Grace Curtis
June 07, 2015 9:30 am

Street performance — or “busking” as it’s known in the UK — is a term that covers all manner of sins. Basically, it means taking to the streets and doing something you love to entertain passersby. For most people, this means singing and/or playing an instrument, but there’s all kinds of wonderful and wacky things to try, including dancing, mime, or even a comedy routine. If it makes strangers smile, then it’s street performance material. Here’s six reasons I cannot recommend enough that you get out there and give it a try:

You’ll improve your skills.

Practicing in your room is one thing, but if you want to learn how to battle noisy traffic, unpredictable weather and staring faces all at once, then there’s no substitute for street performance. You’ll experience having an audience and get feedback on your work. Though it can be scary coming out of your comfort zone, the end result is the kind of skills you’d never pick up by yourself.

It will boost your confidence.

I don’t doubt that what keeps most people from trying street performance is straight up nerves. So I’ll let you in on a little secret: Once you’re out there, doing your thing, the power is in YOUR hands. No matter how frightened you might feel on the inside, people will see you as someone with otherworldly skills and confidence. Better yet, you’ll find yourself getting words of encouragement and praise from complete strangers. Trust me, you’ll be braver for it.

$$$

I know, I know. It seems shallow. But money, let’s face it, is nice. And money that people have willingly given you just because they like your stuff? Now, that’s the best of all. How much you make depends mainly on location — busy streets are the best, but you don’t want to be close to a main road. Some very popular areas, like Piccadilly Circus in London, require you to have a permit, so it’s best to check before hand. If you’ve got your eye on a good spot that someone’s taken already, it’s perfectly okay to ask them how long they’re going to be. Then you can slip in after and give it your all!

It will help you put yourself out there.

If you’re looking to make a career out of what you do, street performance will help you find your people. There are legal restrictions on selling CDs and the like, but there’s nothing to stop you from providing links to a website or something similar where people can find more of your stuff. It’s a great way to start building up a fan base of your very own.

The “aww” factor.

Little kids love street performance. I couldn’t tell you why. It just fascinates them. There’s nothing like having someone’s toddler hop out of their buggy and start grooving down to your tunes. There’ve been times when I’ve actually struggled to sing because my heart was melting so hard. It’s JUST TOO CUTE.

You’ll have the best stories.

The worst thing about street performance is in many way the best thing as well: You’re exposed to the never ending strangeness of human life. I recently got my first tip of the day from a huge tattooed bloke in a wedding dress. An old man with several feathers taped to his hat watched my bag while I got some water in return for a country song. A young couple lost it when I started playing Don Mclean’s “Vincent” and dropped an entire fiver in my case. Every time you go out, you come back with new anecdotes, and another memory to make you smile. I can’t think of any better reason than that.

(Image via.)

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