Tuesday, 23 June 2015

U of T grad bringing ragtime and his piano to Bay and Front

  Lets think about a dream job. Set your own hours. Work outside. Do what you love. Make people stop and smile dozens of times a day. Get paid in cash. Work anywhere in the world. Ladies and Gents, if that appeals to you... give busking a shot! For many young people (and old) jobs are becoming harder to find. Some lucky enough to have some musical skills have taken to busking on the street. I know a few folks that do this as their main source of income. Its a good time to practice. It is a good excuse to beef up your repertoire. It's a good deal of fun too! Rapper Evan Ellevan takes to the streets once a day for an hour of free-styling, and he says its the best thing he has ever done for his career. He has complete control over EVERYTHING. No booking agents, no cover charges, no venues. Just him, a mic and his rhymes. The money is excellent as well. His name is blowing up around the city from the hundreds of photos and videos of him uploaded to social media. And as a result he is getting booked for bigger and bigger shows around the city! Take a look at this U of T student that is doing a similar sort of thing, but has to lug a piano 2 km across the city!   Sebastian Brown, like many recent grads, has had trouble finding a good job. But he has found an unusual way to make ends meet: playing ragtime tunes on an upright piano on a downtown street. Brown loads his family’s old piano onto a dolly and pushes it to Bay and Front streets two or three times a week. It’s a two-kilometre trip each way, starting at the Eastern Avenue storage facility where the piano is kept. Brown graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in linguistics a year ago, and has been looking for a more traditional job, since then. Potential employers “either haven’t responded or, to be honest, the money hasn’t been as good as this,” he said. Brown didn’t want to say exactly how much money he makes busking, but, he said, it’s more than he could make at an entry-level job and less than someone would likely make once they’re established in a career. “I think I’ll get a regular job eventually, but I don’t think I’ll stop doing this completely, even if only on the odd occasion, he said. Most people don’t stop to watch as he plays, especially during rush hour. Those who do, though, generally have smiles on their faces. A surprising number of them can identify his ragtime tunes, Brown said. Once or twice a day he’ll get a negative response from someone: calling the police to report his playing as illegal, despite his busking licence, or rudely banging on the piano’s keys. “When they do that, I used to stop playing altogether, but the people watching [...]

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