By Mark Sandman
Busking, or street performing, is a centuries-old tradition of entertainers performing for tips in public areas. A friend of mine, was one of the first street singers to perform on the streets of Boston and Cambridge way back in the 70’s. He shared with me that when he first started performing, it was all about putting his heart and soul into every song. After all, he was a singer/songwriter. And, that alone should draw crowds, praise, and yes, tips.
It didn’t take long for him to realize that it was equally important to engage the audience in conversation as well as participation in his performance. His reward was larger and more appreciative audiences and more and larger tips tossed into his guitar case.
As an open mic performer, it is equally important to engage your audience with both conversation, eye contact, and participation when possible. After all, there is a reason it’s called performing.