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#261002 - 04/04/09 01:13 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 14376
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
My last comment on this subject ...

quote: "At one facility, the priest has interrupted my performance twice to give communion right there. Then I go right into "You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog." Crazy.

If I misinterpreted that, I apologize ...
t.

[This message has been edited by tony mads usa (edited 04-04-2009).]
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#261003 - 04/04/09 01:59 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Songman55 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 892
Loc: Baltimore, MD USA
One two cha cha cha. You either like this or you don't. I personally didn't enjoy drunks in nightclubs either but when you take a job, a certain amount of "stuff" comes with it. When seniors do unpredictable things to me, I usually turn it completely around and everyone has a great laugh. I had someone grab my balls one time while I was walking through the room. We still laugh about it today. Seniors are a unique group of people and they can be a hell of a lot of fun.

Joe

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Songman55
Joe Ayala
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Joe Ayala

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#261004 - 04/04/09 02:01 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14208
Loc: NW Florida
Two things... I think a priest interrupting your performance to perform communion is no different than you interrupting his service to play a rocker!

And, I'm sorry, but although I am Christian, I would have no problem playing a Jewish hymn or song if requested...

You might also take a look at the history of the hymn Amazing Grace http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace ... For any people that have come out of slavery, it's story should resonate.

BTW, I would also recommend the movie "Amazing Grace" which chronicles the anti-slavery movement in Britain. Very touching, and very apropos these days...
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#261005 - 04/04/09 07:22 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Beakybird Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/27/01
Posts: 2227
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Diki:

And, I'm sorry, but although I am Christian, I would have no problem playing a Jewish hymn or song if requested...

I previously posted that I do play Amazing Grace when it's requested, but otherwise, being Jewish, I don't gravitate towards Church songs. I don't do them unless I know them and it's requested.

Anyway, back to the thread, I get annoyed by so many things - mostly because of a big ego, but it goes with the territory when you're a small fry in professional music. I mean Bruce Springstein can specify in his contract what brand of yogurt and what flavor is in the fridge. I'm lucky if they bring me a glass of water after I've requested one.

Beakybird

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#261006 - 04/04/09 08:49 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 43703
Quote:
Originally posted by Songman55:
One two cha cha cha. someone grabbed my balls one time while I was walking through the room. We still laugh about it today.
Joe




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#261007 - 04/04/09 09:35 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Gord Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 117
Loc: Kelowna,British Columbia,Canad...
I've been playing nursing homes for a few years. My wife is an 'Activity Director'
& she always tells me that this is the residents home and anyone coming in is a 'guest'
I always contact the AD 2-3 days before playing to confirm time, date, and fee. Just a couple of days ago, I was setting up and another musician rolled his equipment in. The AD told him he was a month early lol!Regarding getting paid, I always ask for payment the same day I play-no invoices-no delay. Ad know what you charge & know when you are coming, so it should not be a problem. Regarding activity when your playing (Cake/Juice served, people talking and so on), as my wife says, this is their home, so many things can be going on when performing-so just smile and entertain. I use a little Rolls MX 122 mixer
to mix voice and keyboard. Other than the 'line outputs' for the powered speakers, this unit has a phone level control & I use Sony earbuds to monitor my sound. I simply set the line level to make the AD happy & set the headphone level for me-so I have no sound level problems.

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#261008 - 04/05/09 03:51 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
bruno123 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 4912
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
When I first read Lucky’s post I was angry, I wanted to vent my anger. After much thought I knew that I needed to clarify what I was feeling, I needed to separate performing music from the elderly, and then express my feelings.

On this forum we get a lot of flack no matter what the subject and I feel it is part of a game and it is healthy, it one of the reasons people like to hang out. Each personality is portrayed by his post and we are left with entertainment. And we do gather much needed information here.

Now let’s separate what I feel is in good taste according to my views. There have been so many jobs that I have played over the last 40 years that I could complain about – injustice – people being rude – drunks, and the list goes on. It is all part of the job and some complaining does makes it feel a bit better.

Seniors and all that goes surrounds them fall in a special category and they are not to be treated without a great deal of compassion. We are talking about people who have lived life and are now facing an existence that takes away the dignity they once lived with. They do things that they do not understand and have feelings and responses that at times nobody understands. I hold these people and the people who take care of them in a very special place. I honor and respect them in many ways.

And this I know – The wheel turns, and one day we will all step into their position and at that time we will hope and pray for gentle treatment.

Three things:
1-I am 77 and not one of them yet. ha ha ha (Grin)
2-And I do understand Lucky’s frustration, this post is not directed towards him.
3-A N D Lucky, don’t be afraid of Amazing Grace it could turn your job into a fantastic success.

Only in IMHO, John C.

