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Getting re-started

Bruce MacNeill 10 Nov 08 - 05:20 PM
katlaughing 10 Nov 08 - 05:32 PM
The Villan 10 Nov 08 - 05:33 PM
Melissa 10 Nov 08 - 05:35 PM
Bruce MacNeill 10 Nov 08 - 05:49 PM
Bruce MacNeill 10 Nov 08 - 06:01 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Nov 08 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 10 Nov 08 - 06:23 PM
Bruce MacNeill 10 Nov 08 - 06:43 PM
Tangledwood 10 Nov 08 - 06:46 PM
Bruce MacNeill 10 Nov 08 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 10 Nov 08 - 07:12 PM
Bruce MacNeill 10 Nov 08 - 07:35 PM
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Subject: Getting re-started
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 05:20 PM

Someone reopened an old thread about nursing home gigs, I don't know why, but it got me to thinking, which is always dangerous.

I have half a mind (which my wife thinks is a complete sentence)to try to start a retirement career in music. Since it's been 40 years or so since I played in public ( took time off for service, college, family, career as a geek, etc.) and I have now retired to an area of low cost but less civilization, I was thinking that nursing homes and the like might be a good place to get my act together so to speak. I played at a hospital as a teenager and the captive audience, mostly children, were bored enough to appreciate the effort. I found a 40 year old tape while moving that ( after several hours of fixing a 50 year old tape recorder ) proved that I used to be able to sing too.

As a child, I learned guitar, jazz and classical because my father was a pianist and didn't think guitar was a "Real instrument" anyway but frankly jazz and classical wouldn't get you as kiss in Massachusetts in 1964 but "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Charlie on the MTA" would, so...

Anyway, now that I have some time, I've been playing and singing for my parrot for the past year and trying to remember what I used to know. Other than the classical stuff I won't bother to name, I can still do "Ebb Tide", "Misty", "Stardust" and the like jazz stuff and some Kingston trio, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Ian and Sylvia songs. Whenever I did play in the past 40 years ( family gatherings, picnics at work )it was always Puff and Charlie that got the best reception anyway. I realize that in the U.K.,and outside world, those aren't real folk songs, but this is the good old U.S.A. where we don't really have traditions so please bear with us for a few more hundred years while we develop some.

So, the question is would a combination of Jazz, classical and commercial folk work at places like nursing homes while I get my repetoire back? I'd be playing for the experience of playing in public at this point, not money. There are professional musicians in my family and some outsiders have told me I could have been a professional but I don't believe them.

Although I realize that there are professionals here, I might value ameteur opinions more, no offense. Professionally, I was an engineer and I know all about charging for services rendered but I'm not up to that yet, musically.

Am I crazy?
Thanks
Bruce


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 05:32 PM

Yes, yes, and yes! They esp. love tunes they know, esp. tunes that were popular when they were young. My dad went to nursing homes and played for the "old folks" until he was in his mid-80s. They appreciate it so much! Good for you!!


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 05:33 PM

>>So, the question is would a combination of Jazz, classical and commercial folk work at places like nursing homes <<

Skiffle would go down well. I have never seen so many people who could hardly move their eyes love it.

Country music seems to go down well

Vera Lynn songs is also a good idea.

Buddy Holly songs

Cliff Richard songs

Val Doonican songs

Good luck on your new found idea


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Melissa
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 05:35 PM

I think your combination would be good (and well-received) at nursing homes. My group does three nh per month and we do not get paid (unless snacks and conversation are considered 'payment')

I do not believe that giving music away free implies that it isn't worth anything..I sort of think it's made for giving.

You're only partly crazy, Bruce.
It sounds like an excellent way to get your feet under you!


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 05:49 PM

Thanks y'all for the encouragement. I think I needed that. This house-husband gig (my wife is still working) leaves me missing the people I used to work with.

Villan, I'm sorry, I don't know what Skiffle means. Please define that. I'm in an area that is mostly country so I know I'll have to learn some of that, which I had successfully avoided all these years. Oh well, three chords and one tempo, I bought a truck, no gunrack yet. I have a dog kennel ( came with the house ) but no dog. I can say the dog left me and kill two birds with one stone.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:01 PM

Nevermind Villan. I should have known that if I searched the word, I'd get more than I wanted to know. I only joined last month and still don't realize how much information there is here.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:10 PM

I think the idea is great. Classical guitarists can make the best creators of sparing and subtle accompaniment.

Maybe you'll find someone old enough to want some American folk songs too - the version I do of Avram Baily was I think found in the Appalachians although I believe it had English roots before that. I just re-Anglify it a bit.


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:23 PM

Bruce:

The thought has occurred to me, more than once. I think the fact that I have found few conveniently sited kindred souls has been the main deterrant, along with some hand damage that limits my left hand a bit. I was part of a trio in the early 1960's and, like you, returned to school, marriage, kids, assorted real life, etc. One of my trio mates did the same thing.

I learned last year that, after retiring from his job as a hospital administrator, he has gone back to performing with a new pair of partners and is staying fairly busy in the pacific northwest with his group. If your aim is more for the soul than for the money, I'd go for it.


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:43 PM

TJ, I know a pretty good self taught blues guitarist in Dan Diego who probably needs someone to beat out chords for him. We worked together in Michigan and Pennsylvania ( computer geeks )before he decided to become a Californian. We used to jam occasionally. We really couldn't play each other's stuff but we could beat out chords for each other and he knew some of the folkie stuff although he's younger than I am. Last I heard, he had lost interest and taken up golf but if you run into a Brad Bernard, ask if he still remembers the chords to "Hotel California" and he might have to break out his Telecaster.

I haven't found anyone to play with down here ( Eastern Virginia )yet.

Thanks
Bruce


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Tangledwood
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 06:46 PM

My mother lives in an aged care home here in Australia. They have regular concerts by visiting musicians. There has been a classical violinist and some choirs, but the most regular performers appear to be amateur volunteers who generally sing a few numbers themselves then the program drifts into audience participation. As Kat suggested, it is the songs from their young years that most seem to want. This is the era that residents with dementia or Alzheimers are most at home with.

I would suggest visiting some of your local nursing homes and discuss ideas with them. Maybe you could visit during another performer's session to get a feel for the place.


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 07:06 PM

Thanks Tangledwood.

My wife is a nurse specializing in Oncology and works with a lot of older patients. She comes home with some stories, nothing that breaks privacy laws, just interesting tales of the years they're living in. I hope I never get there but I suppose I won't know if I do.

My mother-in-law liked my music and she just died last year at 90 which is one of the reasons I thought nursing homes might be a good place to start when I get to starting.

I need to get my voice back. It only works part time now and generally only under the influence of whiskey which interferes with my playing. I think it's getting better, else the whiskey's getting better.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 07:12 PM

Bruce:

Thanks for the tip. I'll keep my eyes peeled. As for the whiskey, a little bit of Pappy Van Winkle's 20 year old family reserve might be just the restorative you need, unless you're on a budget.


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Subject: RE: Getting re-started
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 07:35 PM

Yeah, I suppose Bourbon is something I should get used to down here too but with a name like MacNeill I'm sort of genetically disposed to Glen something or other. For fixing computers now, simple fixes anyway, I accept "Any Scotch that's old enough to vote".

A few months ago a woman called my wife because she was at the liquor store and couldn't find any 21 year old Scotch. Mary had to inform her that voting age had been lowered to 18.

Bruce


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