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#186696 - 07/16/05 01:01 PM Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
GlennT Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 1774
Loc: Medina, OH, USA
I've pretty much nailed the senior home routine, but now want to go after the Moose, Eagles, etc. dances. Does anyone have any suggestions how to get into these?

Also, what are some of your well received songs for playing them? While the senior home crowd is mostly age 70s, 80s, and 90s, I'm assuming the animal age is more like 50's and 60s? Thanks for any suggestions.

Glenn

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#186697 - 07/16/05 02:40 PM Re: Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
girljam Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 236
Loc: FL
hi glen-
my last partner and i started out at an eagles club - she did know one member there, which helped . . . Do the clubs in your area provide live music during week? Some phone calls should help there, and perhaps a demo and/or songlist.
they wanted to see a song list, because we had no demo! To be quite honest, i think the fact that we were two blonde women, got us in the door . . . We booked several other gigs from our first gig there!

These were some of the favorites here in florida:
Almost any Patsy Cline
Early rockin beatles stuff
i.e. ticket to ride
The Letter by the box tops
I'm a believer - Monkees
Could I have this dance
Dock of the Bay
Tequila Sunrise - Eagles
Lyin Eyes - Eagles
King of the Road
50s rock
i.e. rock around the clock
any elvis was always good
Jimmy Buffet stuff
Brown Eyed Girl Van Morrison

hope these help you some - we had quite an age range of people at these clubs, 30s thru 70s, and so a wide range of music always seemed to work well for us there. It seems to me that there were a larger percentage of mid range aged people in those types of clubs here in florida, than I've seen in Ohio, but it could be different in your area!

Let me know how it goes!

Jill
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Jill

PSR S970, PSR S910, ShureSM57 mics, and way too much misc.

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#186698 - 07/16/05 05:04 PM Re: Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
GlennT Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 1774
Loc: Medina, OH, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by girljam:
the fact that we were two blonde women, got us in the door


It always does...

Not having that advantage, I'll probably need to come up with a good demo CD... that's why I'm working on a song list.

Thanks,

Glenn

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#186699 - 07/16/05 09:15 PM Re: Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
Scott Langholff Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/09/02
Posts: 3106
Loc: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Hi Glenn

Wondering how you got into the seniors home routine.

I used to do them when I was in the home organ business in our outreach program to get new organ hobbyists. I would typically perform on, would you believe, a $50,000+ home organ. Of course we played for free for the exposure. I understand that the senior places don't want to pay anything at all, or maybe $50 around here, unless there is something that I am unaware of.

I always loved playiing for the seniors, because I got to play my favorite kind of music and was always very well received. I would love to be able to break into that scene and make it work.

Any suggestions, Glenn, Beakybird, etc?

The population of the immediate vicinity here is about 600,000. You would think there would be some good spots for me, but so far I haven't really found anything that works. The music scene has been funny here since I arrived in the Florida panhandle in 1999. Also, hurricane Ivan has knocked out a bunch of spots that aren't even reopened yet with a lot of musicians scurrying around I guess. I've just started a part time job to get me through until either I get something going or just give up on the idea. It's a bit frustrating, and I am a more than a little bewildered, as I can play quite well. I just need to find the right combination. I have a couple dynamite singers lined up if needed, and I've experimented slightly vibrating my own vocal chords, but not in public. I don't want to scare the crowds away. haha

Best
Scott

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#186700 - 07/17/05 07:31 AM Re: Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
GlennT Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 1774
Loc: Medina, OH, USA
Scott/Others,

I started the senior home circut by first visiting a few places and checking out the entertainment. In most cases I learned what
entertainers charged by introducing myself, telling them why I was there, and asking questions. In every case, the responce was congenial.

