Learning to Play Music in the NYC Subway: Busking Documentary


Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. SHOUT OUT to all the amazing musicians 🎶 featured in this video and you better go follow them! links in the description! 💞 💕 💞 As always if you like what you see, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE 🙃

  2. I absolutely adore Nahre Sol. Such a kind demeanor and her videos are so informative. A true breath of fresh air in this age. Thank you for this!

  3. No way! I’ve seen the DeeWho on the 6 train! I got his card and told him I play bass too! Great guy and even greater music! Keep it up!

  4. I am New Yorker and don’t like them as well all type of schizophrenic prichers.
    Before and after long days I prefer to have quiet time.
    If I get seat like to meditate without any annoying sounds.

  5. MUNY is a scam. It is in fact legal to busk with amplification on the Subway Station mezzanines and there are online MTA rules to be found that spell that out. In a few instances (you can google) musicians that were illegally arrested and let go, and the buskers sued and were compensated for the illegal arrest. The rules specify a decibel / loudness limit, and while there are zero officers with decibel meters, buskers would be wise to just be reasonable and not turn up so loud that the are obnoxious (at any decibel level)

  6. Excellent video! One thing I wish would've been included is the following:
    Do buskers feel frustrated by people who watch/record them who then go about their days without tipping? I'm guilty of being one of those passersby who looks at his phone/turns the volume up on his AirPods whenever performers come onto the train because I know I won't be tipping and therefore, shouldn't enjoy the show. Is applause good enough?

  7. I feel bad I can never catch these the same day they come out as much as I used to, but I still always dedicate time to sit and fully engage in every episode yall put out! Been so so excited to see this episode drop!! So beautifully shot as well. And another episode affirming why I love this channel. Delving into the culture and even politics of this wholly unique music scene and miscrocosm, at least in the sense of NYC. Not many people know about MUNY and im glad to see PBS cover it in such an elegant way and in such an awesome episode! TBH you could make an entire channel dedicated to NYC musical scenes, culture, genres, politics, etc. And the soul food/busking comparison is SO SPOT ON! And Nahre you killed it at busking! As someone who teaches performances, getting over stage fright is a big thing but you did it! Even if for a short time its still awesome so congrats! Overall, such a great educational episode I am sure to share and show with my students. And as always, cannot wait for the next video!!

  8. Truly, music especially live music can be quite uplifting. I hope they'll allow busking here in Metro Manila, cuz Filipinos love music, and the daily grind of commuting just takes too much from everyone.

  9. there is nothing worse than sitting on the subway, tired from a long day of work, just hoping to rest a little when one of these loud nuisances shows up and starts blaring right into your ear, ruining everyone's quiet time…

    i wish they all disappeared

  10. WOW that's an Amazing beethoven jazz fusion duet cover! Like the first few secs were discordant, but then you guys unlocked a whole new parallel universe… So inspiring and magical!! 😀

  11. I live in Manhattan and take the subways. What riders really, really do not like is when these performers perform inside the train car. How very rude! There are a few good buskers , I guess you call them, that are worth stopping to listen to. However, the vast majority are just a very loud nuisance and add to the great noise pollution of the NYC subways and are not wanted. Ok. Maybe I'm scrooge. But 99% of NYC subway riders would agree

  12. An additional issue is that there are not many venues to play at anymore and the business model for venues is to get butts in seats and sell drinks. There are so few places to play for younger musicians and musicians outside the mainstream that being able to play and generate some attention and $$ is a necessity. As the venues and opportunities disappear artists get more creative about creating windows of possibility. jacob Collier became well known for his innovative vocal arrangements and videos that he made in his bedroom. Also Nahre I always like how open minded and open hearted you are about exploring the process of sharing music. Thanks!

  13. I've lived in NYC pretty much all my life, away for my freshman year at college now but I always respected buskers. Picked up guitar and taught myself just over two years ago but I've only ever performed in front of an audience once, was my first time singing in front of people too. God damn I was nervous as hell. This was a beautiful video, I wanna try and push myself and actually perform more. I love playing the guitar (although I'm not particularly great). One day when I'm back in NYC, I think I might try giving busking a shot just because why the hell not?

  14. That was one of the most interesting videos about musicians that I've ever seen. As do many, I've often dreamed of busking, particularly with the Bach in the Subways annual event, but I'm just not good enough (yet) to feel comfortable doing it (I play flute). My subway 'idol' is Slim Freedom (search YouTube and you'll find her). Seeing this video and listening carefully to their answers and information given, it makes me want to practicepracticepractice so much harder. Many thanks to Nahre Sol for doing her usual outstanding presentation, and thanks to the musicians for showing us such great talent and spirit.

