For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities...

Posted by: Bill in Dayton

For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 04:52 PM

I had a very interesting conversation this week with a long term client. She voiced concerns about two other acts' shows and asked my advice...

#1) She and other staff members were watching a duo perform recently when they both noticed he was lip-syncing to a CD of his. This isn't what he was hired to do and she had no knowledge of this before hand. He's been there a fairly long time. His basic act is that he works the room while he sings over CD's...

#2) Another act is well liked but always plays the same tunes, in the same order every show. The foodservice staff at this venue jokes that if so & so are here, that means such and such will be the 1st song...

AD was curious if these were grounds for dismissal...

I told her in my opinion she needed to talk to both entertainers. In the case of the lipsyncing, ask them straight out if they have ever lip synced in her facility. If they say no, I suggested letting them go because people are already aware of it.

If they say yes, then come to some agreement on the issue. No lipsyncing is ok, some is ok, whatever..

As far as the other act always playing the same songs, tell them they can't play a place every month and not change their content, especially if they wish to continue playing there.

Both underscore some of the disrespect some musicians have for these type gigs. I wouldn't dream of trying to fool people with lipsyncing, and most of you on this forum wouldn't either.

As far as keeping our set lists fresh, its a thing we all should watch. We all get a number of requests and we should play those, but vary the other songs monthly. For example, I have a standing request for "I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do" at a nursing home. In the last 3 months, I've done it as a ballad, a gentle swing and this month as a latin...



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Bill in Dayton
Posted by: travlin'easy

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 05:45 PM

Bill,

Variety is the "Spice Of Life", even in the nursing homes, retirement communities, etc.. The same holds true in the nightclub circuit. Play the same stuff, week after week, month after month, and even clients with their gray matter somewhat scrambled will be bored to tears.

I created several Music Finder Directories for the PSR-3000 for the NH circuit. And, these are edited frequently using Michael Bedesem's Music Finder View program, which allows the insertion of new songs and the deletion of ones you no longer use. Granted, there are a few that are old standbys that keeps these places rocking, but throwing in some 60s, 70s and even 80s stuff add a lot to the performance.

As for the lip-synch guy, he wouldn't last five minutes in this part of the world. The ADs would send him packin' for some bar room gig in Billy Bob land.

Cheers,

Gary

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Travlin' Easy
Posted by: Beakybird

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 06:37 PM

Maybe Milli Vanilli is doing NH gigs now.
Posted by: GlennT

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 09:16 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
Play the same stuff, week after week, month after month, and even clients with their gray matter somewhat scrambled will be bored to tears


I would be bored to death playing the same songs all the time. Don't know why so many entertainers do just that... I suppose it's easier not to learn new songs, but it soon gets to be a boring job. With 100s if not 1000s of good songs, your cheating yourself as well as your clients.

I agree, she needs to communicate with her entertainers. The lipsyncing is BS. Nobody deserves that.

Glenn
Posted by: Lucky2Bhere

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 10:24 PM

Isn't the bottom line, when entertaining a senior residence NOT what YOU are doing but how is the audience RESPONDING to what you are doing? If you're lip-syncing, or you're playing the same songs all the time, or you're letting MIDI files wander mindlessly all over the room while you read the sports page, or doing bench presses with your keyboard, etc, does it really matter as long as the audience is being well entertained? Isn't the primary mission of an entertainer to please the audience and second to entertain everyone that's left (including all AD's)?

Yes, I'm playing Devil's advocate! In reality, I have no respect for the entertainers Bill described here. But I also have to go with....if the residents are happy with what they're hearing then THAT is what matters in theory.

I throw this out as fodder for remarks from other members about how they see our role as musician/entertainers? Do you please the Activity Director, do you please the onlookers, do you please yourself, do you please your peers, do you please your Higher Power...or...as in this case...do you please your audience?

Lucky
Posted by: Gord

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 10:42 PM

I can't imagine lip syncing or playing from the same tune list Ugh! I always make up a fairly long tune list for a NH,(perhaps at least 15-20 more tunes than I need) take requests-record what I played with my Zoom H4 (so I can check what I actually played on that date)& make sure that when I return to that facility - most of the tunes are different.
Posted by: Gord

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/15/08 11:00 PM

Hi Lucky
-My wife has been an AD for 20 some years, and still is-she says -always play for the residents-they will tell the AD how they enjoyed the performance. The performance is always rated via feedback from residents/family
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 04:21 AM

Lucky-

Activity Director is to bar / club owner as residents are to bar/club customers.

Sometimes the AD doesn't care for the act themselves, but if the residents really like them, then they're kept on.

Generally, the residents come first. I told the AD that her loyalties are to her residents and her employer, not the entertainer. If she's not willing to step up and be an advocate for her residents, then who will?

Addressing the specific question of "If the residents are happy, isn't that the bottom line?"

Yes and no...

