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Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130260
07/01/07 06:36 PM
07/01/07 06:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 215
Michigan
E
elainelynn Offline OP
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elainelynn  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 215
Michigan
I need more experience playing in public and have always wanted to volunteer, so I thought I would put the two together and put together a program to play in retirement homes. Does anyone here do this and if so, are people (staff and residents) pretty receptive to the idea?

Thanks,

Elaine

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Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130261
07/01/07 07:04 PM
07/01/07 07:04 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 278
New York
jwjazz Offline
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jwjazz  Offline
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Posts: 278
New York
I played as a sub a few times for the regular pianist in a nursing home. The music was centered around a hang-man game. When the patients guessed the song title, I would play it. They really enjoyed hearing music from their generation, as I played the standards from their day.
It happened to be a paying gig.
I think most places would be happy to have someone volunteer to do this. Good luck.


working on:
Goldberg Variations
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130262
07/01/07 10:15 PM
07/01/07 10:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
193866 Offline
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193866  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
Suggestions for Elaine, Hello... I am Sandy B, back with Piano Forum now... I am living in an assisted living at 68 years old... We have people who play piano for us as volunteers and paid performers... The paid performers make $75.00 for the hour they play...usually they come once a month , the volunteers usually come once a week... The average age here is 85 years old...I play piano myself here as a resident for them and they love piano music so much... As member 23427 stated the elders really love "Name That Tune" old standards from the 1920's through the 1950's is what I play for them mostly...They dance around on their walkers too...So cute...We always are very gratful for all piano volunteers here...This group enjoys classical very much too so I play some classical for them ... I so respect volunteers within a community and good luck on your new venture...Sandy B


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130263
07/02/07 11:48 AM
07/02/07 11:48 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,308
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Online blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Online Blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,308
Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Elaine,

A year or so ago there was a GREAT thread in the AB forum about playing in retirement homes and the like, with lots of great suggestions for repertoire:

"Playing at Senior Centers" thread

I haven't yet played in any retirement homes, but it's in my 5 year piano plan to do so. Alas all I know is new age music, and that's all I would be able to play for them, but I hope that maybe it would still be welcomed.

Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130264
07/02/07 03:31 PM
07/02/07 03:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 62
Massachusetts
Blacksmith Offline
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Blacksmith  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 62
Massachusetts
Hi,I ounce spoke to a man who played retirement homes. He stated It was satisfying to play to people who really apreciated the music and payed attention

Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130265
07/03/07 12:00 AM
07/03/07 12:00 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 419
Western US
ipgrunt Offline
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ipgrunt  Offline
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Western US
Are you kidding? They are the most appreciative audience you'll ever find, outside of your mother.

Get over there!


-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130266
07/03/07 01:09 AM
07/03/07 01:09 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 6,215
Down Under
currawong Offline
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currawong  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 6,215
Down Under
Quote
They are the most appreciative audience you'll ever find, outside of your mother.
Absolutely! It is so rewarding to play when people say "my father/uncle/mother/whatever used to play/sing that and I haven't heard it for 50 years", or "how do you know that, you're too young!" (like that one), or when they begin to sing along, or when they just sit there with tears in their eyes. You know you've really connected, and it can be very moving.


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130267
07/03/07 07:45 AM
07/03/07 07:45 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 215
Michigan
E
elainelynn Offline OP
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elainelynn  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 215
Michigan
Thanks for the responses and encouragement, everyone! Monica, that thread you posted was great. I think I will talk to my mother-in-law about it. She is in her 80's and doesn't live in a retirement home but does some volunteer work/visiting. I know she could at least help me put together a program, and would have a really good idea of what people want to hear.

Elaine

Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130268
07/03/07 12:45 PM
07/03/07 12:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member
193866  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
As a resident myself of assisted living ,7 years this March... The residents are very much the most appreciative people you have ever met when they hear live piano music they know and love... The average age is 85 years old if you play the popular pieces of their time... from the early 1900's to the 1940's ...They seem to enjoy even the tunes 20 years before their time too..your local music store has books for this...they also enjoy well known classical piano pieces...When I play music beyond the 1940's their favorites are, Unchained Melody, Ebb Tide, Memory, The Sound of Music, etc. The elders love the long flowing romantic pieces the most it seems with the pieces written beyond the 1940's...The Piano Man by Billy Joel is a big one too except with the employees and resdents children mostly... Hope I have been helpful as music is what makes the elders the most happy aside from their family, if they have any still living as some are alone ...Most are hard of hearing and the piano is loud enough for them to hear too...Please consider all of you playing for assisted living and nurisng homes... The level of playing can be intermediate as they want to sing along and just need a strong melody line to follow...It is important to have a strong singer with you at the piano to lead them... This will make your program a certain success...Good Luck...Thank you for thinking of us...I had strokes and cannot live alone with short term memory problems. I live to play the piano here for the residents who so appreicate live piano music...I am only 68 years old now and can still see to read music, etc. To ask their favorite songs and play them the next time you perform is a big plus they love too...I do hope I have given you some insight ...Oh, they really love Boggie Woggie too...May your life be blessed for thinking of us...Sandy B