  15. I am disappointed in the amount of money Dotan & Nahre got in the end, because it does show how busking does favour louder approaches. Honestly, I would love listening to a busker play understated jazzy improv keys on a rainy day in the city

  16. Great episode, but I expected to hear something about the acoustics of playing in the tiled tunnels and how that influences the music. I think the lack of tips was partly location, partly lack of interaction with the audience, and basically not giving it the same type of attitude those who "make it look easy' do. I'm sure, though, that they, too, had small tips when they first started out.

  17. You guys should make a video about acid house and the impact the roland tb-303 (bassline synth that was a commercial failure) had on dance music!!

  18. I cannot even imagine performing in hellish, de-humanizing places like the New York subway. Makes me wonder what the physical and psychological effects are on these people over time.

  19. An idea for a video or short series: Find an older person who loves music but has never played and see what they are able to learn in a fairly short time. First, explore a few instruments that they like to listen to. Select one. Hook them up with a good teacher. Someone who has experience teaching someone to play in a short period of time.
    It would be an inspiration for those who have never played (young or old) to see what can be possible. I know great things are possible.

  20. It was rush hour in Grand Central a few years ago. I had a hard day at work. As I approached the 4/5/6, I heard the most incredible sound. It was a trio of incredibly talented young black teens playing , I believe, Bach. They had a cellist, violinist, and viola player. They all had on Tim's and hoodies. People judge and so many times we're wrong. Myself included. In that moment, I realized I lived in the greatest city in the world.

  21. Omg Nahre you're so brave!!! Thanks again for bringing another wonderful piece about music and how it connects us. Ive always been in love with buskers and street performers. Their talent and passion is always inspiring. As is yours Nahre. 😀 Keep up the awesome work!! <3

  22. As someone that lives in nyc and sees buskers on the daily… I think part of the discomfort as an audience member is the guilt of not being able to give or feeling like you HAVE to give, so it’s easier to not make eye contact or pretend you’re ignoring them
    as a way to mitigate that issue. Also, people (homeless, performers, etc) ask for money all the time on trains…. sometimes I just wanna enjoy my own time on the train
    Nonetheless, interesting to get their prospective

  23. Yeah. When I've been caught singing and playing my ukulele outdoors at my local park or the beach, the most frequent comments are:
    – "If you quit picking it, maybe it will heal!"
    – "You should sing solo. So low I can't hear you!"
    But it did result in my meeting my music teacher, who gave me my first lesson free, on the spot!
    Turned out I had a natural ability to "find the key", harmonize, then improvise, despite being unable to read music.
    So now I will occasionally sing along with buskers I see, especially when they don't have a crowd, and sometimes they'll even invite me up to the mic!
    Still need to work on the uke…

  24. Personally I don't mind or even like busking in open spaces. But when I'm in the subway that I have to use to get around and cannot leave if I don't like the music I get really annoyed really fast.

  25. I love New York. Not to live, but trip for endless music, and incredible talent. Just came back from Manhattan saw "X-Ray Love" was awesome! Like nothing I've heard before, great clean grunge! Never seen them before or heard of them. Was in a tiny bar, Desmonds tavern. Such a great show. And 2 out of 5 musicians on the subway we heard where amazing musicians. Thank you to all the musicians out there for the gift.

  26. That clip of the police grabbing the man's guitar and hitting him in the face with it is beyond infuriating… 4:56 how dare he

  27. Im 14 and I started busking about 6 months ago in lisbon and i think that it is a wonderful thing, i also play some shows with my full punk band and busking really helps getting over stage fright, i also made some friends on the street!! I love it so much and i also get some money out of it but the most important part is that i have a motivation to go outside instead of spending all my time on YouTube

  28. I don't mind the performances at the stop, but on the train I have the right not to be bothered by these people. Same way when people come on and beg the car for money with their hard luck stories.

  29. Can Sound Field make a video or series of videos about how much NY has impacted music the last 40 years globally? From the most popular Genre on the planet, to Latin Music, to the sub genres built on NY sounds, etc?

  30. STOP encouraging these people! Haha. I know it's one of the things that makes New York a unique experience, but mostly they're just kind of a pain. Granted, NYC is not as dangerous as when I used to hop over from NJ, but I'm usually too afraid of pickpocketers to stop for any prolonged period of time.

  31. I live here in Barcelona where they have banned any kind of entertainment from public places except a few Spanish musicians who get to play regularly in certain spots by the Cathedral of Barcelona. When I first lived here in 2003, I loved all the variety of entertainment and stopped to watch or listen to them. I miss that now as I go on my walks. I'm hoping they allow musicians and performers of all kinds to perform in those public places again before I'm not able to walk anymore.

