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Nursing home gigs

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GUEST,Jazz student 26 Jul 15 - 01:25 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jul 15 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,Stim 26 Jul 15 - 09:32 PM
PHJim 26 Jul 15 - 11:31 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jul 15 - 01:31 AM
GUEST,Jazz student 27 Jul 15 - 01:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Jul 15 - 02:08 AM
Don Firth 27 Jul 15 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,DrWord 28 Jul 15 - 04:01 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jul 15 - 06:04 PM
nager 29 Jul 15 - 01:08 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jul 15 - 02:02 AM
nager 29 Jul 15 - 06:10 PM
Don Firth 29 Jul 15 - 07:03 PM
PHJim 30 Jul 15 - 10:10 AM
nager 31 Jul 15 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Stim 01 Aug 15 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Gary 01 Aug 15 - 03:52 PM
PHJim 01 Aug 15 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Gary 01 Aug 15 - 07:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Aug 15 - 08:14 PM
Don Firth 01 Aug 15 - 08:36 PM
GUEST,Gary 01 Aug 15 - 08:39 PM
Don Firth 01 Aug 15 - 09:01 PM
SunrayFC 01 Aug 15 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Gary 01 Aug 15 - 09:55 PM
Don Firth 01 Aug 15 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,Gary 02 Aug 15 - 12:16 AM
Don Firth 02 Aug 15 - 01:01 AM
GUEST,Gary 02 Aug 15 - 01:56 AM
Don Firth 02 Aug 15 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,Gary 02 Aug 15 - 03:25 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Aug 15 - 05:25 AM
OlgaJ 02 Aug 15 - 02:21 PM
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Subject: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Jazz student
Date: 26 Jul 15 - 01:25 PM

Hi I'm currently a jazz student and was looking into the possibility of playing at retirement homes, senior centers and such, for pay. If anyone has experience I was wondering how much should I charge for a group of 4-5 at such a institution. I ve heard to charge at least $70 per person so you don't get ripped off but is this the really true? Also how do you approach the AD about us playing.
Note: we are all high school students but have years of playing jazz together. And we can play much more than jazz.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jul 15 - 06:27 PM

Many past threads here to search up.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 26 Jul 15 - 09:32 PM

First, I think it's really good that you're interested in playing for those audiences--your work will be very much appreciated--they love live performances, and they'll love having talented young people perform for them.

That said--your group is probably too big, and too expensive to get many bookings of the kind you want. You may be able to get $50-75 per person, but it would be for a single or duet--

Anyway, here are a few basic things you should know about:

First--there are both residential and day facilities. In order to be licensed, all the facilities need to provide services that are appropriate to the needs of their participants. This includes recreational and participational activities such as arts and crafts, exercise and music, and, increasingly, life long education.

Day facilities can be "Senior Centers", which can offer drop in activities, gym and pool facilities, counseling and health support, classes, and sometimes meal service. There is also what is called "Adult Day Care" which are supervised day programs for people with physical and cognitive impairments.

Residential facilities include "Independent Living", which can be a hotel-like facility, condos,or cottages with common dining and activities areas(they often promote them as if they are resorts)--in theory, the residents are pretty self-sufficient, and often plan and coordinate the activities, or at least supervise the offerings. One of the places that I worked had a theatre with a full stage, which booked shows in conjunction with the local performing arts center.

Next would be "Assisted Living" which tends to be for people who can no longer live on their own and require some type of ongoing support, but retain some level of mobility. The activities director will provide daily events, often with singing or some sort of musical activity two or three times a week.

The next step would be the "Nursing Home" with a higher degree of support needed--not much mobility, often people are confined to bed and are usually transported in wheelchairs.

There is also "Memory Care" or "Memory Unit" which is for individuals with Alzheimer's, Dementia, and other Cognitive issues. They may or may not be wheelchair-bound, but they have strict supervision. They often have limited ability to communicate.

Each type of facility requires a different sort of engagement--Independent Living would tend to be the most like a regular performance situation, Assisted living might be more of a very interactive sing-along, and Nursing and Memory Care could be much more basic--Memory audiences may not even respond when songs begin or end.

Next has to do with your show. Since you play "jazz", you probably play a lot of standards from what has gotten to be called the "American Songbook"--these are great, because people, especially older people know them.

You may not know this, but people who are 60 and over grew up in times where there was a lot of group singing, there was singing in folk clubs and coffee houses, people sang at parties and in bars, there was a lot of singing on television, and there were even "follow the bouncing ball" sing along shorts in movie theatres. For that reason, in a room with 20 or more people in our age ranges, if you play just about any song along that was popular from about 1920 into the early 60s, people will join in.

