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Virtuoso violin vs Juggling in Covent Garden

A post on Seth Godin's blog I'd ignore him too (which links to a Washington post story about a concert violinist who was ignored while playing in a subway station) got me thinking about busking in general.

I was in London on business a few years ago and happened to walk through Covent Garden during the annual street performers festival. The contrast between the way these professional street performers went about their business and the usual ply your trade and wait for coins subway violinist was an important business lesson.

The pattern was always the same:
Spend some time setting up your various bits of equipment while interacting with passers by (polite conversation, small tricks and jokes - anything to make them strop and stand).

When you have a few people standing and watching determine a stage ( a bit of rope or chalk something that gives visual clues about where the audience should be).

Use your audience to draw a crowd (most just simply asked the audience to clap and make a noise to draw a crowd - this also warmed up the audience).

Do your thing (make it short and buildup to a close).

Before your finale tell the audience this is how you make your living you are a professional you expect them to pay something even if its just a compliment or criticism and hurl abuse (in a joking way) at a random passerby for sneaking out without paying.

Do your finale (Make it big and use fire if you can).

Walk around with a hat collecting from your audience and talking to them.

Wait for a new crowd and go back to the beginning.

Or you could just sit in a corner playing virtuoso violin and being ignored.