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Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet

Hawker 03 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM
katlaughing 03 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM
Dani 03 Apr 01 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,Les B 03 Apr 01 - 08:04 PM
Morticia 03 Apr 01 - 08:01 PM
Bernard 03 Apr 01 - 07:46 PM
Don Firth 03 Apr 01 - 07:26 PM
John Hardly 03 Apr 01 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,amdg 03 Apr 01 - 06:54 PM
harpgirl 03 Apr 01 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 03 Apr 01 - 06:39 PM
mousethief 03 Apr 01 - 06:04 PM
katlaughing 03 Apr 01 - 06:01 PM
mousethief 03 Apr 01 - 06:00 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Apr 01 - 05:57 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Apr 01 - 05:55 PM
catspaw49 03 Apr 01 - 05:52 PM
mousethief 03 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM
Amergin 03 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM
katlaughing 03 Apr 01 - 05:49 PM
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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Hawker
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM

Kat,
You care enough to be there,
That will mean a great deal to those you visit
On a one to one basis, this could be a beautiful experience for you, rather than approacing it with trepidation......embrace it with open arms
If I was terminally ill, I would be so grateful if someone came to share their music with me!
GOOD LUCK
Lucy


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:09 PM

Not patronising at all, Bernard, thank you very much. A lot of what I've been feeling, I know, is wanting to get back in touch with the good feelings I had when I worked as an EMT and aide in two hospitals and a nursing home in my 20's. I cannot do that kind of physical work anymore, but I am a really good listener and adept at putting people at ease, esp. in such situations (harpgirl, is this the "ego strength" you mentioned?**BG**)

Rick, thanks, if all else fails, I will be there to hold a hand, listen, or sing a lully.

I will have courage remembering your kindness, support, and encouragement...even at the thought of seeing Amergin nekkid!**BG**

This seems like a natural progression in my life. Perhaps it is my way of facing my own mortality and not feeling so sad at the thought of it, whenever it comes.

Thank you all, dear friends...I am practising what I know and also doing some improv of soothing tunes. I will ask the Great Spirit to guide me, too, so that I may really be of service.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Dani
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:06 PM

Please keep us posted. Working with our local hospice is something I've considered for some time, but not sure about it. Maybe someday.

I've got a friend who did what you're considering with patients at a VA hospital (as a job) and it sounded very grueling emotionally, but also very rewarding. Blessings on your work!

Dani


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:04 PM

Kat - good for you ! I've found in playing at nursing homes (not hospices) for people in their 70's & 80's that songs popular in the 1940's & 50's go over best.

The music they danced and courted to really brings back the memories, like "Springtime in the Rockies," "Red Wing," "Golden Slippers" "Maggie," "Remember Me" "San Antonio Rose," "Faded Love," etc. Granted, "Golden Slippers" and "Maggie" are much older, but they were popular dance tunes for nearly a century. Your dad should be a gold mine of these.

One warning, the bluegrass version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" has some pretty somber verses - "undertaker, undertaker ... that body you are haulin'...etc."

Have fun, you're doin' people a real favor.


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Morticia
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:01 PM

Kat, as you know I have worked a lot in hospices....I think what you are doing is wonderful and I haven't a doubt in the world you will do the right thing but you might find it helpful to read up a bit on Elizabeth Kubler Ross and so on, just to see what you might be walking in to...please lemme know if I can help and very best love and good wishes!


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 07:46 PM

Go for it, Kat. I've done lots of that sort of gig, and the one thing I have learned is not to be intimidated by the surroundings.

Do the music you enjoy, and that enthusiasm will rub off on your audience. Laugh with them, not at them, and they will enjoy themselves all the more.

Don't be afraid to talk. If working 'one-to-one', make 'eye contact' by looking at the end of their nose, not straight in the eye. It's less distracting for you!

Most important of all, remember they aren't going to be all that critical about your performance, so you can relax and get on with it.

One last thing - people in a hospice don't often have long left, but they won't behave that way. Two problems arise - arriving to find they are no longer around is obvious, but less obvious is the temptation to try to compensate for it on their behalf. They know, and prefer you to carry on as if nothing is wrong.

Three weeks ago I lost a fairly close friend to cancer, so it's fresh in my mind - and maybe she's helping me write this, because I don't know where some of this is coming from...

She wasn't in the hospice for even a week...

I have no regrets, as I know I did my bit for her, and she is no longer suffering. All is well.

It's possible that some of this sounds patronising - sorry, it's not intended that way. I'm speaking on a general level - take what advice you need, and ignore the rest!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 07:26 PM

Good on ya, Kat!

