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nitekattz2007

Performing for Senior Centers and Nursing Homes

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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

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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!

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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...:wave:

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+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

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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

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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

 

+ a billion

 

Well said

 

I can't tell you the number of times I've been asked to give 100% donation to causes where the organizers had to pay for the venue, the security, post a bond, buy beverages from distributors, and pay the cleanup crew at the end, but I'm supposed to not get a dime because "it's a benefit." Doesn't matter to me if it's a cancer benefit or an old folk's home.

 

Don't get me wrong, if everyone is donating, I will too. But if everyone else is getting compensated, I'd like to be as well.

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

 

Absolutely incorrect...

 

Professionals in this line of endeavor, be they nurses, entertainers, technicians, etc., certainly do get paid, and get paid well, too!

 

The law requires that the residents have exposure to entertainment, and so it's part of the budget...while they'll accept amateurs who'll play for free, the management actually expects to pay for quality professionals. :)

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I play 3-5 of these gigs every week, except during the Holiday season (Thanksgiving until Jan. 1), when I may do 12-15 a week.


Yes, you need to sing or form a duo w/ a singer...instrumental-only won't get many gigs of this type.


Pay ranges from $50 to $125, for one hour-long set.


Bringing your own keys is probably a good idea, as you're correct that while some facilities have great instruments on site (one that I play on a monthly basis has both a Hammond C-3 and a Boesendorf (sp?) grand on site), others just have "piano-shaped objects"!


Hope this is of help and feel free to PM if I can be of further service.



Absolutely incorrect...


Professionals in this line of endeavor, be they nurses, entertainers, technicians, etc., certainly do get paid, and get paid well, too!


The law requires that the residents have exposure to entertainment, and so it's part of the budget...while they'll accept amateurs who'll play for free, the management actually expects to pay for quality professionals.
:)

 

 

 

Ok ,,, The law requires it eh ..... I didnt know that. Thanks for pointing that out. My dad used to go do it for free..... he was a pretty good guy. While not the pro that you are ,,,, he did his best to try to spread a little joy and music after he retired. He passed away of a heart attack doing one of those missions of kindness.

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As part of my orchestra contract I periodically went to nursing homes and the like to play, in a string quartet. They seemed to enjoy it, though we didn't sing. They would sometimes sing themselves, as we did try to pick sets of songs they would recognize. If you play something that is clearly recognizable for them, that's what's important I think.

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We all must be aware as trained pro musicians, that no matter what market we offer our services, we certainly deserve compensation, the same as any other trade organization has had to develop their skills and the time invested to perfect their craft. Do you actually think the plumber, carpenters, handymen, dry wallers, electricians, maintainance journeymen work for free at these senior facilities? Please, get a grip on reality,of course not, and if you are a truly dedicated trained musician capable of providing a professionally viable act, you deserve to be paid accordingly, the same as any tradesmen. We have been lowballing and offering free services for so long, it is starting to almost be expected, we must provide entertainment for free, because our skills don't have the same value as other journeymen tradesmen.

 

The freebie players seem to have no concerns about providing a standards of ethics to keep professional artistic standards, and the posts I have read certainly affirm those issues. If you have a professioal value and training as a player, you deserve something for your time invested in the dedication to your craft. Why do you feel as a performer that you are less than a plumber, construction worker, cabinet maker, electrician, etc. artists and trademenb all have a purpose to serve society with their gifts, weather it;s technical, scientific, or artistic? All involvement in a trade and offering goods and services needs to be compensated fairly, what the market can support

 

katt

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We have been lowballing and offering free services for so long, it is starting to almost be expected, we must provide entertainment for free, because our skills don't have the same value as other journeymen tradesmen.




katt

 

I agree with what you're stating but if you look at it from the employer's side, you can see why they think like they do.

 

If I went up to the manager of a nursing home and told them I'm pretty handy with tools and I'll fix their plumbing for free, I'm pretty sure they'd tell me no. They wouldn't want to risk me screwing things up, or having something go wrong that could be dangerous for their tenants, plus there would be no guarantee that the work would be acceptable, and then they'd have to pay twice as much to get it working correctly.

