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nitekattz2007

Performing for Senior Centers and Nursing Homes

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

 

Somehow, I don't think death metal will go over real big :eek:

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Somehow, I don't think death metal will go over real big
:eek:

 

 

Somehow, I don't think anything with the word 'death' in it would be a big hit in a nursing home!:eek::D

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Somehow, I don't think anything with the word 'death' in it would be a big hit in a nursing home!
:eek::D

 

 

Yea you might want to play grave yards for that ....prolly will be a big hit .. for those sprirts that are caught in limbo..... who knows they may give you inspiration for a new song ...Not sure how well it would pay though..... rat

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Times are tough. Gas stations, start giving away free gas, shopping markets, cut prices 50%, screw the dedicated farmers who work their asses off to provide the best produce, because we are all struggling, landlords, lower those damn rents, be a pal, musicians, entertain everyone for free because they don;t give a shit anyway, record companies, offer free CD's keep all the publishing rights, screw the writers that wrote the hits that put you in business in the first place, Bill gates, come on, you are only worth 80 billion dollars, give away your OS software now, you own the whole software industry, how much more money do you need, health insurance providers, come on, those rates you charge are outrageous, drug companies, your profits and 100 million bonuses you pay to your CEO's are a joke, and musicians, keep giving away your hard work for free, because what you provide, society wants it for free and they feel they deserve it. I'M AS MAD AS HELL, SO OPEN UP YOUR WINDOW, AND YELL OUT TO THE WORLD, I'M MAD AS HELL, BUT I'M GONNA PLAY FOR FREE ANYWAY, BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT! katt

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I play the Chapman Stick for a few Nursing Homes several times a month. I play pretty instrumental music for dining. All older stuff. I sing also but they just want nice soft music that they can talk over. I am musicial wallpaper!

 

I enjoy playing these gigs, everyone is very nice and its a easy way to make a little money.

 

I charge $50-$100 per hour depending how close or how nice the home is.

Free food too!

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I started playing a Farfisa compact organ when I was 16. The first song I taught myself was "Stand By Me." A couple of local musicians, keyboard players gave me some informal lessons for beer and cigs, haha. Anyway, this guitar player dude, also 16 was putting a cover band together and asked me to join. I had been playing less than a month and knew 4 chords and 2 songs, but he said he would teach me enough to learn the songs. We found a bass player and good drummer and rehearsed 4 times and landed our first paid gig at the local univ student union.

 

I was nervous, played tunes in the wrong key, wrong chords, man did I suck bigtime. Some of the sets were ok, but, I got paid though. Back then, most bands always got paid something. It was expected, no club or event, with the exception of some charites always paid their bands. Charities would pick up expenses sometimes.

 

Remember though one thing. Everytime a musician goes out and offers their services for free, it puts a pro out of work somewhere and continually lowers the artform even more. I'm not talking about volunteer work here. At least ask for some gas money, mileage, a meal, some cokes, whatever, but you are donating your time and talent to entertain someone.

 

I feel some musicians are actually afraid to ask someone to pay them, that they feel they don't deserve any compensation for their offering. Ask and ye shall receive. Just say, "do you have a budget to throw a few bucks my way? You may be surprised sometimes, that yes, there is an entertainment budget, even in lower end gov supported facilities. I think we have seen in the papers and CNN how much money the gov has to throw around and how much is wasted and spent, so a few extra bucks for the performer isn't gonna break the bank

 

katt

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my dearest katt. please don't misunderstand. i do agree with you. there is and has been a "selling of souls" throughout time for artists, most of which does lend itself to the public putting little to no value on the artist. i understand, and you are correct. when i'm being used, i fight the good fight to be recognized and compensated. but there is another side to it. the other side allows me to buy back some of which i have sold. i doubt seriously it puts anyone out of work, and in this way i'm being as selfish as the musical public. yesterday i talked with "ed". "ed" has an aluminum pole for a leg, and a piece of plastic for a foot. he is also blind. he can't stand up or get out of his wheelchair. we talked for 15 minutes or so. i come to find out he worked with some family of mine. he was gracious and considerate and most complimentary. his value of my contribution speaks volumes more than the average drunk yelling out for " free bird"...for those types, i have little care, regardless of the money they put in the jar. i am nothing to them but the musical slave of the evening. i am bought and paid for like a whore, and am expected to act the part.

.

