Student funds degree by busking on city’s streets

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Thousands of students take on part-time jobs to pay their way through university. SARAH FIELDEN speaks to one talented teenager with a more unusual way of funding his studies.

A talented young musician has been entertaining the crowds – and funding his degree – by busking in Preston’s high street.

Busker George Price plays his Chapman Stick to fund his university course.

Busker George Price plays his Chapman Stick to fund his university course.

Teenager George Price took up the Chapman Stick a year ago, and is now wowing visitors in the city and beyond with his original tunes.

The 19-year-old bass player was drawn to the “weird” instrument because of its versatility and range, and is now using it to pay for food, rent, and also trips to gigs.

“It’s just a strange instrument, it provides so much imagination”, explains George, originally from Hoghton, near Preston.

“You can play anything you want.

“It’s all about standing out, and you stand out if you play this instrument because they are very, very strange.”

The former Preston’s College student now studies at the Tech Music School in Fulham, and has been busking in Preston’s Fishergate to fund his training.

He says: “I listen to a lot of drum and bass and ambient music, and I started creating music that you could lie back to and go driving to, or put on on a summer’s day and chill out to.

“It gets a really good reaction and it’s great to play.

“And it’s really taken off since I went to London because I need to pay rent and buy food, but it’s about being seen as well.”

George says he has received a good reaction while busking in Preston.

He says: “Preston is the place because a lot of people have been in touch, and people have liked my music.

“It’s just about playing something a little bit odd, but odd enough that people are interested in it and want to see more.”

George has also been busking in Lytham, and in London while studying.

He says: “Londoners do like it as well.

“You get a great flock of people outside a tube station who will give you 10 seconds, whereas in Preston I’ve noticed the same people who keep sitting down and listening to me.

“It’s a really chilled out thing, I love playing music for other people to listen to and if they like it, they like it, and if they don’t, they can just listen to it for 10 seconds.”

He says he can earn well by busking and says: “It pays for rent and for food, and also going out to gigs.

“The busking, money-wise, is all right, I busk for two hours and get enough to buy a week’s worth of food.

“I busked in Preston last weekend and in two hours I got £58.

“I’ve been busking about a week and I’ve been going to Preston every day – I’ve got the busking fever.
“I’ve already paid for pretty much two weeks’ worth of my rent with a week’s worth of busking, which is about 10 hours.”

George uses loopers when he is performing on the Chapman Stick, which has four bass strings and four guitar strings, and says: “It’s pretty much as easy as that.”

He says: “It’s never the same twice. There’s always a basic idea, but it’s kind of improvised.”

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