 

But if a musician comes up and says he/she will perform for free, what have they got to lose? If the music is good, they got something for nothing. If the music is lousy, everybody leaves and nothing is lost, except maybe the chance to be entertained for an hour or so. It's not like a bar where they're losing paying customers. It's a no-lose situation for the manager.

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i did a gig today. jokes, songs, general foolishness, hearts lifted and renewed, including my own. i get my due. it just comes in a different form. i realize that you can ask for compensation, i just don't care about it. i hung around and talked. had some great laughs. i feel that's fair enough.

 

That;s such a shame, you, mention, you don't care about it. Again, it denotes that the analogy to the plumber, screwing things up, means that it really doesn't matter if the musician/performer "screws it up" as the craft has no aesthetic value to society and nothing really matters about providing a service that makes people feel better and help them to forget thier problems, that to me is worth a million dollars, in jest anyway.

 

I am seeing so much of this devaluation of art/music in our society in our new age. Our hard work to maintain an element of dedication to an art form, to provide the best we can be, literally means nothing to some "musicians" who don't care about being compensated for their offering to the world. it is so sad to think that art, in view of some views of society, is something to be "given" away because it has been devalued by so many musicians, to just feel they should or can just "give" it away.

 

You should think seriously about what you are thinking, doing and how you are contributing your abilities and talents, if you are in fact considered to be, that your participation doesn't have value, other than continually giving something away, not considering the consequences of how it affects the profession as it is in constant struggle to maintain an element of professionalism.

 

katt

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My sister and her (now ex-)husband used to do this, a few years ago, during the thin times while getting their commercial air conditioning business off the ground. They played bluegrass and old timey folk type stuff, with a bit of goofy novelty songs thrown in. All acoustic instruments, and no PA. believe me, in a large community room, a five string banjo does not need to be amplified. They did singalongs on stuff like "Darling Clementine" & "Oh Susanna". They would go to three or four homes in a single day. A 45 minute to 1 hour set would bring in $75-$100. They would schedule their service calls for the A/C business around these day tours. They did it usually once a month. Not only did they provide a bit of enjoyment for the residents that was well within the budget for the facility, The relationships that they formed with the management resulted in a few service contracts for the A/C and refrigeration equipment. All of the facilities that they performed for were quite disappointed when my sister & BIL could no longer take the time to play for them.

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That;s such a shame, you, mention, you don't care about it. Again, it denotes that the analogy to the plumber, screwing things up, means that it really doesn't matter if the musician/performer "screws it up" as the craft has no aesthetic value to society and nothing really matters about providing a service that makes people feel better and help them to forget thier problems, that to me is worth a million dollars, in jest anyway.


I am seeing so much of this devaluation of art/music in our society in our new age. Our hard work to maintain an element of dedication to an art form, to provide the best we can be, literally means nothing to some "musicians" who don't care about being compensated for their offering to the world. it is so sad to think that art, in view of some views of society, is something to be "given" away because it has been devalued by so many musicians, to just feel they should or can just "give" it away.


You should think seriously about what you are thinking, doing and how you are contributing your abilities and talents, if you are in fact considered to be, that your participation doesn't have value, other than continually giving something away, not considering the consequences of how it affects the profession as it is in constant struggle to maintain an element of professionalism.


katt

 

Well, look at the bright side. Better to give it away in a rest home than in a live music club! :D

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Oh, forgot, BYW, when you stop by the facility and you see the gardeners slaving away in 100 degree afternoon sweltering heat, working from his truck with at least an investment of $15,000+ with his equipment, why not mention to the manager of the facility because you enjoy doing yard work so much, that you would gladly do his work for free and put him out of business as well. Has he studied as much as a dedicated musician, practicing 4-10 hours daily, mastering his "ax"? Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't, but he deserves to be paid a fair wage as well, rather than offer his trade for free, because the center's resources are so "slim." And offer to take the janitor's paycheck away for him because you will do his job for free becasue you love doing housekeeping.

 

Is anyone here understanding what I am trying to convey, or is there no substance or sincerity that art is not a worthwhile endeavor that qualifies to be supported and compensated

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