Street Musician

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by someguy6, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. someguy6

    someguy6 New Friend

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    Sep 8, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Anyone ever attempt to be a street musician? What were your experiences? Was it a good time or bad time?

    I'm sure laws are different from place to place, but what are typical laws regulating this type of activity?
     
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    Mar 21, 2006
    Toronto
    I have busked a few times. My first time going, I played christmas carols outside of the Eaton centre in Toronto with another trumpet player. In 4 hours we made $100 each which is quite a lot from what I hear.

    Mainly, go and have a good time. Ask shop owners if you can play outside if you think you will be hassled. In Toronto you need a street performance license to play in the subway system.
     
  3. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

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    I've done the street musician thing a number of times. The key is to enjoy yourself. The summer after my freshman year I stayed in Boston over the summer and played in the subway for food money. Every morning I would wake up at 6am, hustle down to the subway stop and play for the rush hour crowd. My favorite thing to do was to play from David Cooper's transcription of Bach Cello Suites. Man, those were good times....

    Jimi
     
  4. SkaTrumpetChick

    SkaTrumpetChick New Friend

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    Jul 31, 2006
    Boston!
    I live near Boston and I was thinking about trying to get some extra money by doing something I love. Any more tips? Any favorite places to play? Permits? Music? Help! :)
     
  5. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

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    SkaChick-

    Unfortunately, they no longer allow trumpets in the subways. Apparently we're too loud. (BOO!!!!) You used to be able to to the Back Bay T-station and get a permit. Maybe you could try to get a permit to play flugelhorn or cornet?

    Newbury St. is a great place to go, lots of people to get rid of expendable income (after shelling out $125 for a pair of socks at the Diesel store, why not give the street musicians a few bucks?). As far as I know you don't need a permit for Boston. Downtown Crossing is a good place to go. I set up shop in front of the big Boarders (or was it Barnes and Noble?) and made some good money one day.

    Cambridge is also good, but you have to buy a permit and there is usually some pretty stiff competition (the eru (sp?) guy in front of the Coop in Harvard Sq has been there forevere...) Hope this helps.

    Jimi
     
  6. trumpetdiva1

    trumpetdiva1 Piano User

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    Jun 6, 2004
    Albuquerque
    I was invited to play as a special guest in the spring or summer with the Indigo Moon Brass Band (a Pennsylvania based New Orleans brass band). They had decided to perform across the street from the Times Square subway station in New York City. We got to perform for about 40 minutes of music until the cops came. We were fortunate because it had just started to rain. Until then, there were several people dancing in the street to the music. The cops were nice to us and told us to get a permit. I’d asked how? Well, the how is not as east as it sounds. This is as far as I got because I was lead off of the track so many times and I just wanted to help the band out:

    I went to the PDNY Headquarters near City Hall. There I was told to visit Community Affairs. (Before this time, I was shuffled around by others sending me to other places). Community Affairs told me to visit the license branch downstairs and when I got there, they were asking why I did not go to see Community Affairs. I told them that I did and then they asked me why Community Affairs did not bring an accompanying officer. So, the license branch told me to go back to Community Affairs and come down with an officer, called a “principal.†They also had provided me with his name and a phone number but by this time my lunch hour was over.

    So, as you can tell the process for a music street permit (even emphasized without acoustics and was asked this question many times) is not easy. Does anyone know of a New Yorker with a street music permit?

    Well, to perform in the subways in NYC can be risky, although the officers seemed to like my rendition of “Hello Dolly†and did not bother me that evening. Actually, that is about the only time I had tried to perform in the subway.

    If you really ever want to perform in the NYC subways, the best and safest route is to take an audition for the Music Under New York program. Here is the link for anyone interested:

    http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mta/aft/muny/auditions.html

    It is interesting to hear stories about the process from other places. Keep them coming.

    Janell
     
  7. ilikethetrumpet

    ilikethetrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Sep 10, 2006
    Iowa City, Iowa
    There was a big controversy in Chicago a few years back when as part of a civic arts initiative the city subsidized (I think) and invited street musicians from all over the country to Chicago and gave them special permits. In the meantime, freelance and club musicians who made good and well-deserved income through this day job were often wrested from their regular curbside locations and taken from their daily audience. The outcry was significant enough, but I don't know if the program was altered. The point is, it's a way to pick up cash for some, but for others, it's an almost daily job, and NOT in any way an indication of homelessness or artistic deficiency. A well-oiled bucket-drumming machine on a good day is every bit as impressive as most symphony orchestras.
     

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