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nursing home concert

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guitar 03 May 07 - 12:59 PM
Wesley S 03 May 07 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Been There Done That 03 May 07 - 01:15 PM
The Villan 03 May 07 - 01:30 PM
Cathie 03 May 07 - 01:33 PM
wilco 03 May 07 - 02:34 PM
NormanD 03 May 07 - 04:21 PM
Fliss 03 May 07 - 06:00 PM
concertina ceol 03 May 07 - 07:09 PM
Deckman 03 May 07 - 07:44 PM
Mo the caller 04 May 07 - 05:13 AM
patriot1314 04 May 07 - 07:11 AM
guitar 04 May 07 - 07:32 AM
Saro 04 May 07 - 08:08 AM
Deckman 04 May 07 - 08:54 AM
guitar 04 May 07 - 10:27 AM
Jeremiah McCaw 04 May 07 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 04 May 07 - 10:59 PM
Fliss 05 May 07 - 03:46 PM
jiva 06 May 07 - 10:51 AM
Bee 06 May 07 - 11:57 AM
Darowyn 06 May 07 - 06:51 PM
Darowyn 07 May 07 - 03:51 AM
guitar 09 May 07 - 12:13 PM
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Subject: nursing home concert
From: guitar
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:59 PM

hello my name is Tom Hamilton,

I'm playing at a nursing home near where I live, I have never played anywhere solo before. I play two songs at the irivne folk club but that is just to get things started. However as a solo act I have never do it. So can anyone give any tips on how to perfom solo, the concert is for a hour from 2-3pm, I play guitar and I sing in a fashion.

thank Tom


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Wesley S
Date: 03 May 07 - 01:10 PM

I'd say - if possible - know your audience. Knowing their likes and dislikes can't hurt. Also - not too loud and better too short a show than too long. And I'd try to have a few singalongs ready.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: GUEST,Been There Done That
Date: 03 May 07 - 01:15 PM

Playing at a nursing home can be very rewarding for both you and the residents. I have played at a nursing home and found that they like older songs the best, ones they remember or can sing along to. I am in complete agreement with Wesley. Razzle dazzle is usually lost to this population. My grandmother used to lead sing-a-longs at a local nursing home. She told me that singing songs that are familiar is wonderful for older folks in that they already know the tune (can hum along if not sing along) and it brings back memories of their life, usually a good thing.

Relax and have fun with it. They don't care if you make mistakes. They are just happy to see someone. Sad and all too often, true.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: The Villan
Date: 03 May 07 - 01:30 PM

Whe my father died last year, I booked a skiffle band as a sort of commemoration. Ther were about 60 inmates there. Some looked as though they were on their last legs and could hardly lift a had.
We sat them all by tables ad gave them any object they could handle, such as table placemats. They bashed them against the tables for the rythmn ad had one hell of a time, and joined in with all the songs, becuase skiffle was one thing they knew.
the most wonderful thing was this one lady who didn't move at all except her lips were moving and she was singing. I talked to her afterwards and she said she really enjoyed herself.

Basically give em songs they know and really encourage them to join in in whatever way they can. Let them bash the table for the rythmn. Basically let them let their hair down and really encourage them to be a part of you. Smile and show them you are enjoying their company. Speak loud and clear and slowly for those people who do not pick words up easily.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Cathie
Date: 03 May 07 - 01:33 PM

The entertainment in nursing homes that I have visited recently catered for the age/interests of the residents - songs were well known (wartime/ragtime/popular etc). One gave out a lyric sheet. The residents didn't all keep awake; some were more animated and followed the singing. Visitors were encouraging. The singer maintained a jovial and lively performance. One used a backing track and took along a tape player.

Are you familiar with the nursing home and the residents? There are nursing homes and care homes. Who will your audience be?

Excuse me if I have stated the obvious. I admire anyone who gives time to stimulate, listen and talk to people when they are old. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: wilco
Date: 03 May 07 - 02:34 PM

TOM: That'a a loooooonnnnngggggg time to play solo.

    You didn't indicate if you're US or UK. I don't know if the songs will fit as well in UK.
    In a situation like yours, I'd take a song book or two, full of three chord songs. I would chord check all of the ones that you select, to get the right key for each song. Most of them will be in one or two chords, more than likely.
    Ask the social director at the nursing home a few questions, before you go.
    1. Who have they had there before that the residents enjoyed?
    2. What songs or kind of songs did they like??
    3. Does the facility have any songbooks?? Can you borrow one
         beforehand?
    4. If they don't have songbooks, see if they will run off a few
       copies of your songs. Get them "blown-up" at a Kinko's or
       similiar printer, prior to going. They'll reimburse you/
    5. When you start, ask the residents and their attendants
       if they have some songs in mind.

