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Author Topic: Music at nursing homes...  (Read 5128 times)
ncognito
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« on: November 29, 2009, 06:44:41 PM »

As a professional gardener my season winds down by the end of December and resumes in March so every winter I try to get a bit creative finding ways to pay my bills since the way my boss' company is structured, I'm unable to collect unemployment.  

I know a few fellow musicians that at lest partially make a living playing music at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  They almost exclusively play nostalgic, sing along material which really appeals to this age group.  The type of music I play is predominantly instrumental music with a strong spiritual edge.  Is there anyone who has attempted doing anything even remotely similar with some degree of success?  I'm open to speculation from those who haven't done this as well.  I did propose this to the activities director/therepist at a local nursing home.  She sounded very positive.  We have it set that (tentatively) I will soon do a short free sample program.  She in turn will give me feedback and hook me up with a few counterpart places, I'll be able to use her as a reference, and she gave me every indication that they would pay me to do this at a future date should the outcome be positive.  What say ye?

                    

        DAVE  
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2009, 07:24:41 PM »

Awww, any chance to play is always welcome, and if there is a chance to get a bean or two all the better, especially if you are networked thru the facility.
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2009, 08:49:26 PM »

My Mum used to do this. Traditional tunes/hymns. No acoustic covers of Slayer of course.
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ncognito
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2009, 11:23:07 PM »

My Mum used to do this. Traditional tunes/hymns. No acoustic covers of Slayer of course.
   

That's odd.  The activities director made it quite clear that Slayer is number 1 on the Geriatric Charts.  whistling 

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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 12:36:29 AM »

Quite a crew they have there, sounds like. 
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L-03 Italian Spruce
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 03:12:28 AM »

I'm not sure the playing for hire is going to fly at assisted living facilities/nursing homes, but maybe different in your area.   Local churches and folks that play and are inclined to volunteer are willing to play for free in my area.

My Mom lives in an assisted living facility.  I play for her and whoever else wants to listen fairly often.  I play jazz standards 99% of the time, anyway, and these go over very well as you can imagine.
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ncognito
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 03:46:51 AM »

I'm not sure the playing for hire is going to fly at assisted living facilities/nursing homes, but maybe different in your area.   Local churches and folks that play and are inclined to volunteer are willing to play for free in my area.

My Mom lives in an assisted living facility.  I play for her and whoever else wants to listen fairly often.  I play jazz standards 99% of the time, anyway, and these go over very well as you can imagine.


Hey, I don't mind playing for free.  I even pay to play at my two favourite open mics because the sound systems are top notch and they are both very supportive listening rooms.  But... if I can get a bean or two.. why not?  Folks do play for hire at such places in my area, whether my material will be monetarily appreciated remains to be seen.  

That's great that you share your jazz standards with your mom and everyone else where she lives.  I'm sure it's very much appreciated.  

Thanks for the feedback.

         DAVE
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2009, 06:30:38 AM »

See my thread on Musicophilia - the book by Oliver Sacks.

Music at Nursing Homes is much needed and potentially very therapeutic for Alzheimer's patients - some of the only connections they can make to their old self are through music.  Sacks posits that it might temporarily re-wire parts of the brain that have been disconnected for a long time.

I'm working on my standards repertoire on purpose for this.  For free.  Hoping that someday if I find myself in the same situation, some kind souls will pay that forward as well.

Right now, I'm working on the Patetique sonata by Beethoven on piano (the slow part everyone knows).  I have a suggested set list that a colleague on a different forum suggested for what's popular at the homes right now.  I'll see if I can dig it up.  I do remember 'Hello Dolly', 'When the Saints Go Marching In' (He's from Nawlins!), 'Four Leaf Clover', and few others.
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 06:46:04 PM »

I have played at assisted living/senior centers. Most of them do have an entertainment budget and will pay. Fortunately I have not needed the income and enjoy volunteering. I enjoy seeing the smiles on the audience faces. I play mostly 20's - 40's tunes that they can sing along with. Knowing I am bringing some joy to folks is pay enough, but I am always happy to get a few bucks for gas money. I also have a book with lyrics (I pass out and pickup) to encourage participation.

I know a guy who does charge for every gig and he stays pretty busy at the homes. He can't play well nor sing well, but his audience is usually asleep anyway.

good luck..
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 07:19:32 PM »

Can you get a "demo" CD out to prospects?
I play at a large hospital in the main lobby every Saturday. I play quite a few old patriotic tunes, and other old chestnuts (Shenandoah, Danny Boy, Water is Wide) all instrumental. It's a very rewarding experience. I've been doing this for 2.5 years now. Amazing things happen there. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2009, 06:10:47 AM »

This is a great thread. As either a paying or volunteer gig, I could see pursuing something like this in the future, and I certainly encourage ncognito to see where he can go with this.

If anything, I would tend to avoid underestimating the musical sophistication and intellecutal capacity of the audience. Some may be in a diminished condition, true, but you don't get to your retirement years without a certain level of refinement. I'd make sure to have a very strong reptertoire and bring my "A" game. I remember when my grandfather was in a nursing home, he was pretty dismayed with a lot of the entertainment. It seemed to him that it was aimed at children. Rockstar_not makes an interesting point ... God willing, you could be in that same home some day. What would you want music to be like for you?
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2009, 05:29:54 PM »

We also do it for "free" in my area BUT are paid back in non-monetary terms by the joy it brings and the connections made. However if there are homes out there willing to budget entertainment with live music then what's the CON to that? None that I can think of.
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2009, 06:23:45 PM »

I have a friend who started a reader's theatre group specifically aimed at this market. They could be kept busy 2 or 3 times a week at the minimum with their circuit. The residents don't have the money for a tip bucket and most assisted living and nursing facilities have a very limited budget for entertainment (maybe $20 a throw). You're not going to get rich unless you consider doing something nice for a forgotten segment of the population payment enough. I'd get involved in this kind of thing in a heartbeat but I'm not retired yet and all they do are afternoon performances.

More power to the people who can give so freely of themselves.

f
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2009, 07:03:59 PM »

My group is playing St. Patrick's day at a senior center (combined independent and assisted living) and want to play a few Irish songs that the crowd can sing along with.  Any suggestions for Irish songs that work well in senior centers?  Thanks!

Dave
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2010, 01:19:44 AM »

Yes, nursing homes usually have an activities budget. Some folks there can't respond well, but they love it!

Now days you have to remember the age of some of the younger people there. Playing '60s music is great for them!
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