How to be a Busker

If you are a busker, or on the path to becoming one, this is the guide for you. Busking is a fun and interesting way of making money. It’s also a great way for people to show off their talents.

This guide will give you tips and tricks on how to be a busker.

A busker is someone who performs in public places for donations. In other words, it’s street entertainment that everyone can enjoy. Most buskers make their money by using their talent to entertain people. Some use instruments like guitars or drums while others use their voice. There are also some that just dance instead of sing or play an instrument.

People are more likely to donate if they think you’re talented or have some sort of skill that they don’t have themselves. That doesn’t mean you have to be the best singer in the world or play an instrument like a pro; if you’ve got confidence and energy then that’s all you need!


Singing is a popular form of busking, but it is one of the hardest to do well. Most people who think they can sing well are wrong. If you are an excellent singer, you may be able to get away with singing in a busy public place. There are many styles including rock, pop, jazz, classical and opera. A good rule of thumb is not to sing anything too obscure or high brow – if you want to sing opera, learn some popular tunes.

One way of becoming a better singer and attracting more money is to join a choir or take singing lessons. Singing groups often perform in public – outside churches, in shopping centres etc. The more experience you have singing in front of an audience, the more confidence you will have when busking alone.

Another option is to play a musical instrument (see below) and sing at the same time. If you are particularly brave, you could even try dancing as well!


You need a portable instrument that does not need electricity e.g. guitar, banjo, flute, harmonica (blues harp), trumpet or saxophone etc. It can be expensive to buy an instrument so consider borrowing from friends

Busking is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a lot of confidence, practice and hard work to be able to pull off a successful busk. When you’re starting out, that’s probably the last thing you want to hear; it’s hard enough as it is getting up there in front of people and playing your music! However, if you stick at it and believe in yourself, you can make quite a bit of money from busking.

Before I go any further, have a look at the list below of all the things you need to have before you even consider busking anywhere:

1. A great act (preferably solo) with your voice as the main instrument. This can include singing, beatboxing or rapping.

2. A great repertoire of songs that are known by as many people as possible.

3. A small portable amp (optional).

4. A good quality hat or case for collecting your money.

5. A good location which is busy with plenty of footfall, preferably near a shopping centre or cinema where people may have just come out with money to spend on entertainment!

Opening Line

You should always have an opening line. It should be something that will make people want to stop and listen. It could be a joke, or just a comment on the weather. It must be loud and clear, so that people can hear you easily.

Don’t ask for money!

You should never ask for money when you first start playing. This will put people off listening to you, because they are only thinking of giving you money. But if they like what they hear they will give you money at the end of your song / act / performance.


You should always look professional. Dress up if possible, this will make people think that you are a professional busker, with better entertainment value than someone who looks scruffy! Make sure your performance is entertaining – it must be different from other buskers in order to get people’s attention. If your performance is too slow paced or boring/uninteresting, then people will walk past without paying any attention to you at all. If your music is too loud (e.g: heavy metal) then it may sound good to you but it might not draw in a crowd as much as it could do if the music was more mellow and acoustic sounding; the music

The most effective buskers play a combination of the following:

-learned and perfected songs that they love to play (and find easy to play)

-songs that are either popular or unusual enough to draw a crowd

-instruments and equipment that are small enough to carry around, but good quality and loud enough to attract an audience

-a unique aspect of their performance (e.g. they might juggle while they sing, or they might paint with their feet while they play an instrument), which makes them stand out from other buskers in the area

-good audience interaction skills

Busking is the act of performing in public places for gratuities. In many countries the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given. Performing in public places for gratuities is a very ancient practice and, like ancient practices; it has developed into a specialized art form.

One of the most essential things to know as a busker is that it’s not just about you or your talent, but also about the audience and their mood and tolerance. You have to learn how to read what they like and dislike, and how to cater to that.

Buskers have to be able to take whatever the crowd gives them with a smile and without any kind of complaints. This will make them more receptive to throwing some change your way or even coming back later if they missed you this time around!

If you’re playing music, don’t be afraid to mix things up – if people aren’t into one song, try another! The same goes for jokes – if people aren’t laughing at one joke try something different! If all else fails, just stop entertaining them immediately because they clearly don’t want anything from you anyways and move on.

There are many ways to earn a living and none of them are easy. If it was we wouldn’t have all the homeless people that we do. But some jobs are easier than others. The less work you have to do to get paid the better. Some jobs you can do while sitting on your ass, like being a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of a company. But most of us don’t want to spend years working our way up the corporate ladder.

The best job I ever had was busking on the street in San Francisco. I won’t lie and tell you that it’s easy money because it’s not. And I won’t lie and tell you that everyone can do it because they can’t. But if you think you might be able to then please read on and find out how.

The first thing you need to decide is what kind of music you will play (if any). There is just about everything and anything out there in the world so whatever your taste is there will be something for you!

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