The key to being successful is interacting--smile a lot, talk to the audience a lot, interact, let them sing, and get them to respond to you. your musical skills, and even your repertoire run a distant second to your ability to interact.

Recently, I participated in an intergenerational craft and music series that delivered programs in continuing care retirement communities. For my part of the program, I played my ukulele and led the participants thru maybe four or five songs that they requested--as often as not, I worked out the chords as we sang, and I'd go around the room, singing the same words with each table-sometimes we'd get them right, sometimes not, but everyone was having fun, and nothing else mattered. And that is as good as it gets.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: PHJim
Date: 26 Jul 15 - 11:31 PM

While not in a nursing home, I am in my early seventies and most of my friends in their sixties and seventies were listening to music that was popular in the sixties and seventies. This was the era of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Dead. A seventy year old was 24 at the time of the first Woodstock festival. They also may have been in their late teens/early twenties during the "great folk scare" and be fans of Dylan, Baez, Van Ronk. . .


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jul 15 - 01:31 AM

I've been performing in nursing homes for about ten years. Mostly, I lead a church group singing Christmas and Fourth of July carols. For about two years, several of us from the San Francisco Folk Music Club would go to a nursing home every two months to serenade a fellow member who was there. We'd usually have an enthusiastic audience of 15-20 residents. I've always enjoyed my nursing home performances. Never thought of getting paid for it. Hmmm. Maybe we should ask...

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Jazz student
Date: 27 Jul 15 - 01:57 AM

Thank you all for your replies and advice. I truly appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Jul 15 - 02:08 AM

i did it as a living for several years. i was lucky, i worked for a couple of years for an agent who taught me how to do the job. told me what to play, gave me scripts i had to work to.

i remember sitting through an awful concert put on by the new great white hopes of the folkscene where they sulked their great music at a pensioner audience imprisoned in village hall, there was nothing wrong with the young peoples music - it was the way it was offered.

80 per cent of the job is presentation. they have radios on in these places which totally ignores this generation. they have no tv stations which address them. the courtesy you can aford them is what will get you rebooked. have something interesting to say about those jazz standards, know something about the world for which thos ballads were written - and don't do with solemnity - do it with a smile.

i doubt anywhere will be able to afford more than a duo - a nd frequently you have to set up quickly in restricted spaces. so buy appropriate small easily portable equipment. treat it as a pro job - not justsome rubbish hack work. i always used to face the speakers to the wall so that that gave a gentle reflection of the sound. that was a small fender passport pa system.

they are worth the trouble - they are the best audieces you will ever play for and they will appreciate every effort that you make.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jul 15 - 05:18 PM

I've done a fair amount of nursing home and retirement home gigs. Never occurred to me to charge for it, however....

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 28 Jul 15 - 04:01 PM

I'm with Don on that one. At my farmer's market & town fair busks I typically make it clear "proceeds to the ### Nursing Home fund". Maybe some of the young musicians will, solo or duet, volunteer at one of the facilities listed by Stim. Many of the "assisted living" places do have a budget, and can afford to pay. Best of luck, whether volunteering or gigging like a pro [$], you'll be repaid utterly~~live music is best!

and check the linked threads at the top~~huge trove of info....

keep on pickin'
dennis


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jul 15 - 06:04 PM

I think on my nursing home performances as a conversation. These people are hungry for communication with somebody who won't talk down to them, who won't call them "honey" or other diminuating terms.They like to reminisce, to laugh, to flirt. They like to have their memories tested. Sometime I'll sing them a few songs from a movie musical, and tell them the plot as I go along.

Most of all, I try to have fun with them, and that works wonders.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: nager
Date: 29 Jul 15 - 01:08 AM

I have been entertaining with a variety of songs along with my guitar and accordion for a few years now - mostly at non-profit nursing homes,retirement villages and day care centres. The appreciation shown by the smiling faces, toe tapping and chorus singing is enough payment for me.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jul 15 - 02:02 AM

if you're doing it really well. its a tough job. you wouldn't really do it for nothing - you couldn't afford to.

you need to amplify your voice. many old people have hearing difficulties, and yet you can't be too loud. some rooms are awkward shapes - so you need two speakers at least. and as i said point the speakers to the wall. the direct sound from the speakers can seem very abrasive to old ears. theres snothing sadder than seeing an old lady miming - no idea of whats going on - just wants to join in. so make sure they can all hear.

you need to be mobile. to interract. go and sing to people who perhaps can't see you, but they can feel your presence - so you should do the first songs shaking hands with everybody - and sometimes kneel down and hold hands and sing the song to the old person.

