Reasons for busking

Performers need to perform to an audience. Busking is a way to play outdoors to an audience though payment is not guaranteed.


My instinctive reaction to Bekkers’ declaration “I’m going into town to play on the streets” was multi-fold.

  • Don’t you have something better to do? Your list of joys is long and winding. We have so much to do before we travel again. Shouldn’t be rehearsing our new repertoire? Can you really afford the time to go busking?
  • Does it make economic sense? There’s no certainty how much you will make, why risk it?
  • Are you hoping someone important and influential will discover you and make you famous? What are the chances of someone like that being there just when you are playing?
  • Outdoors in town is noisy and not an ideal environment for the classical guitar. Will you play at your optimal? Will people be able to hear you?
  • Surely you should be playing in a concert, on a stage — inflated value of scarcity — and not out in the open where anyone can hear you and not pay for it.

Maybe I am just jealous that he can take his guitar anywhere he wants and play it. I need a piano which I cannot carry. When I stayed in hotels, I played on the pianos available but I didn’t expect to be paid. Before I bought my Steinway, every time I spotted a grand piano I’d want to try it. But that was not busking.

Bekkers sensed my reservations.

“I’m a musician,” he said. “I have to perform even when there are no concerts booked. I would rather be outside playing than indoors studying. You know it’s different playing to an audience than to yourself.”

Soon after he arrived on the island of Maui in late 2010, Bekkers practised his daily scales and exercises outdoors in the nearby park. Later he took the guitar to the beach. That was not busking. That was outdoor study. How is busking different? [See next post.]

Robert Bekkers at the beach in Wailea, Maui, March 2011
Robert Bekkers at the beach in Wailea, Maui, March 2011



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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