When an entertainer is hired to provide a specific service, the issue of whether its live or a recording is strongly implied, to say the least, during the initial sales call/approach/etc. If the client is paying for what they think is live entertainment, then they get a lipsyncer, its fraud, IMO. What's to suggest that the voice they hear coming out of the PA is even the guy with the mic in the room? Maybe he's just a pretty face?

It has do with respect for your client, audience and IMO, yourself. Now, I have no issues with a act who are up front, hey this is what we do...Caveat emptor, baby. But, if this isn't communicated up front...and the ages, alertness and memory challenges of this population are being exploited, then its beyond belief unprofessional.

Its my biggest gripe about this type of entertaiment. I hear stories after stories about entertainers who aren't what they allege they are. This same AD told me of a guy (who I know and have used as a sideman on occassion,) who sent in this marvelous demo. Well, she hires him for 3 jobs based on that and discovers his live act doesn't come close to what she heard on the demo. He has one more chance to make a good impression. He hasn't asked for feedback and has mostly ignored her suggestions.

I think AD's should set a higher standard for entertainers. There's usually at least one activites staff person in the room during the gig. Have them track the requests or the number of times the entertainer actually interacts with the audience. There's no damn good reason why guys like us can't learn a standard request in time for our next time there. NONE...We can turn a new tune around much faster than a band can, for example.

This is not rocket science, right?






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Bill in Dayton

[This message has been edited by Bill in Dayton (edited 08-16-2008).]
Posted by: mikeathome1

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 08:27 AM

Sometimes the residents/patrons don't care about musical ability they just want to be entertained.
I believe it is the age old argument about musician or entertainer.
I wouldn't hire or go see the lip "syncer"(?) but maybe the residents enjoy the way he works the room, or banter between songs, or his smiling face.

Maybe he wasn't hired to specifically sing live but to entertain. You could go further midi vs live player, arranger vs live band. I mean its not opera at the Met.

We, as musicians want to chastise anyone that doesn't live up to our standards or our skill level. (Why would they hire them instead of me?) But the truth is there will always be jugglers, mimes, storytellers, comedians, karaoke and people that enjoy them.

As far as the other act always playing the same songs, tell them we're bored if you can't change things up we're gonna go with someone that can.
Of course really, if they don't have a contract they need no explanation at all to either act. Skip them and see if the residents miss them.
IMHO

[This message has been edited by mikeathome1 (edited 08-16-2008).]
Posted by: travlin'easy

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 08:44 AM

I don't know about what takes place in other regions of the nation, but here in the Mid-Atlantic Region must of the nursing homes, assisted living centers and retirement communities have "Resident's Councils." They usually meet one a month and make recommendations to management about what they like and don't like. If they don't like what you're doing you're history.

The other thing that takes place is an annual meeting of ADs, which is usually a regional thing. One of the topics that frequently comes up pertains to the entertainment skills of those of us who work the NH circuit. They exchange information about entertainers, which frequently leads to jobs at new locations.

From my point of view, I am entertaining the residents/patients first and foremost. They're paying the bills. If an AD or someone from the attending staff want to hear a particular song, I'll usually play it, but only if the song is appropriate for the residents too. In almost all instances, the song requested is something everyone will enjoy. If not, I usually tell the person requesting the song that I would love to play the song, but I can't remember all the chords or lyrics.

Cheers,

Gary

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Travlin' Easy
Posted by: Fran Carango

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 12:03 PM

Bill, I think it is dangerous territory to offer up opinions to those in charge of hiring and firing other "entertainers"..

What goes around..comes around...

I don't know why that fella lip synced..but he may have had a justified reason...

I have seen first hand (my own band)..where at the end of the night ..my lead male vocalists lost his voice..and the audience expected to hear his signature tunes...At my suggestion..he lip synced to a previous recording [his voice over}...Not a person in the room knew..I even polled people I knew..after the show...

The key word is "entertainer"...and the show must go on!!!

The most important part of entertaining at nursing homes..is not how great you perform...or pleasing the AD..or pleasing other "fellow" performers...Your job is to "entertain" the residents..take them away from the daily grind..to a happy place ..if only for an hour..
This can include quality music, but without sincere interaction with your audience..it is empty..

The residents want to feel good..They want the interaction with a friendly face (even a pretty face.. )..They want you to recall them by name..and know you to be a friend..they want you to be a genuine person first....more than a great player...

BTW: be sure to be up front with the AD..that you aren't really playing all those great parts coming out of the arranger...or that great SMF..that made you sound like a "super star"...

I think you get my meaning..

Stay out of the politics....don't get caught up with knocking down other "entertainers"...there will always be someone else..better than us....I hope they keep quiet..
Posted by: mikeathome1

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 12:19 PM

Amen to Fran! Couldn't agree more.
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 12:32 PM

Mike- I have no issues at all with a variety of different entertainers. What I do have an issue with is when someone is hired to something, then fakes it apparently with out any knowledge or approval from the actual client. It's a pretty ballsy thing to pull, IMO...My loyalty in that situation is to my client who has asked me my advice, not a musician who I really don't know anything about. YES, there may be circumstances that have made it a reasonable thing to do, which I again suggested she talk to them before deciding anything.