so you need a radio mic - one that you tape to your face and a guitar guitar radio system. either that or someone else backs you or you use backing trax. if you are to be mobile and interract.
theres alot of moving round so you do need to be relatively fit.

for that kind of kit - you need a fair number of gigs all rebooking you. in America - i can't imagine how you would make it work with your huge distances between towns.

i used to live just north of nottingham - so i could reach Nottingham, Derby Sheffield, Bakewell. Leicester, Lincoln - all within an hour. even so the petrol bill was crippling.

coupled with that although i loved doing it. there is an underlying sadness - these are the lucky ones. one day it will be you in that chair.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: nager
Date: 29 Jul 15 - 06:10 PM

I entertain at venues near to where I live and that's six of them. It costs peanuts to drive there and back, so no real cost involved. As for amps and mikes and speakers etc I don't use them, except for a small amp for my guitar if needed. Audiences are between 15-40 people and all are seated up close so they can hear me well.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Jul 15 - 07:03 PM

In the nursing home/retirement home gigs I have done, they generally had me sing in a lounge area, where folks gathered anyway. Maybe a couple three or four dozen people, some seated in wheelchairs, pushing walkers, or walking with canes gather and when all was ready, the show began.

I usually sang a couple of half-hour sets like the ones I did in coffeehouses, back to back—I was announced ahead of time as a singer of folk songs. Lots of older people remembered hearing Burl Ives and The Weavers on the radio and on juke boxes, so those who gathered in the lounge know what I was all about.

Just me and my guitar (unamplified classic) as I normally performed, so I didn't lug around and set up a lot of gear—and I've never had a problem with people not being able to hear. My voice is fairly big, and I gear it to the size of the room.

I got lots of appreciative comments, and I didn't charge for this kind of performance. Just doing my bit.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: PHJim
Date: 30 Jul 15 - 10:10 AM

I have played my share of benefit gigs, including a nursing home where my aunt spent her last days, but most nursing homes are "for profit" businesses and have a budget set aside for entertainment, so there is no reason to feel guilty about taking money for your services.
I'm sure the plumbers, electricians, painters, custodians, kitchen help, doctors and nurses don't work there gratis, but for some reason folks often expect musicians to.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: nager
Date: 31 Jul 15 - 06:06 PM

I am not a professional musician just a well meaning volunteer. If I went there to do my professional work then of course I would charge like anyone else would.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 02:51 PM

To be clear, there is a place for both volunteers and professionals.

If you want to do it professionally, you are not going to get that much per gig, so you've got to stay fairly close to fully booked in order to survive. Also, there won't be many evening or weekend bookings, it'll be something like one booking around 9:30 or 10 in the morning, one in the after around 2 or 3, weekdays.

You will need to be in place, on time, ready to perform. These places tend to run on schedules, and it takes a lot of effort to get say, 40 people in wheelchairs down to the activity room at 2pm. If you're not there when you should be, it can be a big problem.

Unfortunately, they aren't as reliable as they expect you to be. Events tend to be cancelled and rearranged a lot. I remember in one instance bringing 20 elementary school kids to a facility for a Chinese New Years Art and Music event only to find the facility had been quarantined due to an Influenza outbreak(yes, in nursing homes, at least, they still do that!) There are literally dozens of things that can cause a cancellation(sometimes the AD that booked you left, and the new AD didn't know you were booked) leaving you without a gig, with no time to schedule another.

That said, you can make a living doing this, and, given that it is pretty hard to make a living as a performer, that is a good thing...


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 03:52 PM

Wow people here must be really stupid. The original thread was on a student not a full time professional... I don't get why everyone is talking about making it professionally when the kid said he was a high school student. Plus people aren't even answering the poor kids questions except for one or two people.

Anyways... I think what you are doing or planning to do is a great idea and the older generation will definitely enjoy hearing you young artists. They pay may not be what you are expecting but you should get something out of it. You should work it out with the AD of the the specific place you plan to be gigging out at. Also for your size, there may be an issue for spacing so take that into consideration. You set list should be fine because you are "jazz students" so everything there should be taken care of. And never stop trying. You may get rejected from places but don't give up hope!

I wish you the best

Gary


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: PHJim
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 07:05 PM

How to win friends and influence people: Open with, "Wow people here must be really stupid."


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 07:42 PM

Don't need to influence people or have friends that can't even answer the question from the thread. Just stating what I ve observed...