    I use lots of old gospel and folk songs. If things get really dragging, I do something like "Billy Boy" with nonsense verses about people in the audience.

Steve


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: NormanD
Date: 03 May 07 - 04:21 PM

My partner's mother lives in a residential care home (this is the UK) and we've been very frequent visitors over the past five years, so know many of the residents and staff quite well.

They bought a karaoke machine and I was called upon to lead the singing, with one of the care staff. Neither of us is a great singer, but then hardly anyone else is either, so nobody really noticed. We just had a lot of fun, getting the words wrong, tune off pitch, mixed up tempo, but we tried to encourage people to take part and have a go.

I don't like the idea of just doing the songs you think people will like because they're from their "era". I find the idea of waving your hands roughly in time to lead people in a chorus of "Daisy Daisy give us your answer do...." quite embarrassing, and patronising. Songs from the 40s and 50s, for sure, and most people know The Beatles, or at least some of them. But it's certainly best to ask first, and I thought Wilco48's points above were very pertinent.

if you're going to do a performance of music and songs you know for people to be entertained by, then that's great, but be aware that attention spans might not be too good for long songs. If you're wanting to do something more participatory then check first what would be good and work on involving them however is appropriate.

Many older people do still sing when given the chance and encouragement. Even with dementia the music memory is surprisingly long lasting, and singing is a good communicator.

I'm sure you'll enjoy it, Tom. Maybe tell us later how it went?

Norman


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Fliss
Date: 03 May 07 - 06:00 PM

Im entertaining a pensioners club to an evening of Irish music and song next Wednesday evening in sunny Shrewsbury (UK). Im taking along shaky eggs and a bodhran, and other percussion, plus a small song book of favourite Irish songs, my guitar voice and concertina. Hopefully two friends are coming too one on melodian the other on fiddle.

Generally its a case of busking, doing requests rather than doing a list a. As NormanD says not expecting that every pensioner wants to sing White Cliffs of Dover. A lot of pensioners were Rock and Roll era teenagers.

Good luck Tom


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: concertina ceol
Date: 03 May 07 - 07:09 PM

Me and my wife have done a few "concerts" like this in sheltered housing day centres and to "evergreens" groups.

We did traditional folk songs we liked and could sing well, but threw in a few songs like sleepy jean, california dreaming, blueberry hill etc. Not really my cup of tea but as others have said I think you have to do some things they will know. We also did a few traditional tunes and morris tunes, me on concertina and Alison on guitar. With tunes there are some that they will probably know such as greensleeves, british grenadiers, country gardens etc. Everyone seems to love hornpipes as well such as off to californa/galway hornpipe.

We have found it very rewarding and as others have said you get so much back from the people there. Probably the most accepting audience you could ever play to.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Deckman
Date: 03 May 07 - 07:44 PM

One benifit to doing nursing home gigs is that you've got a "CAPTIVE AUDIENCE!" Once you take away their walkers, hide their canes, and lock their wheelchairs, they can't run away from you!

Don't forget to enjoy yourself! A GREAT BIG SMILE will help a great deal! Good Luck, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Mo the caller
Date: 04 May 07 - 05:13 AM

Yes, you have got a captive audience haven't you.
Including the one who spends most of the time asking to go back to her room and the one who keeps telling you that you are doing the wrong material.
Mind you I sort of agreed with him, but our dance club had been asked to do a display at the home where one of our ex members was living, and that was what we did - no use asking for something differet.
The most interesting moment was when Jim was clogging on a small board. One woman had been sat in a chair positioned away from the dancers (not room for everyone to face centre), unable to lift her head. She got up and came and stood close to him. He was concerned that she might knock him off, we could see her foot shuffling in imitation.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: patriot1314
Date: 04 May 07 - 07:11 AM

Tom, I've played in a load of nursing homes over the years. (I'm in Ayr, so not far from you)
It's best if you do songs they know, simple ones with a chorus (Coulter's Candy, the Red Yo-Yo) that type of thing.
And one great thing I learned about elderly people.....Don't be surprised if you get minimal applause, they vote with their feet. If you still have an audience at the end of your set then they enjoyed it!...Good luck


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: guitar
Date: 04 May 07 - 07:32 AM

I'm from Scotland


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Saro
Date: 04 May 07 - 08:08 AM

My mother is 93 and in a nursing home and loves it when people come in to sing, but she gets upset because she can't always hear the words. Copies of your songs would be a great hellp for many peoople, as someone on this thread has said before. I'm so glad you are doing this, hope it goes really well.
Saro


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Deckman
Date: 04 May 07 - 08:54 AM

Reviewing these posts tells me that these are ALL very good suggestions. Bob


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: guitar
Date: 04 May 07 - 10:27 AM

ok i agree

thanks everyone

tom


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 04 May 07 - 07:24 PM

"... "Daisy Daisy give us your answer do...." quite embarrassing, and patronising."

