The Busking Project

One time, when chatting with my Virtual Choir friends, the subject moved onto busking. One of them, composer Liam Walsh, has been busking for a spell and simply loves it.

It's something that I've been curious about for some time, ever since I heard a gentleman sing arias on Stephen Avenue Mall in the 1980's and '90s. I've seen a variety of buskers, from fire eaters to jugglers and from guitar/cajón duos to balloon artists. They all seem fairly chipper, happy to be outside and are fun to talk to.

As some of you know, I'm on the hunt for supplementary streams of income, other projects to help even out the roller coaster of music education industry. While I'm waiting for nibbles on my resume, I've been keeping busy with my blogging and affiliate marketing (in between teaching and practicing). Now that the weather's getting nicer, I figure I'll give busking a try.

As with any gig, I know that it involves a lot of work - not only do you need to have a certain level of fluency, but your programming choices need to chosen carefully. A healthy dose of showmanship is needed to draw people to stay and listen to you (and yes, pay you too).

Like other background music gigs, not everyone is going to listen. Strangely, I'm cool with that. The idea of giving my non-dominant instruments (TL: easily portable) some action is a worthy challenge. The idea of playing outside, in the sunshine, jamming with friends or by myself, just sounds fun.

Partway ready. Got portable instruments (melodica, cajón and voice). Time to work on set lists and rope in friends to play along with. Photo by R-M Arca.

If you are interested in busking, check out these articles and websites:

Busking with Calgary Transit

Calgary Farmers' Market Busking Application

City of Calgary - Busking

How to Be a Busker

How to Busk for Profit

How to Make Money Busking