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Songs and stories at a care facility

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Northerner 06 Sep 06 - 08:50 AM
Sorcha 06 Sep 06 - 08:57 AM
Alio 06 Sep 06 - 09:40 AM
Northerner 06 Sep 06 - 10:08 AM
Sorcha 06 Sep 06 - 01:43 PM
dwditty 06 Sep 06 - 02:09 PM
Northerner 06 Sep 06 - 02:40 PM
Little Robyn 06 Sep 06 - 04:09 PM
Kaleea 06 Sep 06 - 04:16 PM
Northerner 06 Sep 06 - 04:34 PM
Sorcha 06 Sep 06 - 04:49 PM
Northerner 06 Sep 06 - 05:10 PM
Sorcha 06 Sep 06 - 06:12 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Sep 06 - 11:03 PM
Genie 06 Sep 06 - 11:58 PM
GUEST,Rowan 07 Sep 06 - 12:00 AM
katlaughing 07 Sep 06 - 12:05 AM
Northerner 07 Sep 06 - 03:28 AM
leeneia 07 Sep 06 - 01:03 PM
Stewart 07 Sep 06 - 01:22 PM
wysiwyg 07 Sep 06 - 01:44 PM
foggers 07 Sep 06 - 02:07 PM
Genie 07 Sep 06 - 03:28 PM
Genie 07 Sep 06 - 03:38 PM
katlaughing 08 Sep 06 - 12:16 AM
Northerner 08 Sep 06 - 04:19 AM
leeneia 08 Sep 06 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Perry 15 Feb 12 - 09:37 AM
wysiwyg 15 Feb 12 - 07:09 PM
Genie 15 Feb 12 - 09:31 PM
GUEST 19 Sep 14 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,PeterC 19 Sep 14 - 05:39 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Sep 14 - 07:56 AM
GUEST 20 Sep 14 - 03:15 AM
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Subject: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 08:50 AM

I've been looking for opportunities to practice material (stories and some songs) on a volunteer basis to build up experience. Local voluntary agency has now got me an opportunity at a local care facility. Residents have been discharged from hospital and are convalescing before going back to their own homes. It's a short term stay facility; maximum stay is six weeks, so I can return six weeks later and am guaranteed a completely new audience, so I can repeat material or add to it.

I had initially thought that my sessions would be quite short; a local professional storyteller had advised me that a song and a story would be quite sufficient as residents' concentration times might be quite short. I was a bit surprised to find that the care facility was looking for something like an hour to an hour and a half. Fortunately I have probably got enough material now for about an hour, though I will need to run through it and check the timing, and add another song or story if necessary.

I haven't done anything as large as this before, so it's going to need some rehearsing!   Also need to check if material is totally suitable. Although I am really aiming to concentrate on my storytelling, I do have a good singing voice and I think that my songs would add variety to the programme. Many of my songs are chorus folk songs though, and I am not sure if the residents are likely to join in; I suspect they would prefer to listen. And if they would prefer other songs I am not precisely sure what to put in. I was considering adding a few well-known Scottish songs to the ones already chosen, standard Scottish songs that they might have a better chance of knowing.

Looks like there is a fair bit of work involved in doing this. But if I can put together a programme that works with old people then I have another market to sell my performing to eventually. I will be doing another singing course at college this term for a year or so, and am also going to be mentored by a leading professional storyteller shortly.

When I am happy with my programme I give the care facility a week's notice and they put up a poster in the home so that people know that I am coming and drop into the lounge to see me. Care facility has also said I am welcome to come in and see the facility before performing so I will take them up on that offer.

Does anyone have any experience of doing this kind of performing and does anyone have any advice for me?


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 08:57 AM

When I get more woke up.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Alio
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 09:40 AM

I believe Roy Clinging does a lot of this kind of work - not sure if he's got a website, but I could give you his phone number? If you want it, send a message to Alio.

Ali


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 10:08 AM

Thank you. Have sent PM. Oddly enough saw Roy performing earlier this week.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 01:43 PM

What age are these people? Primarily a geriatric care facility? Songs from their childhood, teen years, and top hits are always good. We use Just Because, Angry, Whispering, When You and I Were Young, My Blue Heaven, Marie, You Are My Sunshine, Sweet Georgia Brown, etc.