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#261009 - 04/05/09 05:25 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2202
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
I think some of you guys are being a little unfair to Larry. He's already said he DOES play Amazing Grace and other Christian based hymns when they're requested. I have no earthly clue where the perception that he's afraid to play Amazing Grace comes from.

Larry has a full schedule performing in his very competitive market. Apparently he is satisfying both the activity directors and the residents.

John-I respect your views on servicing the aged. I agree with much of what you said. I've visited with so many wonderful older folks through the years that I've been playing for them, I can't come close to recalling them all. One thing does seem to be a constant with them. They do not want to be treated like a nursing home patient who is in the last stage of their life. There's enough staff / family around to do that, lol...

Rather, they want to have fun and reminisce about their happier times-whatever/whenever they might be. We as musicians take them on a trip down memory lane. If we're good at what we do, we should be able to divert their attention for an hour back to those better days.

Yes, our audiences should be respected and honored at all times. No question about it. I personally think that if all the staff people we see when we're at these facilities did their jobs as well as we do ours, the residents would fare far better. Fact is, some of the aids, nurses and yes---Activity Directors---are lousy and disinterested in their jobs and the patients pay the freight for that. Stupid stuff happens all the time. What Larry described with the priest is off the wall. In 14 years and 380+ shows per year (about 5400 jobs in all) I've never seen what he described. If Gary or Donny or Zuki or Larry or I told that tale to most of our activity directors they'd just shake their heads.

Gord-How many performances do you do in a month? Do you simply refuse to take on any accounts that won't/can't pay you on the day of the event? We'd all like to be paid the day we play, but when you get to the point that you're doing this 30+ times a month, IMO you're bound to come across a handful of clients who's accounting system isn't set up to pay entertainers on the day of the performance. I'd estimate that at least 60% of my accounts pay within 15-30 days after the job, which in the business world is fairly quick.

You also mentioned you don't use invoices, which is also surprising. In this area, (Dayton, OH), most of my clients do require invoices.




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Bill in Dayton
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Bill in Dayton

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#261010 - 04/05/09 08:17 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Gord Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 117
Loc: Kelowna,British Columbia,Canad...
Hi Bill-I'm only out by myself to nursing homes a few times a month. I also play guitar/keyboards with a Irish group in town. http://www.ceolnaheireann.ca/
Years ago I played with a 4 piece group-for various service clubs,weddings and so on. Everyone wanted to get paid when we played, so we generally asked for cash and of course would sign a receipt if requested. Most of the nursing homes in this area simply give me a cheque-some will give cash & for those I sign a receipt. As far as they are concerned, a cancelled cheque is their receipt. I have no objection with sending an invoice -it's just that I've never had to do it.

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#261011 - 04/05/09 09:23 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
I think one or two of you have misinterpreted this posting, so I will say it in a different way.

When I first started playing nursing homes 15 years ago, I was green and raw, as in play the job, collect your check, and on to the next gig. Over the years, I began to understand the real meaning of what I was doing. Then someone said to me that “every song I play” brings back a memory to someone. I took a closer look at the people as I was playing for them. Sure enough I could see a smile on some of their faces, sometimes vague sometimes larger than life. These were the semi-conscious…the alert ones made it obvious. Nowadays I go into a home and make a game of trying to connect with as many as I can on a “one-to-one,” even though I’m playing for a large audience.

A tip here for anyone who could use it. I never play a song that at least 90% of the listeners don’t recognize...there’s plenty of them to do in one hour. And I NEVER, NEVER play a song simply because I like it, or to throw something different into the mix.

That said: the reason for the posting was NOT to complain about playing for elderly people. If you’ve just read the above, then I’m sure you’ll understand my point: I work extremely hard for that one hour…I don’t just “throw out songs!” I put them into a “mood” and don’t let go until I’m done.

That’s what I do with a bit of luck. Without “a bit of luck,” I get the staff who start talking loud while I’m playing something mellow, and those staff who live in their own world and see nothing outside of their nails need to be done, etc. In short, these are “distractions” to the people no matter what form they come in (including Holy Communion during your performance). Ever try listening to Classical music with those kinds of “distractions.” Not very enjoyable!

Many of these folks have nothing to do all day. If you can give them one solid hour of good music to get their minds off the boredom, then you’ve done your good deed for the day!

Anyhow, the thread went off already. I’m curious about what some of you experience as your own “frustrations” in playing Senior houses. Nothing more than that if you don’t mind. Particularly no “Once you begin to lose sensitivity to the seniors and the job becomes the important issue it may be time for you to find other places to bring your talent” messages.

Many of you here, I believe are doing what I’m doing. I’d like to hear from you. I’d like to get a exchange of ideas going for all of us to benefit.

Lucky

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