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  • Performing for Senior Centers and Nursing Homes

    Not sure if this is the right forum for this subject, but it is gig related. Most nursing homes and senior centers have activity or entertainment directors. As a keyboardist with my own rig and I can play anything from Misty to Fly Me To The Moon, I'm wondering if any of you guys have tried doing any of these gigs as a single or duo. If so, did you get paid a fair wage and how many sets did you do? I don't sing, just play backgroung music. I would want to use my own keyboard, because I have seen the shape of some of the "house pianos' and they are unplayable.

    Don't really know much about getting into this "field" other than get out the ole yellow pages and call. Any ideas or advice is appreciated

    katt

  • #2
    If you don't sing, it's going to be very tough to get any work. There are many things you need to know. And I doubt you'll get much info on this at H-C but check the link in my sig and you will.
    :::

    Bill

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    • #3
      PM Terry Alan Hall. He does a lot of those gigs.
      http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

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      • #4
        to the contrary of LiveMusic, I don't think it matters that you don't sing. I've been to picnic's where my Grandmother lives, and I've heard plenty of keyboardists playing background music without vocals.
        "If you can't play the blues...you might as well hang it up." - Dexter Gordon

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        • #5
          i do them, but i never ask for anything.



          yup playing at the old folks home is a traditional do it for free gig. To charge just wouldnt be right. .....rat

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          • #6
            No, I am finding out that many senior centers have substantial activity budgets and many do in fact pay wages up to as high as $100 per hour to $50 flat rate for background music, guitar/piano. I am now seeing a potential there for possible work in between other gigs. It is not necessary to offer entertainment for free either. The amount of money to house a senior in a nursing home can be $7-10,000 per month. They make big bucks and can certainly afford to pay fair wages for live music

            katt

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            • #7
              No, I am finding out that many senior centers have substantial activity budgets and many do in fact pay wages up to as high as $100 per hour to $50 flat rate for background music, guitar/piano. I am now seeing a potential there for possible work in between other gigs. It is not necessary to offer entertainment for free either. The amount of money to house a senior in a nursing home can be $7-10,000 per month. They make big bucks and can certainly afford to pay fair wages for live music

              katt


              +1000


              Living a long time doesn't entitle anyone to free entertainment, IMO!
              http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

              Comment


              • #8
                I think we have misunderstood about the senior gig subject. i am not referring to the volunteer type of work or community service musicians provide for gov supported or centers for the les fortunate. I am talking about places that are like assisted living for more affluent seniors who have the resources to afford a higher end facility. My mother was in one and I wish I could have afforded to live there. Clean, first class service, food, full-time activites, shows, magicians, singers, plays, etc. This was the type of market I was referring to.

                I was trying to find out if anyone has just like played piano or backgroung music in some of the better centers. I have no problem at all if musicians volunteer their time in the lesser resource facilities, in fact I think it's a good way to give something back to the community. If you feel led to do that, then go for it. I entertained a bit for free for some seniors myself and yes, they enjoyed it and it got their minds off their condition and some started smiling and enjoying themselves.

                I am just starting to see a potential market in some places that might supplement my income and I'm sure some of us here could certainly use a few bucks, since gas is heading up to $4 a gallon

                katt

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                • #9
                  i'm digging your scene. as a matter of fact, my "job" band did a month of retirement communities in florida during the month of february. we had it arranged through some type of "committee" that all the activity directors share ideas and contacts through. it was actually a good month for us. we crammed 18 gigs into 25 days and beat the cold spell up north. but that was different than what i was referring to. the folks in florida are retired home owners that golf and swim, and aren't physically or financially hampered. they are just better off than most, and can afford to bring in entertainment. what i volunteer for are very unfortunate souls, who have nothing and usually their own families don't show much interest. there's some real tragic stories, but i'm doing a little bit to make it better.


                  Yes, it does look like the senior centers and nursing homes might be a good market to tap into, never really thought about it, but my late neighbor was an organ player and he had a whole circuit of senior places he did gigs with. he made a bare living doing it, took the bus everywhere.

                  I will start checking it out. i would use my own keyboard as it is always in tune, haha, compared to the shape of some of the pianos in the centers I've played. katt

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                  • #10
                    I know several guys who do the care home/senior center circuit here. They make fairly good money, but they know the right material (remember, classic rock won't fly with 80 year olds)....and they sing. The more WWII era and early 50's pop and show tunes from that era you know, the more it is appreciated on these gigs, since there is little to no radio airplay, and CD players are newfangled machines to the target audience.
                    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

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                    • #11
                      I did a senior center gig on Memorial Day with an oldies band. We kept the volume low and they loved it. We even threw in a few "newer" tunes (like from the 1970's).