Back in November 2000, there was a thread on "Your proudest moment as a musician." I posted a moment of my own, then went on to add the following. I thought it might be appropriate to pass it on to you:

. . . I feel impelled to recount an experience of music therapist Esther Littledove John, a local native-American woman who plays the flute, composes, and is a powerful advocate of the healing power of music. She and a woman who often accompanies her (guitar/Celtic harp) frequently play in retirement homes, hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes. After their main performance in the dining room, lounge, chapel, or whatever, they usually go up and down the halls and play for people who are bed-ridden or who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend.

On the occasion she was telling me about, she and her accompanist stopped outside the room of an old gentleman who sat motionless, staring out of the window. They spoke, but he said nothing, just continued to stare. A passing nurse or attendant said, "Don't waste your time on him. He's in a world of his own. He just sits there and stares out the window. He hasn't responded to anyone or anything in two years."

Not to be deterred, they started to play. After several minutes, Esther said she noticed a slight movement. He was patting his foot in rhythm to their music! When they finished the piece a few minutes later, he turned slowly and looked at them.

"He was completely toothless," Esther said, "and he smiled the most beatific smile I have ever seen!"

"That," she said, "is one of the reasons I do what I do."

That's great, Kat. Go for it!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: John Hardly
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 07:02 PM

WOW Kat,

I can't express the respect I feel for you right now.



I second the Stephen Foster. Also all those "kid" songs--kinda campfire type songs (I'm blanking on any but "Oh Mr Moon, Moon, bright and silvery...)

JH


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: GUEST,amdg
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 06:54 PM

My buddy (fiddle) and I (piano) have been playing at several nursing homes on a fairly regular basis for about a year now, and it's been one of the best things we've ever done. My hope is that the more time we spend in those places now, the less we'll have to spend in 'em later....

My favorites are the old ladies whose fathers were fiddlers or dance callers.

But, of course, that's a pretty different audience and environment than you'll be playing for, Kat, and I wish you all the best luck and good cheer. How lucky those folks will be to have you there as they take their long journey.

Annie


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: harpgirl
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 06:52 PM

I've spent lots of time in hospice and nursing homes, kat and I am sure they will enjoy your presence! Your lullaby collection will be wonderful. Gentle old time music like Stephen Foster, Lorena, and others from their heyday will be most appreciated. It is very hard work though physically and emotionally and if you decide to do it in short segments, you might last longer at it. You have the ego strength for it though, I'm sure. Poetry readings would be wonderful and just listening and sitting with someone means alot. You go girl...hg


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 06:39 PM

I got together a group to do square dancing exibitions at nursing homes, with a singer between the 1st and 2nd tips, and a juggler (my son, sometime professional at it) between 2nd and 3rd.

After about a 9 or 10 gigs I gave it up. It was a fair amount of work for me and the others in he group. At best about 3 members of the audience were entertained, but for most it was just another place to try to sleep with a lot of noise around.


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: mousethief
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 06:04 PM

Sorry. Not nursing homes. Hospices. My bad.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 06:01 PM

You guys make me cry...thanks, from the bottom of my heart.


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: mousethief
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 06:00 PM

Just don't make jokes about how they're a captive audience and can't leave if they don't like your music. People in nursing homes HATE that kind of humor.


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 05:57 PM

Oh, and one other thing: You can chat. You're articulate and you care about folks. That is a HUGE bonus. You will be VERY welcomed by the patients, believe me.

Rickagain


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 05:55 PM

Go Go Go Go. They'll simply be glad you're not playing a Tuba!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 05:52 PM

Just go do it luv.......Its right down your alley and a great thing to do.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: mousethief
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM

Wow, Kat, that sounds like a wonderful thing! Don't stop now -- keep up the momentum! I'm rooting for you all the way!

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet
From: Amergin
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 05:51 PM

I know of a way that will make you want to show up....just imagine me being there......nekkid.....


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Subject: Took a big step, Now to avoid cold feet!
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 05:49 PM

Something inside me has been stirring and I finally acted upon it. I called the local hospice and asked about comng in to sing to patients. She said they have a woman who coms in and "tried" to play the flute once per week, but have never had someone who comes in to work with an individual patient, as I would like to do. They have used music tapes to help those in transition. And, she is very open to what I might want to do.

So, I made an appointment to meet with her next week. This is a really big step for me. 1) It takes a lot of physical effort 2)I've never done this, specifically, before....so, please help me not to get cold feet. Any suggestions on appropriate songs, both solo voice and solo dulcimer as well as just making myself go to the meeting would be greatly appreciated. Whew!

Thanks,

kat


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