Classical Guitar Busking.

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
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Sebastian
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Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Sebastian » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:50 am

Hi, one of my desires was to go busking sooner or late, with mainly fingerstyle repertoire (pop and rock songs arrangements for solo guitar) and some classical guitar pieces.
The main concern about this thread is based on these questions:

1) How many times have you busked with solo classical guitar/fingerstyle repertoire?
2) How much time did you play in each particular busking session?
3) How many pieces did you play in each particular busking session? Which were those pieces?
4) At what times did you go busking and where? Are there any particular places/times you remember that were better for any particular reasons?

Thanks.
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Christopher Langley
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Christopher Langley » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:33 am

Try to be in a high traffic area.

Try to actually be noticed and heard.

Try to play songs people will know and to be prepared for requests.

Pop and rock will certainly bring in more tips than classical.

Some others will chime in.
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Sebastian
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Sebastian » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:53 pm

Well thanks Christopher, that only answers one of my six questions but I still appreciate the comment and suggestion
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robert e
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by robert e » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:31 pm

Good luck, Sebastian!

I've never busked so I have little personal experience to share. I have performed on stage in public spaces (rock/pop bands) and casually played in public spaces (including solo classical and finger-picking). About a hundred years ago, I briefly followed a busker around for a college research paper.

Despite the inadequate qualifications, allow me to suggest that, for the most part, the answers to your questions are so specific to particular locations, times and transient crowd make-up that you'll likely get better answers from an hour of first-hand observation than anyone here can give you.

Beyond that, I won't presume to lecture you on safety, but that's first. Secondly, if you don't know the area well, scout. For good reasons, buskers prefer places like plazas and transit stations at busy times. Spend time in promising places and watch what happens. Mingle with the crowd, find out what the audience likes from their point of view.

Obviously, talk to the buskers (if any).

Something one may not think of: Of course, you'll have to be on good terms with the local police, but they are also potentially your best informants if you can get them talking. Just like anyone else, they have relationships to and opinions about music, but they are also trained observers, and they've been at the scene day in and day out. They can tell you what's popular, what spots sound best, which spots attract thieves or panhandlers, or get overrun by rushing commuters.

As for repertoire, I'm sure you realize that your answers can only come from doing and experimenting. Variety, material you know so well that you can pay some attention to the crowd. Don't make too many assumptions. I've seen buskers do well with just standard classical repertoire, even studies. Office lunchers and tourists don't necessarily want the same thing. Some crowds are mostly the same day to day, while others change daily, hourly, etc.

I'm just belaboring the obvious, now, so again good luck, and enjoy yourself! And let us know how it goes!

mvp019a
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by mvp019a » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:10 pm

I have a friend who was traveling and got delayed at an airport. She opened her case and decided to practice a while during her delay, and when she was done, she had some money in her case that she hadn't even noticed getting put there, nor was she looking for it. And her "repertoire" would definitely have been all classical.

I would imagine you don't need too many pieces because it is highly unlikely anyone is going to hang around for very long. I would bet you would need only 10 or 12 pieces (more if they are mostly very short pieces of less than 3 minutes), and can cycle through them repeatedly. Think of it as an outdoor rehearsal session for the pieces you know well...and you can get paid something for doing it.

Check your local laws as well. Where I live it is very busker friendly, but you cannot use amplification without a permit (generally not an issue for classical) and you have to be so many feet from a bank or ATM (I cannot recall how far; IIRC a couple of hundred feet or so.) And of course, it cannot be private property unless you have permission.
Mark

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Flawiler63
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Flawiler63 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:13 pm

Hi Sebastian
I regularly do busking sessions (in Summer) and play mainly classical. I enjoy playing "easy listening" pieces (Kindgren,LInnemann), some easy renaissance music, as well as (not too hard) classical pieces (eg. DeVisée, Logy, Sanz, Sor, Tarrega, Tisserand, Coldrick, Villa-Lobos. Then there are the crowd favourites like Classical Gas, Romance, Cavatina...
As I live in Ireland, I always include music by O'Carolan and well known Irish Tunes, in arrangements by among others, Loesberg and Jerry Willard - tourists in particular like them.
I normally play 2 to 3 hours for a session. I am quite good at sight reading, so I can play several hours of music (without repeating a piece). I consider my busking a sort of rehearsal for my gigs (background music) in restaurants.

Hope this helps a little and (partially) answers some of your questions.

Christian

razz
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by razz » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:20 pm

Not exactly busking but, the beach front promenade, near my summer cottage, makes a good place for me to sit and play when the weather is warm. I usually run through my memorized repertoire 1-3 times. I don't put out a tip jar. I just play as people walk by. Typically, someone stops to chat for a few minutes. My session last about an hour or two.

