Starting Out

Getting Started on the Street

If you live in a medium to large city anywhere in this country, you have probably seen it. Street musicians playing whatever instrument they have, with a hat or case or bucket in front of them collecting donations. Many early musicians that started this way for a number of reasons. One to obviously make money.  And two, to be seen by others. Making music for a lot of musicians takes up a lot of their time and many of them don’t have the opportunity to pursue other career. They may have a job full-time or part-time that pays their rent etc., but it doesn’t really provide them with a good living. In Philadelphia, Jon Kois, performed the drums outside until he was able to start beginner drum lessons.

street performer

So many of them take to the streets and parks to make ends meet through the craft of choice. Most of the time you see the guitarists or even a drummer, but nowadays you’re seeing even classical musicians playing violins and cellos. If they live in a larger city, playing outdoors can be quite substantial. I’ll bet it’s mostly in dollar bills and quarters, but it all adds up over time. The second part of that is they are exposed to in large number of people, who may have the opportunity to help them further their career. You never know these days who is walking down the street. Even though most of the people are in suits and ties, they could easily be an ad exec, or work for a record label.

street musicians

Or they just may know somebody who can help you, and appreciate what you’re doing and are offer to help. What an interesting trend these days is a lot of times after musicians make it, they return to their roots and go back to street performing for fun. They don’t play for money anymore, a lot of times they won’t even take it. I just feel so grateful for the gift I have been given and the opportunity to do it I love, I just want to give back to the community that made my success. In the end that’s what it’s all about. The love of your craft and wanting to share it with others.

Tammy Miller

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