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Sean Dickinson Represents For Singer-Songerwriters

A veteran of the New York City busking scene, Sean Dickinson enjoys the smiles and spare change shared by Bloomington passers-by.

Sean Dickinson Plays Guitar On Street Corner

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Sean Dickinson performs his original music on a downtown street corner in Bloomington.

A Different Kind Of Concert Series

Warm temperatures mean the streets of Bloomington are bustling with activity. There is one particular area of downtown that is especially heavily trafficked, not just by pedestrians, but by busking musicians: the corner of Kirkwood and Grant. It boasts a stone wall, perfect for sitting on while playing a snare drum and high hat, and a large tree that gives plenty of shade from the blistering summer sun.

When Sean Dickinson found himself with a couple free hours between a performance and his album recording session, he decided to test the musical waters on that street corner.

Spare Change And Smiles

The sort of feedback he was receiving was mainly in the form of smiles, nods, and spare change. He jokes that once his first album is released, his fortunes will change. “Hoards of people will be on this street corner. They’ll rename it. It won’t be Kirkwood and Grant. It will be Sean and Dickinson.”

Taking a look into his guitar case, some quick math reveals that he has earned a cool $1.67 thus far.

This is a much different experience for him than busking in New York City, where he lives, primarily because he is the only busker on the street today. “I’m a dime a dozen out there with my guitar,” he says.

Stiff Upper Lip

The danger with busking is always dealing with hecklers. Dickinson was baffled by one comment shouted from a moving car saying he would make more money in Nashville. Perhaps it was a back-handed compliment.

But developing a thick skin is part of what it takes to successfully perform music, he says. “You just have to get to a point where you say, ‘This is what I do, and I think I do it well, and here it is.’”

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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