Monday, September 10, 2012
Sounds Around Town
In the town I live in, there's a biannual musical event which takes place to promote business. Bands, or other musical groups, register to play in several of the best spots in town- the square, large parking lots, and so on -while some more minor buskers, such as myself, take the opportunity to nomadically wander the area, playing music in several different smaller spots. The day is called Sounds Around Town and is a great opportunity for musicians to get out and play publicly.
The event just took place yesterday, and went pretty well considering it was during the rain date, which lands on a Sunday afternoon. There was some good local talent including a few bands from the nearby high school. I played a duet in various places with my brother: me on the soprano saxophone and my brother on the tenor. We saw some of the bands and played some blues funk during the breaks.
Sounds Around Town is a good example of a town hosted event which you can use to further your skills with public playing. As I mention in my bio, I have a stage fright issue. This event, if you're like me, is perfect to help remedy the problem. It's a venue which is good for playing for small to medium sized audiences without feeling uncomfortable. In fact, during the event I felt at home playing- I was in my element. We actually tried to jam with a drummer friend of ours, but the area was booked for another group, which was unfortunate because that's even better practice for playing in front of an audience- playing with new people.
Busking is a good way to fine tune your public playing. While the United States socially accepts busking a bit less than many European countries such as Belgium or France, there are still many opportunities to play. I live in the shadow of New York City, so as someone who frequents the place, I can say that there are a lot of buskers. In Central Park there are a lot, many of them being saxophonists.
However, you don't need to be in a major city to play out on the street. While you don't want to get in the way of business, you should still try and get out to play. Events such as Sounds Around Town are good, but not every town has it. You can always play in public parks or the such. You'll often see people doing so, especially acoustic guitarists. You can get the permission of a certain business and play near there, where there are passers by (just be respectful).
Playing in a public setting like these spots is a good form of practice. It helps with any stage fright problems you might have, and is a good way to share your love of music. Perhaps try starting by going to a park and inviting several friends of yours to join. The most important thing is that you have fun doing it so that those who listen also do. Music is, after all, meant to be shared.