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130269
07/03/07 01:19 PM
07/03/07 01:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member
193866  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
To try to answer more of your question of my suggestions as to what songs to play for nursing homes and assisted livings...Specific suggestions to you...This book I played from today is always a favorite too...Called the Jazz Music Collection...Warner Bros Publications. Here are their favorites in order of requests from the elders...Don't Get Around Much Anymore by Duke Ellington, 1945...I'M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, 1935....MISTY BY ERROLL GARNER,1954...POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS BY BURKE AND HEUSEN ,1945...STAR DUST BY HOAGY CARMICHAEL,1929... MR. LUCKY BY LIVINGTON, EVANS AND MUSIC BY HENRY MANCINI, 1959..GEORGIA ON MY MIND BY HOAGY CARMICHAEL, 1930... LAURA, BY DAVID RAKSIN... 1945...May you always be blessed for caring abut us...Sandy B


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130270
07/03/07 01:41 PM
07/03/07 01:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member
193866  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
One more thought is the ususal old time folk songs are always a hit.... My Bonnie, I've Been Working on the Railroad... Even Old McDoanld Had a Farm,etc...Those are a hit at all times with the elders... They really love fancy piano too...Liberace style, etc...We have a paid entertainer who plays Liberace style and they love him...The elders enjoy violin music with piano very much...Big hit...

Another big hit here is accordian fun sing a longs...Our volunteer is here now playing accordian and she comes every week to our assisted living...Jane Ledman and never took a dime for her years of playing for us...she brings a song leader with her, Virginia...May you be blessed always for adding quality to our life with your music for us elders...Sandy B


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130271
07/03/07 02:16 PM
07/03/07 02:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member
193866  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
Monica, Thank you for the information: Playing at the Senior Centers Thread. Very excellent.. I remember you from months ago when I was active with the Piano World forums and it is good to be back and read your excellent posts...I am learning from you and others on the Piano World forums at 68 years old and love to interact with other piano players... Glad to be back ...You can teach this old piano lady new piano tricks and I welcome all info Monica...Sandy B


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130272
07/03/07 03:31 PM
07/03/07 03:31 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 215
Michigan
E
elainelynn Offline OP
Full Member
elainelynn  Offline OP
Full Member
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 215
Michigan
Sandy, thank you so much for all of the information and song suggestions. When I get together a list of songs to work on I'll probably want to run it by you.

How many songs do people typically want to hear in one sitting?

Elaine

Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130273
07/03/07 05:42 PM
07/03/07 05:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
193866 Offline
500 Post Club Member
193866  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 777
Manassas,Va
Dear Elaine, and others interested in playing piano, now or later, for assisted living and nursing homes, volunteer or paid performers... How many songs? My set programs are usually 30 songs, or less, in an hour ,Sing A Long... They never want you to end your music, especially fun piano playing for them...Their only complaining will be asking you to continue playing when you try to leave them... What I do for Sing A Longs is have a set program... I do not play totally by ear in general, but, I say to the ones who make requests, "I will play that song for you next week." I tell who requested this song as their memory probles so often prevent them from remembering and I have it written down to remember... This makes them feel special too... I write down their requests at that time and play their requests the next week ,as promised, with another basically set scheduled program...People who play by ear are really in demand with this crowd as they can play on the spot requests... Again, I usually play about 30 set numbers in my planned programs here...Usually short ...the first verse only mostly... not always...In an hour...Mostly fake sheets to make it easy for myself... We talk often too...we talk together and share stories of long ago. One lady her first date was to hear Benny Goodman in the early 40's...We ask her to tell this story to us over and over. The elders love to tell about certain songs they danced with their date ,etc. during the late 30's and early 40's... I use fake sheets often for sing a longs and I improv the fake sheets that have the one melody note and chords above ...So it is fun for me too and not too much work...I feel useful and happy to help them to enjoy themselves here playing piano for them...Elaine do you ever use fake, called lead sheets too, also called cheat sheets? This makes the sing a longs a breeze for me if I do not have much time to prepare from the full sheet music..Sorry if I repeat myself, please forgive me, as, damage to the processing center of my brain, and extreme short term memory loss from strokes , brain aneurysm operation too all in the same time frame...I really try not to repeat myself... Bless you always... Sandy B 2001.


Sandra M. Boletchek 08/02/06
Re: Does anyone play in nursing/retirement homes? #1130274
07/04/07 02:34 PM
07/04/07 02:34 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 419
Western US
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member
ipgrunt  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 419
Western US
Quote
Originally posted by elainelynn:
Sandy, thank you so much for all of the information and song suggestions. When I get together a list of songs to work on I'll probably want to run it by you.

How many songs do people typically want to hear in one sitting?

Elaine
Dear Elaine,

I can tell you are very conscientious and want to do a great job. As for the length of your sets, a good rule of thumb--when the snoring gets louder than your playing, it's time to go home.

Seriously, for this crowd it is wise to keep your sets to half-an-hour to forty minutes max in length, and offer a minimum of twenty minutes between sets for intermission. It's not that the elderly have a short attention span, but our physical requirements change as we age.

One more thing--your choice of repertoire is unimportant (unless you are a John Cage fanatic, or your thing is piano transcriptions of the complete works of Megadeath). Chances are if you like it, you will play it well. Your audience will sense this, and they will like it.

But if you can do requests of their favorite show tunes, then they certainly won't let you leave, and depending on the venue, they might lose control, rush the stage, and tear at your clothing, so remember to dress in layers (which is why the best music teachers insist that one never turns one's back on the audience.)

And God bless you for even considering this adventure. You are going to have a ball!


-- ipgrunt
Amateur pianist, Son of a Pro

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