Playing Outdoors

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by UsnDoc, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. UsnDoc

    UsnDoc New Friend

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Sanford, NC
    I remember reading a thread about persons playing outdoors and finding crowds or school kids who hadn't ever seen a live musician.

    For those of you who practice out in parks, or even do a little busking, what kinds of music do you play? What do you find that audiences react to more than others?

    The weather has finally turned to nice up here, and I am starting to get that cooped up feeling. I just don't know what I want to play outdoors as I imagine that any passersby would get as bored with the various scales, solos, and etudes as I do, despite how necessary they are.

    Thanks,
    -Doc
     
  2. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 4, 2007
    I'm *guessing* that the secret is to play something resembling soft, gentle background Muzak, could be classical or jazz or pop or whatever (playing a variety would be especially educational for the audience).
    That way the people who want to listen can listen, but the people who don't want to hear can just ignore.
    Some people go to the park to get away from noise and would indeed consider any musical instrument to be noise, while other people would consider soft music in the park to be an enhancement.

    - morris
     
  3. c.nelson

    c.nelson Pianissimo User

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Alberton, Montana USA
    I 'm really glad to hear these questions being voiced.These are truly core issues for any "street performer".
    WHAT SHOULD I PLAY?
    Playing etudes, scales,or ANY form of "practice" should be avoided.Never practice in public.
    The "muzac" approach is the opposite of what you should be trying to achieve.
    This is unispired pap that makes people want to ignore you.
    Just play what you know well, and can play with "spirit".
    SOME PEOPLE MIGHT BE ANNOYED.
    The trumpet being the most powerfull acoustic instrument,
    you may need to find ways to regulate your volume.
    Use a mute, or point your horn at the grass.(I hate using a mute)
    Remember there will always people who will be annoyed,
    but if you play your music with sincerity,I guarentee the people
    you delight would be happy to banish the others from the kingdom.
    AM I GOOD ENOUGH?
    AM I SMART ENOUGH?
    AND GOSH DARN IT, DO PEOPLE LIKE ME?
    These are questions all performers ask themselves every day.
    Fear of blowing a clam in public has reduced many a man(or woman) to piles of jelly.
    This is the bad part of our ego.
    I think alot of ego is needed to play horn, or any other instrument on a high level,
    but keeping the good and throwing out the bad is nessesary for a persons musical,
    and mental health.
    OH YEAH, be so very prepared for any performance.
    This is the best way to keep the "Stuart Smally syndrome" at bay.

    I have recently been playing several pieces from Bela Bartok's "Romainian folk dances".
    JOC CU BATA, BRAUL, AND BUCIUMEANA.
    These very short "dances" are perfect for street performance.
    I seem to get more hardy applause for these pieces every time I play them.
    My current goal is to learn all six dances and play the whole piece as one.

    OK bla bla bla I'm done now.

    DON'T WORRY , BLOW HAPPY.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with Mr. Nelson. We have many russian symphonic players on the streets in Germany during their summer break. They have their cases open and seem to get the most money when playing things that sound russian. Occasionally we have groups from Brazil doing the same thing, but playing music from their homeland - goes over real well.
    I do not think that the walk by audience is as much interested in what is played, if the music instills a reaction other than "annoying" they will probably stop and listen, if only briefly! If PASSION is conveyed, your chances increase dramatically that they will stick around for a while.
    NEVER EVER PRACTICE IN PUBLIC!
    Depending where you are, even local music could get interest. It would be proof that you are paying attention in any case!
     
  5. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Jun 11, 2006
    I would buy a spiral bound hymnal and play the melody line. When you play it through the first time people will recognize the tune and the second time through they may sing along. Not many people know the second verse from memory so it wouldn't have to be played. A few variations ad lib on the third verse if you play it.
    Make sure you have space between you and the audience. You don't want your teeth knocked out by a drunk taking offense. I would use a cornet for street work. Maybe even a pocket trumpet. Add a trombone or a bass later when your reputation grows. A flugal on the alto part would make a nice sound.
     
  6. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

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    Boston
    When I did the street musician thing in Boston a few years ago, I did a lot of Bach Cello Suites, Arbans Melodies and jazz ballads.

    -Jimi
     
  7. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 4, 2007
    I *like* Muzak.
    Perry Como music puts me to sleep with a smile on my face without all the annoying side-effects of pills ;-)

    [By Muzak I was really only referring to loudness, a volume that can be listened to if wanted to or ignored if wanted to, and a choice of songs that would appeal to the widest audience. So playing some
    irritating rap song as loud as a jet engine would be a no-no. Playing something classical or jazz rather quietly would be a yes-yes.]

    - morris
     
  8. OdieLopez3

    OdieLopez3 New Friend

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    Jan 21, 2007
    It just depends on the atmosphere of where ever it is your playing and make sure you enjoy doing it as well dont just go on playing, its fun and it'll get the crowd coming.
     

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