Guitarist vs bartender at 3 Allen Center, Houston

Why do people tip bartenders but not musicians? Should musicians be more forefront about this?


The guitar is a portable and versatile instrument capable of stealing hearts and filling the uncomfortable silence that stops conversation in mid-sentence. When there is no piano, the guitar steps in.

At least that’s how I see it.

On Wednesday 10th November 2010, while I was visiting a pianist in River Oaks, Robert was playing at the opening of a new exhibition in downtown Houston. Photographs of new architecture based on old architecture were displayed at 3 Allen Center at 333 Clay Street. The Anza Falco Museum has yet a space of its own — thus the exhibition in a temporary space until 17th December 2010.

Around 5:30 pm, classical guitarist Robert Bekkers set up his Dutch guitar and amplification against a wall opposite the bar. He warmed up while the bartender was setting up the bar. After playing a few solos, he received a $5 bill from a young man. That’s when he realised that people wanted to show their appreciation by donations. Only when asked, did he mention that he had CDs for sell.

Compare this to the bartender. People were putting dollar bills into his glass as a tip. The bills piled up quickly.

Linda Marroquin and guitarist Robert Bekkers at 3 Allen Center
Linda Marroquin and guitarist Robert Bekkers at 3 Allen Center


Why are people conditioned to tip bartenders, waiters, and waitresses?  They already receive salaries.

Why don’t people pay musicians who don’t receive salaries? The Dutch guitarist played for free but thanked those who donated and bought his CDs.

Author: BLOGmaiden

As one of the earliest bloggers (since 1999), I enjoy meeting people who embrace "out-of-the-box" thinking and fear not the unknown. I believe in collaboration for sustainability because it increases stakeholder value.

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