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 08:14 PM

well i'm sorry, but if the student thinks he will make a living from the small change in his pocket - just breezing in with his great talent - both he and his audience are in for a rough time.

you have to apply your intelligence to make a living from being a professional musician. and he'd better get used to it.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 08:36 PM

Guest Gary, uncalled for cracks like yours are what get posts removed and threads closed. Try to learn to behave in a civilized manner.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 08:39 PM

Where in the question does the student talk about making a living playing his instrument? Obviously some people here need to actually read what the question is asking... I just feel bad for the student because he is asking one question but getting totally different replies.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 09:01 PM

Guest Gary, I, as well as others, was pointing out to the young jazz musician and his group that expecting around $70.00 per person for four or five musicians might be pretty optimistic (read "downright unrealistic!") from a nursing home when there are plenty of musicians who are quite happy to donate their time and talent and entertain the patients for no compensation other than appreciation.

Many working musicians do benefits. It's part of the profession.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: SunrayFC
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 09:50 PM

I enjoyed my gigs in Bath. Unplugged and appreciated, and then I toured the wards of the hospital. Heartwarming and it paid well.
Loved it.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,GUEST, Gary
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 09:55 PM

The kid never said he was expecting that much. If you read the question, again if I may add, he was asking if what he had heard was true.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 11:40 PM

". . . I was wondering how much should I charge for a group of 4-5 at such a institution. I ve heard to charge at least $70 per person so you don't get ripped off but is this the really true?"

And I responded that he should probably NOT expect that much. Possibly not expect any monetary compensation. There are a number of well-established musicians who do nursing homes and retirement homes as benefits.

There are compensations for this however. First, for young musicians, a chance to gain some experience performing before an audience.

And second, within my experience, I've been offered a fair number of well-paid jobs by someone who heard me perform at a freeby.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 12:16 AM

You never responded that he shouldn't charge. You just said that you don't charge and then began describing your own experience. He asked if the information he got was right, yet you didn't answer him. In fact your first post just states that you don't do paid gigs for retirement homes and you end with an alluding however... This leads the reader to believe that you are taking in the consideration of paid gigs and may look into the possibility in the future. Thus the ... . You can give your own experience which is no doubt useful to him, but never directed an answer towards the student.

I just feel bad for the kid. Obviously he wants to start something good, but only a few people like stim are actually answering his question. The purpose of the forum is to talk and answer the question given. Not just talk about a related thread because you can do that at other places on this site.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 01:01 AM

Guest Gary, it's crystal clear to anyone with a command of the English language that I DID answer his question. Then elaborated on it.

You're not giving Guest, jazz student credit for understanding plain English. I'm quite sure he understood what I was saying.   

But then, maybe YOU are the one who doesn't understand plain English.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 01:56 AM

It appears you didn't seem to understand. You didn't answer his question. In fact you contradicted yourself. The first post if I must reiterate is that you ended saying you don't do paid gigs, but then ended with a however ... . This leads the reader to conclude the thought provocation of doing a paid gig yourself. But later in your second post state your own experiences. You never stated AT ALL that the student shouldn't get paid for gigs. I just explained this in the previous post. Please read my posts before responding. There was no elaboration about the topic of paid gigs versus volunteering. One or two sentences is not considered elaboration. You went on to discuss about how you went about conducting gigs (which is useful to the student, no sarcasm intended), but this is not the right thread. The student never asks about your experience only about whether what he had heard was true or not, which you never answered.

This is why so many people have stereotypes about musician...


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 02:56 AM

Several people on this thread have answered the young jazz musician's questions quite clearly, and gone on to offer other advice and suggestions.

Guest Gary, what kind of strange bug do YOU have up you--nose--that you don't grasp this? Or do you just enjoy making a pain in the ass of yourself?

Don Firth

P. S. Good night! I'm going to bed.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 03:25 AM

Good night


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 05:25 AM

well if he's not doing it for a living, that's a bloody good fee he's asking for. working my tits off, i would have been very happy getting that much.


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Subject: RE: Nursing home gigs
From: OlgaJ
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 02:21 PM

Mmm. Think we need to rethink what we do in Elder People's Residences. We know someone who goes to 'Old Folk's Homes' who is approaching 80 himself and hasn't realised that most of the people in these establishments were young in the 1960s. He is still doing 'Good bye Dolly', 'Long Way to Tipperary'etc. whereas what they remember is the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan etc., We know a brilliant duo (won't name them so as not to embarrass) who sing the stuff that was modern when the residents were young and apparently it goes down really well. I imagine they are getting a good fee (obviously not enough to live on) but they are fulfilling a serious need. Often older people whose conditions mean they can't communicate particularly well get a real boost from hearing music they recognise from their younger days.


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