I then learned the name of the activity director, the address, and phone number... then called to speak with the AD (keep calling till you make direct contact), introduced myself, and in a few days sent a brief letter similar to the following:

"Dear Kelly,

This is to follow-up on our recent conversation and further introduce myself and my music. Iíve been entertaining for over 30 years and recently started performing at senior facilities. I sing and play the new Ketron arranger keyboard that sounds like anything from a grand piano to a full band. Knowing thousands of songs allows me to perform all styles of music from the 40s, 50s and 60s (plus 70s through today), bringing seniors the enjoyment that only their music provides.

Enclosed is a listing of recent area appearences. Feel free to call any of the them for a reference or to call me for additional information and for available dates."

Of course, the second paragraph can be included only after you've played a few performances.

Keep your fees at the average going rate, or perhaps *slightly* less than average to start out, but then immediately adjust the fee as soon as you can include that second paragraph. Since starting our ~ 2 years ago, I've increased my fees twice with no problem. Tell them about the cost of gas and they immediately understand.

That "average fee" in my area (Cleveland/Akron, OH) is ~ $70-$90/hour. To the best of my knowledge, Fla is ~ $20 lower, but always check out your area.

For your first performance, your playlist should be dynamite - the best of the best - mostly upbeat songs from the 30s, through early 60s, a few country (old country), at least one polka, with the closing song something that'll stick in their mind and keep them humming the rest of the day. Have fun and good luck,

Glenn

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#186701 - 07/17/05 08:36 AM Re: Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
girljam Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 236
Loc: FL
hi glen -
thanks for posting that great info for those of us working our way towards the senior circuit! I can't even cut a demo yet, as my main computer with the cd burner went down, so i'm currently shopping for another desktop. In the meantime, i'm working on polishing up and practicing songs, and have already done some "trial runs" for family and a few neighbors - it's going good so far. . .
Keep us posted on your move to the "animal clubs" and how you are faring . . .

Jill
_________________________
Jill

PSR S970, PSR S910, ShureSM57 mics, and way too much misc.

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#186702 - 07/17/05 11:53 AM Re: Getting Into The Animal Clubs?
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2153
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
Gang-

Glenn's ideas are very solid...I'm in the other corner of Ohio. I'd say my average gig (near Dayton) pays anywhere from $75-$100. If I go much past metro Dayton, its usually $100-$125 for an hour job.

When I started out in the mid 90's doing music full time, I had an approach that worked fantastically for me. I would walk in to a facility right around lunch time. No activities are scheduled usually at that time of day. (That's right, a cold call...) I would always be dressed nicely and ask to see the AD. Upon meeting her I would give her my business card and describe to her what I do. Typically, they will say something like, "Thanks, I'll keep your card on file and get in touch with you if something comes up." (Exactly what I expect them to say...) Then I'd say, "I understand, I've heard horror stories from other activity professionals hiring musicians they didn't know and regretting it. Tell you what....if you like, why don't you round up a few residents and I'll play a few songs right now for them? Free of course...then you'll have a better idea what I do?"

...At this moment they think me either a confident professional who can actually back up what I claim to be able to do OR someone with a lot of gall who's about to make a fool of themselves. Either way, almost always...they took me up on it.

...Once I'm actually playing and singing...everything falls into place. I play 2-3 songs on whatever piano they have...bang...Then you hear the magic words "Do you have your schedule with you?" I can't count the number of new clients I got that way.

...I haven't done that in a LONG time, lol...(Wonder if I could still pull it off?)
Its risky...if it goes well...great...if you screw it up, word spreads pretty fast sometimes.

...Most of the AD's commented afterwards that they were impressed with the "on the spot," "right now," "no advance notice" ability to be able to entertain their residents. I've got about 14 long term accounts thart I started this way. So, approach letters, calls etc. all are good...but remember....most AD's get 3-5 calls just like yours every week. Demos are a plus but not everyone can produce a demo...and a bad one is worse than none at all.

..It wasn't 100%...If the AD says its not a good time, accept that...inquire when a time might be better to stop back...Don't push it.

Good luck with whatever approach you go with...


Bill in Dayton
Bill in Dayton
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Bill in Dayton

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