Gary-Yes, many places around Dayton/CBus/Cincy have Resident Councils. Your description of them is dead on. Likewise, there are several meetings a year of AD's who share entertainment contacts.

Fran-I had no knowledge of these issues with those entertainers, none at all...Until she asked to talk with me about it. I guess I disagree with your characterization that "I offered it up." In this case, the specific AD had mentioned letting them go if it turned out they were faking it and denied it. I supported her in that feeling. I also suggested to her that before she did anything that she sit down and talk with them about it. I agree 1000% about your description of what the residents are looking for.

I've suggested several "acts" to various facilities and usually they're very satisfied and continue to use them on a regular basis.

Lastly, I was worried when I got my 1st arranger that everyone would think I was riding sequenced songs and not really playing any more. So, I "showed" my new keyboard to most of my clients...Gave them a quickie demo on how it worked and that it requires that I actually play. Everyone seems to appreciate that and there's plenty of references toward me being one of the "real musicians" that come in. Certainly not the best, but I do play every song.

My point here guys wasn't to go after anyone gratuitously, but the client herself felt cheated, to use her words. As an entertainer, she wanted my take on whether she had a right to feel that way or did most entertainers do this.

Maybe its the market I'm in, but their have been some absolute ass-clowns working around here the last several years. One guy has been dropped by several NH's because he gets too friendly with the residents and some staff...Another hurled racist comments at a minority staff member during an Elvis show...another cussed at a noisy resident...

These guys need to be put out of business. This really doesn't effect me in terms of gigs so much, but AD's have tough jobs without entertainers coming in and being inappropriate to the residents.

They should get our best efforts, right?

There are several guys who do an absolute terrific job and they're getting more and more work. I'm really happy for that...

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Bill in Dayton

[This message has been edited by Bill in Dayton (edited 08-16-2008).]
Posted by: mikeathome1

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 01:18 PM

I agree with all your points but when you say client do you mean the residents. Correct me if I'm wrong but it wasn't the residents complaining was it?
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 01:40 PM

The day I lip sync (or 'play-sync') over a recording will be the day I cease to call myself a musician..

Period.

For shame, gentlemen, for shame...
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 01:47 PM

Mike-

No, when I say "client" I'm referring to the actual employees of the company that hires me. I consider the residents, my audience. The residents were likely unaware of the lipsyncing issue at all.

I'd say you need to cater to both, and can usually do so without any conflict of interest.

Playing devils advocate, it'll be a tough call for the one AD because this act is pretty well liked by the residents. However, they aren't used that much because there are other acts who are more favored by the residents...per a resident council as Gary mention...so they get some leftovers...

I really think a conversation will fix everything, unless the entertainer flat out lies about it. Just because the residents may really love what a performer does, doesn't give them license to take shortcuts or deceive the audience.

Given the mental state of so many of these residents, the AD is also charged with being their advocate, I think.

I wish I could somehow get about five or six of us nursing home guys and put together a national tour, lol... Go around the country and just blow the doors off of some of these places.

It won't happen, but wouldn't it be kinda fun?



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Bill in Dayton
Posted by: Dnj

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 03:57 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Diki:
The day I lip sync (or 'play-sync') over a recording will be the day I cease to call myself a musician..

Period.

For shame, gentlemen, for shame...


just go to disneyworld and watch a show li[sync is done all the time & the crowds love it.
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 04:23 PM

But are those people 'musicians', or are they 'actors'?

Or, are they, as I suspect, merely cheap hired labor, because they can't afford talented people who can actually play the parts....

What do you want to be? The real thing, or the pathetic scab who merely apes and imitates the real thing?

Do you want to play the guitar, or do you want to play 'Guitar Hero'? Do you want wealth, or do you want 'bling'? Is the shallow surface enough, or do you actually want any substance to your entertainment? Do you want to be replaced by a dummy in a chicken hat, or do you want to BE the dummy in the chicken hat?

For shame, gentlemen, for shame...
Posted by: Lucky2Bhere

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/16/08 11:56 PM

"What do you want to be? The real thing, or the pathetic scab who merely apes and imitates the real thing?"

Diki....I think for a lot of us, it's not about what we want to be anymore. That was a luxury we could indulge in a few years back. Now it's more about how do we keep working and staying ahead of the massive amount of competition these days? Not to mention paying the bills and maybe having a beer once in a while!

Lucky
Posted by: Bernie9

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 03:18 AM

It is true we have to adapt to today's ideas of making music, to a certain degree, like using midi tracks to sing and play over (hopefully,sparingly). On the otherhand, if it becomes necessary to lipsync, I would find a new field. To sell your soul is going too far.
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 05:09 AM

Thank you, Bernie. Someone gets it...

There are plenty of minimum wage jobs I can happily do before I will actually lip-synch or play-synch for money.

Fortunately, somehow still they appear to be willing to pay to hear me actually PLAY, maybe I'll just have to leave it to someone younger, taller, and better looking to actually "play-synch' to MY playing, and just stay home and collect the royalties...

