Sunday, April 08, 2007

Joshua Bell Busking During Rush Hour in Washington D.C.

This expansive article in the Washington Post says it all. It even includes video footage.

A big thanks to Martha for telling me about it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog: www.SawLady.com/blog
She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters... I thought you might find it interesting.

Billy D Squires said...

Two factors in the Joshua Bell experiment: One, it's Washington DC where EVERYONE is hurried, stressed and preoccupied. They shut out all distractions and are focused on whatever else has gotten hold of their minds.

Two, Joshua Bell is talented, didn't look homeless, so he would have seemed like a regular musician out there trying to pick up a few extra dollars for practicing in public.

I have played Washington DC and have successfully made decent money busking (while I was there doing fairly high paying shows with other artists).

Here's the key: Look homeless, down and out and a little crazy. Use a VERY crummy instrument. I use a beat up guitar held together with duct tape. Do upbeat songs and be a character. Showmanship is number one! NO ONE has ever recognized me when I do this - and I have a lot of fun with that part of it.

If Josh had used a beat up violin that looked like it had come from a dumpster, and dirty ill fitting clothes - and if he danced and swayed like he MIGHT be drunk or high, he probably would have made triple the money. Go figure.