Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Success Story Busking in Mount Dora, FL

Saturday was the day. With my guitar strapped to my back, I hopped on my bike and took the back roads to downtown Mount Dora outside of Orlando where I had set out to play my guitar on the grassy lawn for anyone who'd listen at the Mount Dora Craft Fair.

My goal was simple and my goal was two fold. The first part was for me to actually go out and be bold enough to play music in front of people. The second part of my goal was to make at least $1.

Because I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Music, I have acquired enough knowledge to teach myself to play the guitar. I've been casually learning the instrument on my own. Though I've played countless gigs with various rock bands behind my drum set and even singing some of my own songs, I had never yet played guitar in public for an audience besides a few friends here and there. This was to be my first experience playing guitar for the public.

When I arrived at the craft fair, I had underestimated the amount of people that'd be there. Though I heard 200,000 people go to Mount Dora every year to attend this festival, the swarms of people shuffling up and down Mount Dora's normally quiet streets was surprising. I set up shop on a grassy section of Alexander Street just one block from the city center.

With my instrument in hand and my black case open and loaded with my own dollar (to get things started), I tuned up the acoustic guitar. Then I warmed my fingers up with some chords and I felt nervous. But I had achieved my first part of the goal. I was in the city playing the guitar. Check!

I started running through the songs I had written and jammed on some chord changes. As people walked past, I'd feel anxious at first because I wanted to make sure to not make any mistakes in my chord changes and fingering positions. I wanted it to sound good for them.

As the minutes passed and I warmed up and started to relax, I let myself get into the music and groove into the chord changes. I started to smile and look up at the people who were walking past me on the sidewalk.

I made eye contact and share a smile with a man wearing a red polo shirt as hee was about 10 feet away. He reached into the pockets of his khaki shorts and took his wallet out. He tossed some money into my case and it was more than $1!

I was overjoyed and my confidence surged. I felt proud to have done what I set out to do. I kept playing and even got bold enough to start singing some of the songs I'd written. When I started singing, a young lady walked all the way across the street and give me $1 saying, "you sound very good." Then another couple came by to give me a dollar.

I kept playing and really enjoyed my first busking experience. I did much better than I expected and made some friends in the process. I'll be doing it again very soon.