We also play Old Time, Irish, Tin Pan Alley, a bit of blues, Golden Era Country (Tex Ritter, T. Texas Tyler, Bob Wills, etc). Songs like Don't Fence Me In, I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart, Happy Trails are good out here. Don't know where you are located tho.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: dwditty
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 02:09 PM

Bingo, Sorcha. I went to visit my Mom in the last weeks of her life at a care facility. SHe and the others had been wheeled down to the community room, where they all sat saying nothing. I started to play my usual repertoire of oh so clever songs, but after being faced with blanked stares - absolutely no reaction - I changed the material. You Are My Sunshine, I've Been Working On The Railroad, Give My Regards to Broadway, Toot Toot Tootsie Good-bye - you get the drift. It did not matter that I did not really know the right chords to most of the songs...or the lyrics for that matter, since the room came alive and picked them up. Smiles, tapping feet. It remains a highlight in my performing. I take no credit....it is simply the magic of music. So, my advice is to pay attention and take them wherever they want to go. Come to think of it, no different than playing for any other audience.

dw


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 02:40 PM

I'm located in the north of England. But my parents were Scots so I love Scottish material.

Ah, as I suspected, sounds as if the songs that go so well for me in my local folk clubs will have little relevance to them. Some of the Scottish folk songs might be accepted possibly if I slant the programme so that it sounds a bit like the White Heather Club (popular tv programme here about 40 years ago but now seen as a bit hackneyed). Skye Boat Song, and similar material. I have quite a pretty voice, and if I sing songs with a chorus they may tap along or hum to them. Can't sing material that is too far removed from my folk club material though because I will want to sing the songs at the folk clubs first if possible. Alternative is to sing songs from musical theatre; I am going on a singing course at local college and the songs will probably be musical theatre (but probably in the wrong key for me).

Will my stories be any good for them? I have several traditional folk tales. Or will they be bored stiff? There is also something called reminiscence storytelling; at its simplest I encourage them to talk about themselves.

This whole thing sounds a bit problematic. I wasn't expecting to have such a long session expected of me. And it sounds as if the material that I've been working on recently may not be exactly right for them. Meaning I need to spend further time on development. Songs will be unaccompanied as I'm only learning the guitar at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 04:09 PM

Just go for the old stuff - they love a sing-along and especially the songs that everyone knows.
I look after a small group of elderly folk who fall asleep during the regular music sessions but when we sing the boring old stuff like Michael row the boat ashore or Daisy Daisy, they come alive.
If you're in Geordie land, go for Keel Row and Blaydon Races. Keep your feet still Geordie Hinny is good too!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Kaleea
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 04:16 PM

Seasonally appropriate songs, especially of their time, are good. Right now, songs of Fall & school are appreciated. I always encourage singing along. Since the 1st vs is commonly what folks remember, but not the others, I commonly sing some songs verse & chorus through twice. Less embarrassment cause they don't remember the lyrics. Sometimes on a song they particularly seem to enjoy singing, we sing La, La, La as an extra verse in between 1st verses: "I know EVERYONE remembers the words to THIS verse, La, La, La . . ."
Often, when singing for the retirement home set, I pause & ask, "How many remember ____?" Then, ask some of them to tell their memory of whatever. I've learned some of my best stories this way. Once in Oklahoma, after singing "Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home," I asked how many had picked cotton when they were young. Many of the employees, most of whom were young, were shocked that I would ask such a question, & moreso when almost every resident raised their hand! I took the mic to a couple of nearby residents & asked them to tell a memory of pickin' cotton, the aprox year or their age then, the town. This is usually quite enjoyable for all. We can learn from the "old" folks, as they lived through a great deal more than we. By the way, I knew that most folks--such my mother & all 10 of her siblings, picked cotton for the desperately needed $$ in those hard times. AND, all of the residents in the audience happened to be "white."


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 04:34 PM

Hey, there's some good ideas there!!   But would they mind if I used song sheets with words on? I can change around songs a bit provided I have words with me. And hand round copy of the words to the residents. I know that they have a maximum of 21 residents, so that's a couple of dozen sheets of words or thereabouts.

Sounds as if I have to change the type of song to a singalong style. I don't suppose the folk clubs would mind me changing my material if they get a good sing out of it...

Okay, quite a lot of work here. But I've got a good opportunity, so I'm not going to waste it.

Thank you all!!!