Good point. Sometimes (depending on whether a retirement residence or a nursing home) you could end up 'singing down' to your audience. One performer friend of mine was doing a retirement home gig for the first time and decided to do his usual repertoire rather than dragging out the old chestnuts. Afterward one of the residents came up to him and said, "Thank you so much for not making us sing 'You Are My Sunshine'!"


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 May 07 - 10:59 PM

We all gotta begin somewhere.

Mine also had roots with the aged....be flexable.... many will want to request changes in lyrics (aka "when we've been there ten-thousand years" might have a request to "ten-zillion years") adapt and adopt (they REALLY love it when you are back next week and point out the contributor-in-the-audience to the change in lyrics.

HAVE FUN - next to second-graders - this is your most accepting (but demanding) of audiences.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

watch your "humor"


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Fliss
Date: 05 May 07 - 03:46 PM

My most moving experience was a a friend's 40th birthday party. We had an irish music session. His wife was 39 and had MS and couldnt walk, feed herself and could no longer hold a conversation only the odd word, yet her lips were moving to some of the songs. Sadly she died about 3 months later.

fxx


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: jiva
Date: 06 May 07 - 10:51 AM

We've been giving monthly performances at residential care homes for over 3 years now - it is humbling and rewarding to share a little of the lives of our elderly citizens. We do this in conjunction with MIND Active, a UK charity which provides activities for care homes in North East England.

The regular musical activities that MIND Active provide include singalongs, karaoke, accordion tunes, old-time classics, war-time songs, country & western, etc. So we try to add something different with a mixture of gentle, or foot-tapping contemporary songs with choruses (some self-penned), some with local connections/relevance.

We don't do the full hour non-stop - we divide it into 2 sets with a 5 minute break in the middle. This allows us to chat with the residents while recovering our voices a bit (some of the day lounges can be large, so we work harder with vocal projection in such venues).

It is heartwarming when some make a point of coming over to thank us as we pack the guitars away. Many will tell us that what we do is a refreshing change, as they get lots of the "Roll Out The Barrel" and "White Cliffs Of Dover" stuff which reminds them of their age and frailty and some sad or distressing memories.

Be prepared for some to doze off, for visitors to arrive and depart, and for some residents to shuffle in or out, for staff to fuss about being alert to the needs of their residents, occasionally bringing biscuits or tea or helping them to the toilet etc.

But most of all, give them your best, be genuine and warm. Smile and be approachable. You will be appreciated for it.

Best of luck - good on yer!
Jimmy & Val
www.jiva.co.uk


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Bee
Date: 06 May 07 - 11:57 AM

Yes, do keep in mind that a person who is 80 years old today was only 40 years old in 1957, only 50 years old in 1967, and if they liked the pop music then, they'll probably like it now.

I accompany (singing) friends of mine who play at several seniors/nursing homes (Canada). They do a mix of old country and western songs, fiddle tunes, a gospel song or two, a couple older tunes. Most of the residents know the words to these, especially the C&W songs, and those that can, dance when the fiddle comes out, including some of the wheelchair using residents.


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Darowyn
Date: 06 May 07 - 06:51 PM

One other point to consider is that music that the residents associate with the time that their children were growing up can also bring back good memories.
So if you assume that your audience's prime musical preferences will be for the music of around twenty years after their date of birth, you will also find them familiar with tunes from forty years on too.
I have sworn that I shall exact a vicious penalty from anyone who suggests that I should sing "Yellow Submarine", should I ever find myself the recipient of such entertainment- though they might find me all dewy-eyed if they play Metallica's "Unforgiven" or "There She Goes" by The La's- they remind me of when my sons lived at home.
The second point, is that you will never know in advance which are the songs that really touch the heart of an individual. Years ago I used to play with an outfit who had a regular booking with Saga Holidays. Twenty Years ago it was wartime songs and numbers from the classic shows that got the best response as far as singalongs were concerned. But the one that was often requested and had them weeping openly more often than not was "Only Make Believe". I see it as a 1940s version of "Love the One You're With"- but it clearly meant a lot more to a lot of elderly ladies.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: Darowyn
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:51 AM

It occurred to me that some people might be wondering what was so moving about Johnny Ray's song, "It's Only Make Believe".
That's not the one- it's the song from "Showboat" that goes:
"Only make believe I love you,
Only make believe that you love me" etc.
the rest is here:-

"Only Make believe" lyrics

Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: nursing home concert
From: guitar
Date: 09 May 07 - 12:13 PM

Well that's it I've done it I have finished my very first solo concert at the nursing home, the people there really enjoyed it and I sang songs that they knew. I have been asked to go again.

Tom


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