I suppose, all kidding aside, that it boils down to, as an entertainer, if you don't have EXACTLY what they ask for, is it better to lip-synch exactly what they want, or do you consider yourself a good enough entertainer or musician that, if you don't give them exactly what they ask for, what you DO give them will keep them happy and entertained...?

I'm sorry, but I feel that lip-synching is the last refuge of those that cannot entertain on their own merit. Someone asks me for a tune, and I don't know it, I guarantee I can play something else they WILL enjoy.... Or, God forbid, maybe I can't play anything they want. If the large majority of my audience is happy with what I do do (doo-doo! Get it?! ) why am I going to beat myself up about just one unhappy camper?

Definitely not enough to make me consider karaoke as an alternative Whatever happened to pride and self-esteem? Or is it just the check? I dunno.... but I hope that, although any of us could defend lip-synching out of, well, perhaps fairness or whatever , I can only hope that none of us actually WOULD go out and do one of those Disney pre-canned shows, with no input of our own at all...

Seriously, would any of us play a lip-synch show if offered it?

I sincerely hope not... [img]http://www.synthzone.com/ubbs/smile.gif[/img]
Posted by: cgiles

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 05:54 AM

I think Diki's right about the Disney/acting thing. I think what the public will rebel against is lip-synching with the intent to deceive. Have we forgotten Milli-Vanilli; or how about the latest flap at the Beijing Olympics? Imagine having someone lip-synch for you 'cause you weren't 'good-looking' enough (I'd start worrying if I were you, Fran ).

chas
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 06:18 AM

Interesting discussion, gang...

I want to remind everyone that this act isn't known for their "lip syncing" and it certainly doesn't promote itself that way. There was no communication with the official client at this venue that it would happen.

They were hired to perform "live".

Their "act" is a husband/wife duo who both sing over background tracks. She also runs sound and fires the tracks while he moves about the room working the crowd...

The client is feeling a bit deceived...



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Bill in Dayton
Posted by: Lucky2Bhere

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 10:58 AM

I'm real curious about how you would answer this question? Don't be spontaneous with your answer, but really think about it. Imagine this in your mind until it seems real. Here goes:

Would you "lip-synch" as an entertainer in a Senior Care facility if you found yourself in a situation with no income and no savings and a wife and children to feed and someone said to you...."you could make money as a "lip-syncher" in a SCF doing a one hour show or you could make your money working in the salt mines for eight hours every day?"

What would be YOUR answer? ......and be REAL!

Lucky
Posted by: Dnj

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 11:34 AM

Since the mid 70's the computer age has crept in and has ruined the Real Live Music scene in so many ways...be it lip sync, or just the fact that even most live bands uses so much extra fluff in the way of EFX on all their sound is a form of deceiving the audience versus a true acoustical act which is hard to find any more .....the more electronic enhancement gear that is produced the more the level of musical performance deceit will show its face time & time again!! bet on it my friends it will get worse!
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 02:54 PM

It's quite simple, folks...

If you think that lip-synching is acceptable in a 'live' performance situation, go for it! But be prepared to make the most of what will inevitably be a VERY small window of profitability...

As soon as this becomes widely acceptable (which, thank God! is NOT the case, yet), you are no longer competing for your little jobs with other entertainers and singers in the area. You are competing with everybody and their uncle who can entertain a crowd, and lip-synch. Now, you might be saying to yourselves 'well, I'm a good entertainer, why should I worry?'...

Because, I guarantee, there are a hundred guys out there for every NH gig that could do at least as good a job as you, if only they didn't have to play or sing! And THEY all got mouths to feed and a powerful thirst, too Do you REALLY want to have all that extra competition for the gig? Way I hear it, it's hard enough to get the gig right now, and you are only competing against other musicians..!

Do you REALLY have any idea of how hard it will become when ANYONE with even a modicum of good looks (which are not necessarily any longer our strong points!) and a personality can come into YOUR gig, lip-synch the whole show, and everyone is perfectly OK with that?

No, gentlemen, your only chance of survival is to hound these scabs unto your last breath, and make everyone involved as aware as possible just how dishonest and cheap these performers (I use that term derogatorily!) really are. They are coming for YOUR gig, if you let them.

Don't let them... It's up to you, but think this one through, and you realize just how bad things could become if there is NO skill needed at all to get the gig. Sure, entertaining is a skill, also, but I assure you, there are FAR more entertainers out there that cannot sing or play well, who will be MORE than happy to take your gig if you let them
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 02:59 PM

Diki-

I totally get where your coming from. I too, have strong feelings about the disrespect some entertainers show their audiences and clients.

On one hand, the Activity Director MUST be an advocate for their residents. However, if an act is well received by the residents, and the AD refuses to bring them back-they're going to have to explain why. Usually to a bean-counter at Corporate who wants to know why we're not providing the entertainment for the residents they want.
____________________________________
Corporate: Why aren't you using Joebob...your people love him...

