On a cold Friday morning in January 2007, a man walked into the entrance area of a metro station in Washington D.C.  This man was wearing jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and a baseball cap – average kind of guy. He positioned himself against a wall near a garbage can. The man had a case with him and after he had looked around, he opened the case and pulled out a violin. He then reached into his pocked, he pulled out a few coins, and he threw them into the now-empty violin case.

It’s a scene that plays itself out around the world, day after day, week after week. Buskers on street corners or bus stations or subway stops pull out their violins, their guitars, their accordions, or their saxophones – they throw a few coins into a hat or into their instrument case. And they play. For half an hour, for an hour, for a couple of ours – they will play. The instrument or the case with a few coins in it is an invitation to passersby to give something for the pleasure of being serenaded on their way to work or shopping or on their way home. Continue reading