August 21, 2012

Busking Thoughts

Busking is exhausting, too hot or too cold, noisy and the audience is often small. So why do I like it so much?
For one thing it inspires new music. When I first started busking, I played a lot of folk tunes, old troubadour music or Renaissance tunes. I've always liked how these tunes seemed to be related and the fit in at Festivals wonderfully. Plus the improvisations and variations I came up with made it possible to play one tune for a longer time without boring myself (or my audience!) It was a startling short hop from there to simply playing music I created from scratch. Not everything was wonderful but it is thrilling to know people were willing to listen to a tune I created. The more time I spent busking the more I improvised on my own musical ideas. The more I did this, the more I liked the music I created and before long I had a long list of original tunes I was trying to remember.
Then of course I busk because I love to play. And I like seeing people smile when they hear the music even if they don't stop. I feel like I'm doing my tiny part to add creativity and maybe even beauty to people's everyday lives, something there should always be more of.

In many ways busking is an endurance activity. Even when you only have a short time to play in, you have to keep the energy and music moving the whole time. There is no off-stage to duck into, even when you can take a break. The more involved I am in the music, the easier it is to keep the show going. When the music changes and is new, I can (and do!) stay enthusiastic about playing till I drop.
Mixing up the music I play, my own, folk, Classical and anything I've just wandered into is what keeps busking closer to a game than work. And nothing is quite as exciting as putting the flute to my face and discovering what I’m about to play along with the audience.

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