I try to do this about once per week between Easter and Halloween. Mid morning or late afternoon works best for time of day. "Sorry, I don't know that one" slides off my vocal chords a lot, but this impromptu audience does not seem to mind.

People have offered me paying gigs during these sessions. If the music that I play fits their needs and I have no other commitments, I take the gig.
Last edited by razz on Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rognvald
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Rognvald » Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:45 pm

Classical guitar busking???? It's like wearing a tuxedo when you take out the garbage. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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Tony Hyman
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Tony Hyman » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:45 pm

Other classically trained musicians busk on their instruments simply because they can in most cases.So why not cg players as well .I cant see why the etudes and other things we learn cant be" read " or played into any situation that would warrant impromptu performance by a cg performer who is not required to play a specific piece as written for a specific occasion.We all have different reasons for taking to a specific instrument.It is difficult to answer all the questions posed because of the nature of "busking" or "jamming" is usually taken as the moment presents itself, and the performer able to "crack it or not"
That is why as far as I am concerned the more we practice scales and arpeggios the luckier we get.

PeteJ
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by PeteJ » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:59 am

I once had to stand outside Top Shop in Cheltenham for a (ridiculously) long time while the the missus did some shopping. There was a busker outside playing Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring and it sounded very nice. Half an hour later he was still playing it. He never reached the end but just went round and round the repeats. For all I know he's still there going round and round this one piece. I doubt anyone except me noticed since people usually just walk past. So maybe a large repertoire is not important.

musicbyandy
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by musicbyandy » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:16 pm

Sebastian wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:50 am
Hi, one of my desires was to go busking sooner or late, with mainly fingerstyle repertoire (pop and rock songs arrangements for solo guitar) and some classical guitar pieces.
The main concern about this thread is based on these questions:

1) How many times have you busked with solo classical guitar/fingerstyle repertoire?
2) How much time did you play in each particular busking session?
3) How many pieces did you play in each particular busking session? Which were those pieces?
4) At what times did you go busking and where? Are there any particular places/times you remember that were better for any particular reasons?

Thanks.
1. Approximately 6 times.
2. Approximately 2 hours.
3. I played all of the pieces that I know from memory. I won't name all of the pieces, sorry.
4. City park benches during weekend afternoons and in the doorway of a covered store front on Friday nights. Because of acoustics, I liked the doorway of the covered store front . Here is a photo of the store front. The Black Wagon toy store: https://52perfectdays.com/articles/port ... -full-fun/
Last edited by musicbyandy on Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mollbarre
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Mollbarre » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:04 pm

- - -

No one said you had to dress up to play classical music - especially while busking.

There's a difference between going to a formal concert to hear classical music and walking by a busker playing classical music.

As far as busking repertoire goes, I don't think you need a lot...you're playing background music - a few people may stop and listen intensely for a few minutes before they get on with their day, the rest will only be vaguely aware there some sort of music being played...
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Sandaun
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by Sandaun » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:34 am

I noticed a busker once in Christchurch (NZ) playing the classical guitar. I was in a hurry so I didn't stop and listen, but I noticed that he was getting contributions. I have heard and seen buskers playing electric double bass, bass clarinet, tenor sax, and pipa (Chinese lute) in the same city, so I think it's definitely doable, even if the classical guitar is not the usual fare for the listening public.

I've busked with ukulele once, recorder twice and flute once. It's worth a try.
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spronev
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Re: Classical Guitar Busking.

Post by spronev » Wed May 22, 2019 3:32 am

I am doing this for a second season now (did it last year for about 5 months and just started this season again). Where I live the city has a busking program and you have to apply to it by providing something that shows your playing. I have an youtube channel with over 200 videos of me playing, so that's not a problem. The city allocates specific spots a labels them on the ground for busking and these are the only spots where those in the program can play. Some are good spots, some not so good. High traffic areas like terminals or pedestrian walkways with a lot of foot traffic are good. Some are more relaxing (e.g. a walkway along the lake in the summer). Others not so much (e.g. a busy bus terminal).

My repertoire now is 20 pieces and they are a mix of some classical, some contemporary, and a lot of Latin American (all played classical style though). As others have said, you don't need a long repertoire as people don't stick around for very long. It has happened that someone would stick around for 5-6 pieces in a row though, so having only a couple pay not be enough.

For me it's a good way to play in front of people and practice my repertoire - some of which I have been playing long enough that I can play with my eyes closed, while others need more work and are more recent. When it's busy you can play what you are comfortable with. When it's not so busy, you can practice the rest as well. I often play about 2 hours and my repertoire is about 1 hour and 20 minutes now, so some will definitely repeat.

Svilen

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