  32. A few of your videos now have been investigating the subculture of music. Keep bringing us these interesting obscure subjects please!

  33. NY'er here. Many times a good busker performing while I wait for the train is a highlight or one of the highlights that day. I've bought CD/DVD from a few. The MUNY isn't necessary to perform it is just that frankly the better ones do have the MUNY but of course, there are those without who are enjoyable to watch. If interest, you can go to the MTA web sit or Google MUNY and you can find out more. As you mentioned, the MUNY buskers have the prime locations. It makes NY subway what it is.

  34. Hey Nahre- big fan. The last time that I tried busking in Manhattan, I made over $20, but when I got back to my car, there were several parking tickets, so had to pay the city over $100.

  35. New York City Subway Busking is amazing in New York City but don't get me wrong, it's amazing, true, & most of all getting rid of people's stress not just my stress alone.

  36. I find it to be very interesting how buskers knowingly "impose" themselves on other people, trying to breach the walls that current society has created in supplying people with on-demand music any place any time. It takes a lot of courage to face these walls day in, day out. As a music lover of many genres and someone who loves his graphs and stats when it comes when it comes to research into a topic I'd be very interested in seeing what percentage of subway users the music actively reaches, what percentage engages with the music and how that engagement is divided into positive and negative interaction. As not all music can be pleasant to all people I'd fear the 1 negative interaction enough to not ever busk my music even if it stands against the 100 people who'd enjoy it, just because of the confontation. That's why the comment of "at a concert people almost guaranteed come for your music, whereas busking that's not the case" really spoke to me. Props to anyone willing to provide their music in public these days, I will always appreciate it.

  37. I love New York. When I go, Im going for the art scene. I defiantly will make a trip just to check the busking scene out, because when i was a kid i was a street performer, and circus kid. would be great to see and feel that energy agian.

  38. Thanks for sharing a taste of transit busking in NYC. I had never heard of Venmo. We don't have it in Australia. The more cashless society does reduce busking income and that is hard for buskers here to find a solution to.

  39. Love what this medium of exposure does to shine the light on unsung musicians, Nahre…wow. Nice coverage! Wow, and I'm so impressed because although you say you're shy (and I believe you), yet you show so much courage now that you're doing Sound Field for PBS. I'm much like you, shy in some ways but I've been playing for many years and my story hasn't been told yet. I'm working on that now…my story is interesting with hidden musical writings that are all original. Hopefully I can tell my story one day and reveal more of my music. This year I'll finally release an original keyboard composition that I've been waiting to share, just had to align all of the legal stuff up to get it done and the first avenue is through CD Baby. I know everyone is not crazy about CD Baby, but it's the only way I can stay in control of what I release in its purest original form. Anyway…I might have said way too much here, but thank you for sharing so much of the brilliant mind that I so admire and have admired since my eyes and hears first began following you on your own youtube channel. You have taken great courage and you give me courage just hearing you, seeing you, engaging with you in the musical short compositions which I love. Nahre you're amazing and seeing what I've seen in this video gives so many additional exposure, clarity and exemplifies the reason why what's in the heart of the musical-artistic is much more than the world of really understands.

  40. Buskers are a treasure to New York City, and everywhere else. NYC just has such a concentration of incredible performers compared to other areas.
    They’re so different from beggars because they are giving you something and asking you to pay based on your perceived value of it.

  41. A lot of these buskers are not only talented, but seem like really sweet people. Also loved jazzy Fur Elise. Great video and great channel!

  42. This is a great contribution to the quality of life to have musicians in the NYC subway or any subway. When I was there in 2003 (about) for a couple of trips of one day in the city I don't remember any subway musicians at all. That's sad to think as these musicians in this video I'd remember. Does anyone know if around 2003 it was illegal to busk in the NYC subways? Once I'm in a subway car or city bus then I like a minimum of sound as at times I dose, read, and recently, listen to my own stereo (with small earphones), if my trip is long enough, so I'm against it in the vehicle, plus it makes it impossible for listeners to make a choice whether they want to hear the busker or not. The subway has very nice acoustics. I wonder how buskers, within themselves, work together as it seems if one is loudest, or has the most powerful amplification system, they would push out others, like one musician per a certain distance. How do they control that? Do buskers get robbed in NYC? Is it dangerous that way, or do robbers somehow tend not to attack them? Thanks for this interesting video, an to the talented girl who created this.

  43. Very nice, enjoyable, informative video. Voted up. Buskers add color to a city so they should be allowed in most cases. I have a Takamine Acoustic Electric EG340SC. See my Amazon review RJQJ6LV8S6469. I included a lot of pictures. I don't busk though.

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