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A Musician By Night

by Pamela
(Southeast USA )

I worked as a musician. I played 'living room' concerts, usually pre-dinner party and post, for my hosts in Germany. Small affairs really. I did not bring my guitar from the States, and they kindly arranged for one to be available to me when I arrived. We had quite a lot of fun that night, especially the hosts and the revellers that he knew. I even composed an original song for them, in German, and there were few dry eyes and it seemed to really please them.

I also volunteered to field any Q&A sessions they may have had about various aspects of American life, different states, and general inquiries such as that. I was able to diffuse some myths and explain how they'd been started and then finish with the truth behind the myth. At that time, many Germans had a very strong curiosity in the Native Americans of the USA. I rather enjoyed that as well.

Ed. Note: That sounds like a fun job! What you don't say is whether you made any money at it to help you live in Germany or to travel.

I love the idea of working your way around the world by playing an instrument, if you have a portable one. I've often run across buskers in metro stations and on street corners - surely this must be the hardest job in the world - who are travelers and heading off somewhere else as soon as they've made enough.

I work in Geneva, one of the world's most expensive cities, and while people don't give a lot, even a little in Swiss Francs can mount up. The police aren't particularly friendly to buskers but they do leave them alone long enough to make a bit.

There are plenty of folk singers, and if they are good and know the words to older songs, they'll do well. Then there are gypsy players who jump on the tram or bus - that's extremely unpleasant, as they are loud and you are a captive audience. I usually give to players on the street but never to the ones on buses.

I have also met a few professional musicians on my travels, professional in the quality of their playing, at least. Some are classical musicians, freezing on street corners with violins in hand. Others are students earning money on the side in a classical quartet, as I saw in Vienna, or playing in a band, as I saw in many Swiss cities.

I love music and if I hadn't become a writer I might well have become a guitarist or a singer. Who knows, I might just yet.

As for your evening entertainments, what a lovely way to exchange culture and information. You were able to debunk some stereotypes, and your hosts could learn about your own culture in a more 'real' way. That's the essence of travel, as far as I'm concerned, when two people from a different culture meet, and leave one another after a bit of time, having learned something they didn't know, or having understood something they had failed to comprehend.

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Comments for A Musician By Night

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Dec 30, 2012
by: claire

Kudos to you. I sing and admire what you are doing


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