it.

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615 Posts
Yes I do. Just got home. Friday commute was pretty good even though it's been kinda dead all week. $53. 46, two NRG bars, a banana and a $10 Subway gift card... in three hours. I played my whole set list down with two choruses each tune, some long segues. I start with the blues and end with the blues... I could just play blues for three hours. The stuff gets pretty twisted after about an hour.

Busking is one of the most freeing things I have ever done in my life. I wish I would have done it a long time ago, but it didn't occur to me until the beginning of this year. The generosity of people is just humbling. Mostly I try to ignore people and don't make eye contact. Much of the time I have to close my eyes to concentrate on what I'm playing.

What a concept. Go have a good time, work your stuff out and people give you money.

There are times when people have a burning desire to talk to me, even though I'm looking them right in the eye and blowing chorus after chorus, never taking the horn out of my mouth. I have met some really cool people and some literally insane people too. That is when I feel really self conscious... when I'm standing there talking, holding the horn. I never feel self conscious when I'm playing it. Hey, if I wanted to talk, I would have brought my soap box.

I have to admit to a guilty pleasure. I haven't told anybody this yet, so don't spread it around. Sometimes the most beautiful women, dressed up and made up, give me some large bills. I play things that I couldn't say in English... you know, some growly, trilly, Cannonball blues lick... heh, heh. Thanks babe!

It's a trip for sure. Every day is different. I've had a couple days where I made six bucks. I still felt good after playing until I blew my chops out. Best day this year was $75, bag of fresh picked apples, pears... and a delivery guy from StumpTown Rosters gave me a big bag of $13 a pound coffee... in two and a half hours. Mostly it just melts people's minds that there is some guy blowing bebop, oblivious his surroundings. I get lots of good comments, thumbs up and positive energy. I've never had anybody tell me to beat it or that it bothered them.

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144 Posts
I learned to play busking over the last seven years. Haven´t been out so much recently since the band split up, been a bit glum and practising a lot, and they passed a law law here prohibiting anything that´s fun, but we still manage to get away with it!! Most all the best things in my life come from the sax, music and the street. I guess it´s not for everybody though.
I think the most busked tune is besame mucho. Pink panther, improvising on the Simpson´s theme, the blues, classical music and bossa nova all go down well. I play a lot of standards cause they come out nice, but not mant people know the numbers ones from the 1930´s

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
7,329 Posts
Tunes I play on the street include but are not limited to:

My one and only love
Blue Monk
Don't get around much anymore
Doxy/Tenor madness/ No Moe
St. Thomas
Harlem Nocturne
Makin Whoopee/ Sunny Side of the street/ Lullaby of Birdland
Gee baby aint I good to you/ Aint Misbehaven
Bye Bye Blackbird
Sugar/ Fever
Comin' home baby/ The Pink Panther
Summer Time/ Clint Eastwood (by the Gorillaz)
Work Song
Song for my Father
All of me/ There will never be another you

And some others.....

Oh...... and Careless Whisper by George Michael....

Today I only played an hour and made 40 bux. Off to the Blues jam and then Rehearsal for a show next week.

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615 Posts
Nice tune list littlewailer. I should know all of those and I don't. Yeah Sugar. I'm relearning it after a long time. Great tune, great changes. You can get really outside on that and come back to the simple lick.

It's a challenge to play by yourself. You have to juggle all the balls of melody, harmony and rhythm. I end up playing differently with a bass player because when you play alone, you kind of have to be your own bass player. It's just something you have to divide your attention onto and it has to be part of your compositional approach or jazz conception... you know what I mean?

I'm going to see Tower of Power in a couple minutes, so I played through the noon hour for about two hours. Made $28.25 and a guy gave me a roll of quarters, so that's like $38 and a guy in a catering truck gave me box with an insanely good hot BBQ chicken dinner... he had like a hundred of them. I got to work my stuff out, be out in a really nice fall day, people give me money and thanked me for creating a vibe. It's sometimes surreal.

Tune Up/Countdown
Donna Lee
Freedom Jazz Dance
Giant Steps
Groovin’ High
In a Sentamental Mood
Joy Spring
Lazy Bird
Moment’s Notice
Nica’s Dream
TheNight Has a 1000 Eyes
One Note Samba
‘Round Midnight
Seven Steps To Heaven
Well You Needn’t
Woodyn’ You
Lullaby of Birdland

and like Lush Life and 'Round Midnight if I can remember the all the changes, plus I have three original tunes that I play in a medley and can stretch into an hour. If I don't play ballads, I can't remember them, so I try to get to them through the week.

There are so many great tunes to learn. I'm slow. It takes me forever to learn tunes. I suck.

There is a quote I heard from harp player, the late great Paul Delay... "Life is like a harmonica... sometimes you blow... and sometimes you suck." I think Charlie Musselwhite really said it first, but who know who said it first. I try to blow as much as I can every day. It better than the other one.

· Distinguished SOTW Member
4,127 Posts
I did it once. I got mooned by a dude in a passing car who stood out the sunroof and pulled his pants down.

Never again.
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