Tips for Muses
Below are some of my personal observations having busked for nearly 20 years.
Appear clean and in colorful attire. Don't sit on the dirty street rather stand or use a chair.
Seed your case or hat with a few notes. Try to remove any coins as soon as possible as people have a tendency to dump change if they see change. If they see notes, they think notes.
Use sharp professional signs not something scribbled on brown cardboard. Be creative and think up your own funny signs that make people laugh and enjoy themselves.
Using a small separate sign that says "Take my pic - only $2!" pretty much covers this aspect of rogue photographers.
Always have fresh cd's with professional covers available for sale. Keep the price high so you can have a discounted Special when 2 are bought.
Chatter between songs or acts can build your crowd. "It's hard to believe folks that last year, I was a brain surgeon. I was my very first patient!"
A few funny original props never hurt, either. "Here's the book I studied...Brain Surgery at Home in Your Spare Time!"
Try weaving a humourous story line between your songs. This is also an excellent way to build and hold your audience. You can even write funny songs yourself to create your own unique story.
Sometimes, you can call on passersby and mention how nicely they're ignoring you or demonstrate to your audience different ways of ignoring you.
Perform at cool comfortable times if possible when it's not a sweltering million degrees in the shade. People are just hot and sweaty and not in the mood for another bloody busker.
Always say an enthusiastic "Thank you!" whenever someone drops a tip in your hat or case.
Remember to make your performance professional and fun for your audience and even yourself. The rest is up to your songs, style, and talent.
May the Schwartz be with you!