Busking started it all
When I first started busking back in 2007 I never thought I could be a full time musician. Then about 5 years ago I met another musician who showed me how to improve my performance and earn more money. I bought an amp and soon after my electric violin. Then I started using backing tracks to play popular music along with my Irish tunes. After that people started asking me to perform at various events like weddings and parties so I had some business cards made. What happens when you play at one event? Other people hear you and ask you to play at another event.
Word of mouth is wonderful advertising
I of course set up my website about 4 years ago to also help my business. When people hear about me, it’s very useful to have a place where everything is presented and people can easily see what I do. Sometimes people post on Facebook when they’re looking for a musician for their event and other musicians tag me. I can then contact the person and send them my website and they can decide whether to book me.
Also, it is really great knowing other musicians in the area because we can help each other out. If I can’t do a gig I know who I can recommend to take my place. Or others might recommend me for a gig. That one gig can lead to sometimes many many other gigs which has happened to me this year.
I love what I do and I just speak about it positively, however, I have to be careful I don’t overbook myself. Some of the gigs I have coming up this summer require a lot of practice to learn new material. I’m also studying and practising for my grade 8 violin exam this July. I have to do a lot of juggling with my schedule and drop anything that won’t help me reach my goals (no more video games for me!).
So my fellow buskers, I want to hear from you! Do you struggle to get gigs from busking? Or have you been very successful and have any advice to add here? Looking forward to reading your thoughts.
Serena Smith is an American British violinist and fiddle player. I play full time as a street musician in addition to the live gigs I perform with several bands.