AD: He's faking it...I want someone who can really honestly perform...

Corporate: Did you people complain?

AD: No

Corporate: Well, then...hire the guy...we're here to make these residents happy, not you or I or the local music critic, ok?
_______________________________

It happens all the time-but from experience, many AD's just don't want the hassle.

It's a slippery slope in the nursing homes...

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Bill in Dayton



[This message has been edited by Bill in Dayton (edited 08-17-2008).]
Posted by: travlin'easy

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 08:35 PM

This is really an interesting thread, and I agree with much of what Diki has said. Ironically, during the past few weeks I was put into a position that put a somewhat different slant on this. A good friend and fellow musician/entertainer just underwent some serious heart surgery. He damned near died. Because of this his physical condition is such that he cannot lift anything heavier than five pounds for the next few months. He asked a friend, who is a Karaoke Jock, to cover for him at an Italian Restaurant while he recooperates. Just a week later the KJ suffered a severe attack of shingles, which is a very painful malady. The restaurant manager called me and said "The karaoke guy was OK, but these people want live music. Can you fill in for a couple months?" I was able to do three of four weeks per month for them, and the first night on the job I kept the dancefloor packed. (They have a special area for both dining and dancing.)

At the end of the night the owner came to me and asked if I would be available on a regular basis. I said I would be as long as my friend was unable to perform. However, upon his recovery I would relinquish the job to him. He called the next evening, asked how things went, and when I told him that everything went well he said "Well, you just might have this gig as long as you want it--I'm slowin' down."

The patrons DEFINITELY wanted live music--not KJ or DJ. I'm fairly confident they would have not been happy with someone that lip-synced either. I must confess, though, I used three MIDI files during the two-hour performance. I played over them, which I guess is OK, but the rest of the performance was straight from the PSR-3000 and my live vocals.

I sure wish I was young and good-looking again. Then I could really haul down some heavy paychecks.

Cheers,

Gary

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Travlin' Easy
Posted by: Uncle Dave

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 09:07 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Bill in Dayton:
I was worried when I got my 1st arranger that everyone would think I was riding sequenced songs and not really playing any more


OMG! I'm so tired of anyone equating sequences with FAKING! (This is not directed at you, Bill) Arranger player/users seem to be anti sequence player/users - WHAT GIVES?

I play till my hands hurt, and I use sequences, live trax, NO trax, and arranger patterns. I VERY often turn on just the drum part and play my own bass lines.

I'm so sick of the notion that "how many" notes you play is some kind of judgment of your abilities...or how many chord substitutions you know, or how many tunes you know, what you read, blah, blah, blah ...

Sorry for the rant, but I get very emotional when people trash others for doing "less" when we all take advantages of the technology AS IT SUITS US.

That last phrase is the meaning for my craziness. We need to be more aware of teh individuality of each other. Do we fault an organist who plays bass pedals, or a guitarist with a midi guitar? How about a drummer that listens to a click track?
I'll get off the soap box now, and sit quietly, but please remember ONE THING ...

We ALL use technology. It provides us with tools to do our jobs better. We can be more productive and more creative if we utilize everything in our arsenal. Please don;t be petty about how others use the same technology. Arrangers are sequencers, in some fashion, and most of us that own these kb's are STILL keyboard players. It doesn't matter if you started on accordian, organ or piano - we still need more than just two hands and two feet to make it in today's advanced world of music technology.

Play from your heart, sing from your soul, and share your talents with humility - you'll please more people than you don't...and that's the definition of success.
Posted by: Songman55

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 09:49 PM

Guys, it all boils down to how well you fit the particular situation. For most of the gigs that we (The synthzoners)do, it all boils down to how well we entertain the crowd we are presented with. In certain situations, some of us are drawing our own crowds, but in the others what counts is how well we are entertaining the people. No one is counting the number of notes you play, or measuring how high a key you are singing in, the common factor is how well they are entertained. We can debate here until the cows come out, and, in a way, that is the purpose of this forum, but, for those of us who make a living at this, the bottom line is how well our audience is entertained. One two, cha cha cha.

Joe

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Songman55
Joe Ayala
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 10:00 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Dave:
OMG! I'm so tired of anyone equating sequences with FAKING! (This is not directed at you, Bill) Arranger player/users seem to be anti sequence player/users - WHAT GIVES?

I play till my hands hurt, and I use sequences, live trax, NO trax, and arranger patterns. I VERY often turn on just the drum part and play my own bass lines.

I'm so sick of the notion that "how many" notes you play is some kind of judgment of your abilities...or how many chord substitutions you know, or how many tunes you know, what you read, blah, blah, blah ...

Sorry for the rant, but I get very emotional when people trash others for doing "less" when we all take advantages of the technology AS IT SUITS US.

That last phrase is the meaning for my craziness. We need to be more aware of teh individuality of each other. Do we fault an organist who plays bass pedals, or a guitarist with a midi guitar? How about a drummer that listens to a click track?
I'll get off the soap box now, and sit quietly, but please remember ONE THING ...