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 04:49 PM

No, they won't mind at all. Don't forget Gospel or other popular hynms.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 05:10 PM

Thank you Sorcha. However, I'm not religious and I also live in an area that is multicultural and multifaith. So I'm trying to present my material in a way that reaches everyone and excludes no-one. Lot of Moslems in my area, for instance. Nice idea though.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 06:12 PM

Ah yes...there is that.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 11:03 PM

There's been some quite extensive and quite useful discussion on this before. Run a thread filter on "nursing home", set to "all" for a good list.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Genie
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 11:58 PM

And this thread has links to a bunch of other threads related to music as therapy

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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 12:00 AM

Songs that I've sung to some effect in similar situations are ones that were popular anytime between 1890 and 1950. The older songs would have been sung to the older folks by their parents and grandparents, when the folks you're singing to were children. The more recent ones would have been part of the growing up of the younger folks you're singing to.

The particular songs will depend on your local traditions but, almost anywhere in Australia I can get favourable responses with "Two little girls in blue", Lavender Blue (almost anything in waltz time, in fact), stuff by G&S, etc, much of which (I suspect) would be part of the multicultural folks in your area.

Stories work best if they've some relevance to the folks themselves; sometimes the best stories are ones from your own experience. From (if not about) the heart. There's a lot of background to such activities so you'll find material in all sorts of places. Good Luck!

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 12:05 AM

This may be better for American audiences, but Louie Roy's track lists for two of his cassettes, listed in my second post in this thread, would be good choices, imo.

Also, what about show songs/tunes? WWII songs, etc.?

Good for you for doing this! Let us know how it goes, please?

kat


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 03:28 AM

Thank you all! I obviously have a fair bit of work to do. I will pay the facility a visit first to get an idea of the place, and also talk to some of the storytellers at the festival I'm going to at the end of this month.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 01:03 PM

"I was a bit surprised to find that the care facility was looking for something like an hour to an hour and a half."

That sounds too long to me. I have a friend who was activities co-ordinator for a nursing home, and she warned me before a 30-minute gig that some patients would get up and go simply because sitting for that long was painful.

Always request that someone from the staff be there. I did a gig once where a patient backed up his wheelchair suddenly and hit the hand of a woman in another wheelchair. She blazed up in anger and started shouting. I had to stop the show and ask the reception desk to find someone to deal with it all.

There was a good moment that time, as well. I sang the Berryman song "When the Whatchacallits Blossom by the Back Porch" and explained that the song shows how many words we have for when we can't think of the right word. Although these residents were supposed to be "very bad," they listened attentively, and one woman said, "I liked your song about words."

Hmmm. I believe the true name of that song is "Forget me not."


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Stewart
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 01:22 PM

I've sung and played at a local retirement home a couple of times and found it to be a very good experience. In fact, I'm going again in another week. It's hard to go wrong. Anything you do is appreciated. And nobody is bothered by or notices your mistakes, so it's a very relaxed and informal setting. Don't worry, you'll do well and they'll enjoy it.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 01:44 PM

Does anyone have any experience of doing this kind of performing and does anyone have any advice for me?

Yes, and yes.

It all boils down to one essential which is essential, which is sort of a distillation of the advice given in your previous round of questions about your desire to do story-telling. That is, just go do it. In other words, exercise the gift, and trust the gift, and trust that the gift will develop if you do this. Just go do it.

Don't overprepare to overprepare so that you can please people. Just go do it.

Let hindsight show you whether you have pleased them, and in what areas, and in what areas you need to develop. Use your time not to ask advice and follow up on advice given, nor to read all the old threads-- Just go do it.

Don't visit in order to scope it out-- visit in order to sit next to some residents and let a story emerge from you spontaneously.

Just go do it.

In friendship, and from experience,

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: foggers
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 02:07 PM

Hi there. I have worked in the field of mental health for several years, and would do music on the wards sometimes with other colleagues who were similarly inclined.

This is really about using your interpersonal skills first and foremost, and less about formal "performance". The idea of getting something participative going (for those interested and able) is a good one. A lot of work has been done about the value of reminsicence for older people, especially those with conditions affecting memory, such as Alzheimers. See here for a few intersting thoughts, which includes the use of music as trigger material.


I am not suggesting that you need to turn yourself in to a "therapist", rather that you have a unique opportunity to do something that could be valuable to the residents, and may also give you a fascinating experience too. So just go and try it out - and see what happens on the way...good luck with it.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Genie
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 03:28 PM

Here's the link that didn't make it into my last post:

Music Therapy

This thread has links to several other threads about the use of music in therapeutic settings.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Genie
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 03:38 PM

Hmmm

I see now that my first, longer, post in this thread has been eaten by the gremlins or is cavorting somewhere in Lost Post Limbo with so many other errant mates.