                      A few of the seniors were dancing and they were encouraging the "young" (in their 30's and 40's) caregivers to join in. When the "young" people said they didn't know any of the music we were playing, I asked what they wanted to hear. As a joke (I'm pretty sure) one of them shouted out "Freebird!!".

                      So of course we went into a laid-back version. The seniors ate it up. Some of them are a lot hipper than we give them credit for. And remember, if they're in their 80's now, they were only in their 50's back in the 1970's.

                      And that ain't too old (I'm 54).

                      BTW, the pay was really good. $100/man for a two hour gig.
                      Michael D. www.mdlmusic.webs.com "I'm tired of rock-and-rolling Let's get married, Honey, let's go bowling" --Martin Mull

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                      • #12
                        I did a senior center gig on Memorial Day with an oldies band. We kept the volume low and they loved it. We even threw in a few "newer" tunes (like from the 1970's).

                        A few of the seniors were dancing and they were encouraging the "young" (in their 30's and 40's) caregivers to join in. When the "young" people said they didn't know any of the music we were playing, I asked what they wanted to hear. As a joke (I'm pretty sure) one of them shouted out "Freebird!!".

                        So of course we went into a laid-back version. The seniors ate it up. Some of them are a lot hipper than we give them credit for. And remember, if they're in their 80's now, they were only in their 50's back in the 1970's.

                        And that ain't too old (I'm 54).

                        BTW, the pay was really good. $100/man for a two hour gig.

                        well, its all relative, but when I'm eighty, I'm not gonna wanna hear Nickelback, Cold Play, SOAD, etc...
                        "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          +1000


                          Living a long time doesn't entitle anyone to free entertainment, IMO!



                          If you are talking nursing homes..... strat, i think i am going to disagree with you on that one. The majority of those people in there are in there on the tax payers dollar.

                          Everybody in their uncle has thier fingers into that gov money. When a persons health gets so frail they end up in a nursing home.....I question musicians charging to go play a little for those folks. If you are talking senior center that are for mobile older people who still get around and stuff .... yea ,, old folks need to be enterained too. Charging a nursing home just wouldnt be my style. My dad passsed away right after loading in to play for some people at a nursing home. Nursing home care is expensive enough without musicians milking the budgets. maybe i have senior centers confused with nursing homes....I am not ready for either one ,, but have a mother in law in one now.... They have people that come in and do free entertainment for them. Thats the way it should be .... charging a residents medicade account for a guitar player when they do not even know their own kids, just isnt right. rat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you are talking nursing homes..... strat, i think i am going to disagree with you on that one. The majority of those people in there are in there on the tax payers dollar.

                            Everybody in their uncle has thier fingers into that gov money. When a persons health gets so frail they end up in a nursing home.....I question musicians charging to go play a little for those folks. If you are talking senior center that are for mobile older people who still get around and stuff .... yea ,, old folks need to be enterained too. Charging a nursing home just wouldnt be my style. My dad passsed away right after loading in to play for some people at a nursing home. Nursing home care is expensive enough without musicians milking the budgets. maybe i have senior centers confused with nursing homes....I am not ready for either one ,, but have a mother in law in one now.... They have people that come in and do free entertainment for them. Thats the way it should be .... charging a residents medicade account for a guitar player when they do not even know their own kids, just isnt right. rat


                            But you see, again it's always the musicians who are supposed to provide free everything, in churches, benefits, etc., while the nurses, doctors, pharmacists, janitors, cooks, aids, get a pay check, but I guess good pro musicians who buy equipment, pay for gas, pay tuition at music school or pay for private lessons, make car payments, pay car insurance, rent, are supposed to offer free entertainment in the world. If we are trained dedicated musicians, does that mean we have less value to society and don't deserve compensation for our hard work and time? I'm afraid I don't agree to that principle at all. Well if that is the case, then all the other nursing home employees should follow that same protocol too. In other words, our services as dedicated musicians should make us feel guilty in making a buck, while everyone else who is dedicated to the trade are not valid, so we should always be the ones who play for free and give the world entertainment without compensation. but I am reading that other musicians are in fact getting paid a fair wage for providing entertainment at senior centers and nursing homes.

                            I have gotten emails from other pro musicians, basically one man bands who are doing quite well in the senior circuit and being paid a good wage as an entertainer should be. Somehow, as an artist or musician, we need to get over this notion that we owe the world our hard work for free while every other trade is paid a competitive wage. At least if you volunteer your time, gas and food should be furnished. If you feel guilty accepting payment for your time, that is your own thing and I can accept that, but you can't expect us as professionals to follow your example and we should feel guilty about being paid for a service we provide. I have worked in this industry and some of these places rake in huge profits and can afford to pay for activities and entertainment, in fact it is figured into their yearly budgets. katt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              +1000000
                              "If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable." — John F. Kennedy

                              "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." — Thomas Paine

                              "Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberty and wealth are in jeopardy. Let it not be said that we did nothing." — Ron Paul

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