We ALL use technology. It provides us with tools to do our jobs better. We can be more productive and more creative if we utilize everything in our arsenal. Please don;t be petty about how others use the same technology. Arrangers are sequencers, in some fashion, and most of us that own these kb's are STILL keyboard players. It doesn't matter if you started on accordian, organ or piano - we still need more than just two hands and two feet to make it in today's advanced world of music technology.

Play from your heart, sing from your soul, and share your talents with humility - you'll please more people than you don't...and that's the definition of success.


Yes, but this thread is mostly aimed at, and about 'entertainers' (I have a far less polite word for them) who don't actually play or sing anything at all...!

Sure, we use sequencers, arrangers, drum machines, you name it... But at the end of the day, I am sure most of us are using those tools to accompany our own playing and singing. How much or little of that you actually do is up to each and every one of us, but the thought of the technology ALONE, with no input from us at all, being passed off as 'entertainment' is just downright dishonest. I'm sorry, but I don't have a sympathetic bone in my body for these scabs

If I want to get 'entertained' by technology alone, I can turn my friggin' TV on, or fire up an iPod And it won't cost me a penny... I will NEVER, in my entire life, pay good money to see ANYONE lip-synch or play-synch.

This is because I know that, somewhere down the street, there will be a good LIVE musician playing, and they will be working at a club that has a remnant of taste and dignity, and they will be listened to by whatever dwindling section of society still cares whether the guy on stage is a fake or not. I can only hope I would bump into most of you in there, and that you are not still watching the idiot with no playing or singing ability dance around and PRETEND that they have...

[This message has been edited by Diki (edited 08-17-2008).]
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 10:04 PM

Uncle Dave-

I don't mean to put down, indirectly any sequence users, but what do you think of the guy who buys 3rd party sequences, loads them and fires them from a keyboard he rarely plays...and passes himself off as a keyboard player?




------------------
Bill in Dayton
Posted by: Dnj

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 10:05 PM

Go to South East Asia and tell that dribble to all the thousands of Karaoke singers its beloved by all there. Its entertainment plain & simple.
http://www.helium.com/items/531933-why-is-karaoke-so-popular

[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 08-17-2008).]
Posted by: Lucky2Bhere

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 11:40 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Songman55:
Guys, it all boils down to how well you fit the particular situation. For most of the gigs that we (The synthzoners)do, it all boils down to how well we entertain the crowd we are presented with. In certain situations, some of us are drawing our own crowds, but in the others what counts is how well we are entertaining the people. No one is counting the number of notes you play, or measuring how high a key you are singing in, the common factor is how well they are entertained. We can debate here until the cows come out, and, in a way, that is the purpose of this forum, but, for those of us who make a living at this, the bottom line is how well our audience is entertained. One two, cha cha cha.

Joe



Joe....good post! Short and sweet, direct, to the point, and.....right on the money ("the bottom line is how well our audience is entertained").

My motto used to be "give them good music and plenty of it" as Mama Leone in her restaurant in NY used to say about her food. Now I find, with certain senior groups, I'm starting to give them more patter, more humor, more stories about songs and experiences that trigger their memories, more physical movement, old time dance demonstrations (Charleston, Black Bottom, Ballin' the Jack, etc), and whatever else comes into mind at the moment.

I'll quote you again: "the bottom line is how well our audience is entertained!"

Lucky
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/17/08 11:46 PM

Doh!

Don't karaoke singers actually SING? And don't they JUST sing, and not pretend to play as well?

Karaoke singers are the essence of honesty (making absolutely no effort whatsoever to hide the fact that they are merely singing over a track) by comparison to the scab who lip synchs and play-synchs, but tries to fool the audience that it IS him playing...

Karaoke is an audience participation fun thing in the far east. Only we greedy Westerners pervert it into something dishonest and dirty, in an effort to grab the Almighty Dollar.

Don't think lip synching is a bad thing..? OK, go ahead and lip synch your next show. Save your voice, turn down the arranger. Just pretend to play... You know, with luck, they MIGHT not even notice. But stand up in the middle of the show, and to a packed house, go "OK, guys. I confess. I am merely lip synching to everything I did tonight. I didn't actually play a damn thing, and that wasn't me you heard singing or playing. Who wants their money back?"

Don't expect to make much, that night! And do it somewhere where you don't really ever want to play again
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/18/08 09:49 AM

As most of you know, I have a real problem with using arrangers at all. I don't use them if there's any alternative, but use them when that's the best way to get the job done.

That being said, my attitude is, everyone should do what they're comfortable with. I won't use a laptop, MP3's or sequences of any kind. but that's my thing. It's right for me, but "splitting hairs", since I do use the arranger for about 25% of my work, so I have no right to take a "purist" attitude.

In a perfect world, I'd play B-3 and Rhodes with a drummer and as many other players as I could justify (read afford).

In my world, I walk out when I see a laptop, sequences or lip-synching. That's where I draw the line. But again, that's just me and in no way an indication that it's the attitude everyone should have.