Basically, I related that for over 10 years I have been doing music (with occasional story telling and a smattering of very bad stand-up comedy), full-time, as entertainment and as therapy in a broad spectrum of senior communities and/or convalescent-rehabilitation facilities.    Instead of repeating in this thread what I've posted (or learned) in so many other "nursing home," "retirement home," and "music therapy" threads, I am trying to make sure there are links here to all the related threads.

The list of links at the top of this page seems to be pretty comprehensive, except it doesn't include the "therapy" threads, which do in many cases address the kinds of issues you raise, Northerner.   

I hope the links are helpful.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 12:16 AM

leeneia,

Thanks for posting about the Forget-me-not song. I'd never heard of it, so went looking for the lyrics. What a fun song!

Click Here for lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Northerner
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 04:19 AM

Thank you all. I am probably going to leave going to the care facility till some time in October as I think it would help me to have advice from some experienced storytellers, and I will see some at a festival at the end of this month.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Sep 06 - 08:27 AM

I'm glad you liked it, kat. It contains the deathless verse:

I almost can remember what she looks like
Her elbow on the gizmo of the chair
Pinning up the doodad of her dickey
And snapping the doohickey in her hair...


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: GUEST,Perry
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 09:37 AM

It always puzzles me when Activities Directors hire our instrumental/vocal trio for paying gigs but show up only briefly (if at all) or, worse yet, schedule us on one of their days off.
What am I missing???


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 07:09 PM

THEY NEED A BREAK. You ARE their break.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Genie
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 09:31 PM

That's true, Susan, but the difference between a music program done by a lone entertainer or music therapist and one done by a musician with the assistance and cooperation of activity directors and other staff (or family) is night and day!

When staff members help engage the residents' active partipation, by singing along, dancing, keeping time, etc., it does wonders for disinhibiting residents, for signaling that it's not only OK to actively participate but truly encouraged, and maybe for assisting those resident who need physical help or prompting to remember lyrics, etc., it's not unusual to find participation by the residents doubled or tripled. The care facility's monetary investment in the program is magnified several-fold/

Genie


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 03:57 AM

I have been running an entertainment group (six of us) for many years and I often joke that we are older than some of the residents now. We started running this group to help also run a Stroke Club which we have been running for twelve years. There is no charge for this entertainment , but we ask for a small donation which goes to help look after the Stroke victims.
We find it best to mix the style of songs so that there is a cheerful song and then a calmer one following etc. In this way everyone usually finds a song they really enjoy and it suits all tastes.
I tell a comical monologue which is always welcome and the audience like us to be very natural and a relaxed presentation.
At the last gig I noticed a lady singing some of the songs with us and afterwards I asked her if she had been in a choir! She was SO pleased to be noticed and be able to tell us a little of her younger days.


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 05:39 AM

The main rule for us is always to talk to the residents - ask them for their names (Usually find a suitable tune - Mary, Kathleen, Margaret, Jean - even Ken - 'Do you Ken John Peel!) Always ask them did they play a musical instrument - surprisingly many.
I find they like the stories behind the songs - 'Mhairi's Wedding', 'The Rose of Tralee' etc
And never rush off afterwards!


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 07:56 AM

Don't know where you are or what your musical interests are, but can I suggest that exercises like this can be an extremely rewarding two-way street.
Here in rural Ireland, our homes are full of elderly country-people with songs, stories, music, lore and local information that, in our experience, they are always happy to pass on.
If that is the case, don't miss out - it's well worth pursuing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs and stories at a care facility
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 03:15 AM

Teaching 11--15 olds about ministry, our weekly visits to elderly invalid centers always closed with an "alter call". The closing songs were related to the immediate message, that was delivered by a 14y.o. Instruments varied, guitar, accordion, harmonizing, violin, trumpet and sax.

Just As I Am

Shall We Gather At the River?

I've Got A Home In Glory Land

Amazing Grace

We're You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Old Rugged Cross

And Can It Be?

Jesus Saves

We've A Story to Tell to The Nations

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

I Surrender All

Sincerely.


Billy Grahm began as a door to Fuller Brush salesman.


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