The Young Cellist

The environment can affect the performers ability to engage an audience. Different mediums of music listening change the way people feel about a piece of music. Pre-recorded music often attracts an audience that has a particular interest in that genre. However live music can attract any audience, as the performing aspect can often put audience members in some sort of mind-altering trance.

An article by Joseph Williams called “Busking in Musical Thought: Value, Affect, and Becoming” demonstrated his idea of busking affecting musicology not musicology ascribing its conditions. I believe this to be true after today’s events.

The streets of Five Dock are never filled with buskers or over the top funk music from indie cafes. The sounds produced are only that of old people opening there velcro wallets, feverish steps of children running away from their mothers and private mothers meetings at local cafes. However today sat a young girl playing what sounded like one of Bach’s cello suites. It hit me stronger then the smell of coffee in the morning and set me in a trance. She somehow whisked me out of my errands and set me in the opposite direction, right to her. Williams describes the environment of the streets “as a chaotic saturation of discrete moments, an assault of fleeting encounters and perceptions. In this miss of sensory fragments, buskers claim their space in the world.”

For the purpose of this argument I would like to stereotype the following people that stopped by to listen. There were mothers who probably listen to Michael Bublé and children who probably listen to nursery rhymes and Katy Perry. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with their music choices, we all have our own preferences, however not many people would line up to see Bach’s cello suites the same way they would line up to see Michael Bublé.

It could of been her age that attracted audiences, as she was very young and it was a Saturday morning where many kids her age would be just waking up. However this phenomena has happened before; buskers in the city will stop people in their tracks and guitarists at local bars playing classical pieces they learnt in there early days will send you deeper into your day-dreaming state or influence the way you view your love interest.

“At its best, busking entails a capacity to catch us unawares at our most insular and exposed moments as we auto-navigate the paths of everyday life, potentially impelling us toward new courses of thought and action.”

I applaud the young artist proving that Bach isn’t dead, she’s doing the Milliennial generation proud.


All quotes were from the following reference;

Williams, J 2016, ‘Busking in Musical Thought: Value, Affect, and Becoming’, Journal of Musicological Research, vol. 35, issue. 2, pp. 142-155, DOI:

It’s definitely worth a read.


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