Russ

(P.S.) I'd stay to hear ANY and ALL of my friends here...laptop...MP3's...whatever. And I'd enjoy the visit).



[This message has been edited by captain Russ (edited 08-18-2008).]
Posted by: Uncle Dave

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/18/08 11:36 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Bill in Dayton:
Uncle Dave-
what do you think of the guy who buys 3rd party sequences, loads them and fires them from a keyboard he rarely plays...and passes himself off as a keyboard player?


Hi Bill,
I used to front a band in the 70s - never played much, but I sang my butt off. Today, if a singer wants to have that same energy behind his vocals, sequencing is a viable alternative. Personal, created, purchased - it matters not HOW the sequence is obtained, just how it is used.

I am not a fan of faking anything, but as a singer who accompanies himself in many ways - I like the options of using anything that can help me "sell" a number. Do I fake the kb? Nope - I sometimes play simple lines to trigger harmonies or fatten up a part with a nice string pad while a sequence provides the rest, but my hands, my HEART, my mind and my experience are always hard at work at every job.

Lip Syncing is something I will never do, but I refuse to relate it to any form of automated kb/drum sequences. These two elements are mutually exclusive to me.

Remember this one important item - senior centers, nursing homes etc present a different set of challenges to a performer. As life wears out the body, and taxes the memory ... sometimes it's nice just to see a smiling face come to your dining room for an hour and brighten your day. If they can bring some sunshine and happiness with them, then that's good too! I know performers who tell stories to the residents, bring pets, draw pictures, sit and hold hands with them - whatever you do to reach a "seasoned" soul will come back to you tenfold.

Let's keep our eyes on the prize...we'll be the ones in these homes one day, and I hope I get to see some performances that make me smile when that day comes.
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/18/08 01:44 PM

UD, I MIGHT break my "no nursing home home" rule for you (you are older than me, aren't you?), but I AIN'T HOLDING YOUR HAND!


Russ
Posted by: Uncle Dave

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/18/08 11:05 PM

Russ, am i older than YOU????? As Al Borland might say .... "I don't THINK so..."
You'd love to have me in the audience - I'd be the only one who recognizes your song selection!

Russ lay - None of the hits, ALL of the time!"

Get your tired, jazzass out to Philly b4 school starts up again!
Posted by: travlin'easy

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/19/08 08:27 AM

I'm older than both of you and I AM NOT going to hold your hands!

Gary

------------------
Travlin' Easy
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/19/08 09:19 AM

OK, that's IT, Boyd! Any more of that "Old Man" crap and I'm keeping your prospective "Kentucky Filly" for myself. She's easy to find in a croud...just follow the swarm of bugs...


Be well, friend!I'll keep a bottle of Raid around for your next visit. Make it around the 5th of the month. That's when your new "Honey" get's her welfare check.


"Orkin Man" Russ
Posted by: Uncle Dave

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/19/08 01:44 PM

You crack me up .........
Posted by: Fran Carango

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/19/08 04:40 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
I'm older than both of you and I AM NOT going to hold your hands!

Gary




Gary..are you sure..you are older than Russ?...
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/19/08 05:24 PM

Fran, I'll be 63 next month. But, I'm like a 2006 Cadillac with 475,000 miles!


R.
Posted by: travlin'easy

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/19/08 08:58 PM

I'll be 68 this October, so I guess I'm a charter member of the Over The Hill Gang.

Cheers,

Gary

------------------
Travlin' Easy
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 01:29 AM

"You make me feel so young,
You make me feel like Spring has sprung...
------------
You make me feel so young
You make me feel there are songs to be sung
Bells to be rung, and a wonderful fling to be flung

And even when I'm old and gray
I'm gonna feel the way I do today
cause you make me feel so young"

Thanks, guys Just when I was thinking that being over 50 was getting on!
Posted by: cgiles

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 05:26 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Diki:

Thanks, guys Just when I was thinking that being over 50 was getting on!


It could be. Depends on where the 'end point' is.

chas
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 12:27 PM

Great tune, Diki! How does a "wet behind the ears" kid like you know a song like that?


R.
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 01:15 PM

Learned about Sinatra in History class, mate
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 01:21 PM

Diki, you young "smart-ass"!


Russ "creak...groan...cough" Lay
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 02:19 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by captain Russ:
Diki, you young "smart-ass"!


Guilty as charged, Your Honor...

I plead INSANITY
Posted by: cgiles

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/20/08 02:22 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Diki:

I plead INSANITY


Plea accepted.


chas
Posted by: captain Russ

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 08/21/08 09:02 AM

See, this silliness is a big part of the FUN on Synthzone.

You guys are GREAT!

Really glad you're around. Dave, you can keep the poor girl's welfare check. She's gonna be getting Social Security soon, and I've got "dibs" on that! And, Diki, when you're old enough to drink, I'm buying the first one!

Be well, all,


Russ "love those welfare mommas" Lay

[This message has been edited by captain Russ (edited 08-21-2008).]
Posted by: Dnj

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 01:53 PM

BBBB its called being an "Entertainer"....no one wants to look at a boring head down in the music non singer who doesn't acknowledge the audience for an hour .....you give em your heart & soul out there & in return you will be rewarded in many ways Sounds like your on your way already!

Good Luck.
Posted by: travlin'easy

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 03:31 PM

When I was quite a bit younger I played a 6-string guitar through a cheap amp, which I also used for vocals. Later, I added a Roland drum machine to the rig, then upgraded to a 12-string, Yamaha guitar, which really added a lot to the sound quality. Setup time amounted to about three minutes, and everyone loved the music. Mostly performed in smoke-filled bar rooms in those days. It was lots of fun, I didn't make much money, and the booze and women were free. Lord, that was a long time ago.

Good Luck,

Gary
Posted by: hellboy44

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 05:40 PM

We (my wife and I) played a retirement village (for the first time) in Australia.

Great fun!

It was organised as a special event, and was basically a classic Rock n Roll afternoon on a Sunday. Here in Oz the retirement villages are really gated communities, and usually quite swish - with GREAT dance floors! We like playing to the older audiences as you can do a lot more showbiz patter (gags, giveaways, audience participation etc etc) and I believe they are going to approach us to play a "Christmas in July" *** function.

*** In Australia we have Christmas in July parties because in December it's our high summer, and usually blisteringly hot, thus it's a nod (I guess) to the American tradition of a "White Christmas"...



[This message has been edited by hellboy44 (edited 11-02-2008).]
Posted by: Kingfrog

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 06:21 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Lucky2Bhere:
Isn't the bottom line, when entertaining a senior residence NOT what YOU are doing but how is the audience RESPONDING to what you are doing? If you're lip-syncing, or you're playing the same songs all the time, or you're letting MIDI files wander mindlessly all over the room while you read the sports page, or doing bench presses with your keyboard, etc, does it really matter as long as the audience is being well entertained? Isn't the primary mission of an entertainer to please the audience and second to entertain everyone that's left (including all AD's)?

Yes, I'm playing Devil's advocate! In reality, I have no respect for the entertainers Bill described here. But I also have to go with....if the residents are happy with what they're hearing then THAT is what matters in theory.

I throw this out as fodder for remarks from other members about how they see our role as musician/entertainers? Do you please the Activity Director, do you please the onlookers, do you please yourself, do you please your peers, do you please your Higher Power...or...as in this case...do you please your audience?

Lucky


I agree with this assessment. Unless the audience is complaining, I would not change a thing. The idea is to hire an entertainer. Someone who MOVES the audience. I guess it comes down to the contract. Did the performer sell himself as a live singer?

The bottom line is the audience. Some of those who hire musicians don;t realize that though. If one guy is playing on 61 keys and a 20 piece orchestra is coming out of the speakers could that be considered "musical lipsyncing"?

E N T E R T A I N M E N T.......Thats the bottom line. Standing on your head whistling Dixie or playing a Ukulele singing Top Toe Through the Tulips and making a Career out of it...Entertainment.


[This message has been edited by Kingfrog (edited 11-02-2008).]
Posted by: Bill in Dayton

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 06:27 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Kingfrog:
I agree with this assessment. Unless the audience is complaining, I would not change a thing. The idea is to hire an entertainer. Someone who MOVES the audience. I guess it comes down to the contract. Did the performer sell himself as a live singer?

The bottom line is the audience. Some of those who hire musicians don;t realize that though.


Two important things to consider...

1) Yes, the performer was hired to sing live...

2) Nursing homes/retirement communities aren't night clubs. The activity director serves as their residents "advocate" through many things. The AD has to protect her people from frauds and other deceptions. These folks are in a facility like this for many different reasons. At this end of the care and support spectrum, they need assistance with a great many things.



------------------
Bill in Dayton
Posted by: Kingfrog

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 06:31 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Diki:

What do you want to be? The real thing, or the pathetic scab who merely apes and imitates the real thing?



For shame, gentlemen, for shame...


Hey I resemble that statement........I would rather be the real thing but if the "pathetic scab who imitates the real thing" can make a great living ,see the world, and sell a lot of CDs for years and years and have a taste of the sweet fruits of the real thing keep the Band-Aid......I'll be a puss oozing scab everyday and cease to call myself a "musician" I rather like the term "entertainer" better anyway. I think you will find the latter far more profitable in the long run.


[This message has been edited by Kingfrog (edited 11-02-2008).]
Posted by: Diki

Re: For anyone who performs at Retirement Communities... - 11/02/08 08:00 PM

OK, OK, I'll bite (I know you posted this just for it!)

Nice point, blah blah blah, but if you had read the thread from beginning (instead of just looking for a post of mine to jump on), you MIGHT have noticed that it was about someone that lip-synced a show, when they were hired to perform.

You haven't fallen THAT low, have you?

Now, instead of digging up ancient posts of mine to comment on, can we please just go back to ignoring each other?