.but, for these unfortunate folks, wheelchair ridden, poor,and at the mercy of society's' generosity, i'll play and sing my heart out, anytime. what they give in honest appreciation more than makes up for the afternoon i invested. it gives me strength and resolve. it gives me confirmation that my talent is not wasted, it actually does good for the community; and i'm the one who must ultimately judge that. for those that feel the artist has no value, they only see in black and white. i prefer to live in vivid hues of color. money is not the only measure of success. i realize that's blaspheme to the music industry, but then again, we see where they've led us.

 

No mr owl, I'm not referring at all to entertaining the misfortunate or disabled souls. That is a volunteer position, and I am not concerned about that as a threat to pro work. I have done some of that work myself as a volunteer. This is not what I am concerned about

 

What I am mainly referring to is that facilities that obviously have the resources to pay entertainers, should do so in all fairness, rather than musicians offering free entertainment to those places that can and do pay performers. This was my real issue. No, keep up with your service and brighten up someone's day to take their mind off their challenges, all for it!

 

I have had this thing in the past, not nursing homes, "oh so and so is having a cocktail party, would you "drop by" and play the piano for "exposure? We can't pay anything, despite the fact the driveway is filled with BMWs, Mercedes, Cadys, Navigators, florists, catering, blah, blah

 

Some of the senior centers I have been to are like palaces and these are the places where I have a problem musicians offering free entertainment. this is my issue and I'm sure others will not agree nor care, but I feel those that can afford to pay should do so. hope that makes sense and clears that up for ya

 

katt

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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

 

:thu: :thu: :thu:

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now that baby-boomers are aging, it won't be long before you can do rock gigs at these places...if they still have their hearing.

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No mr owl, I'm not referring at all to entertaining the misfortunate or disabled souls. That is a volunteer position, and I am not concerned about that as a threat to pro work. I have done some of that work myself as a volunteer. This is not what I am concerned about


What I am mainly referring to is that facilities that obviously have the resources to pay entertainers, should do so in all fairness, rather than musicians offering free entertainment to those places that can and do pay performers. This was my real issue. No, keep up with your service and brighten up someone's day to take their mind off their challenges, all for it!


I have had this thing in the past, not nursing homes, "oh so and so is having a cocktail party, would you "drop by" and play the piano for "exposure? We can't pay anything, despite the fact the driveway is filled with BMWs, Mercedes, Cadys, Navigators, florists, catering, blah, blah


Some of the senior centers I have been to are like palaces and these are the places where I have a problem musicians offering free entertainment. this is my issue and I'm sure others will not agree nor care, but I feel those that can afford to pay should do so. hope that makes sense and clears that up for ya


katt

 

 

:thu:

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My parents live in one of these, and I *know* their retirement

home DOES pay the musicians for the Friday afternoon

performances. From the reports I've heard (my Mom never

misses these!) I doubt that not being a vocalist would be a

deal-breaker - but you'll make them happiest with songs they

recognize - hits from the twenties through the forties, especially.

 

Look on the bright side: they aren't going to want to hear

Sweet Home Alabama or Mustang Sally....

 

....yet...

 

LS

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Look on the bright side: they aren't going to want to hear

Sweet Home Alabama or Mustang Sally....


....yet...


LS

 

Oh it won't be long until the geriatric set clamors for those songs.

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Oh it won't be long until the geriatric set clamors for those songs.

 

At my last nursing home gig (last Friday), I got a request, from an elderly gent, for "Roll Over Bethoven"... :)

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The best gig I did last year was at a senior housing complex-a bunch of condos in an over 55 type living setup. My agent said they had sound, but when I talked to the guy, he told me what they had so I brought a small PA. We get there and it's a concert hall. I don't know if they charged the residents-I don't think so. They paid us 1600 for two long sets and set us up with the hospitality fruit/deli/drink setup in the dressing room. They were a great audience and bought about thirty cd's after the gig. After splitting the 1600 with the other three guys, I drove home with 800.00 and a smile on my face. I called my agent and told him what a success the gig was, and that he should get one of his guys to hustle some similiar gigs at other retirement communities. Of course, he never did :mad:

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The flip side is that for five years I did a free monthly concert for the Bread and Roses organization. Senior homes, drug rehabs, aids wards, etc. Never got a dime, and I took off work to do it. I always felt great leaving one of those gigs. The apreciation, especially from the old folks, was heart warming. They always sent along a guy to introduce the act and deal with the facilities people. My guy turned out to be a sound man who worked with name acts. He talked me up to BGP and got me a gig at the fillmore in SF. Ya never know. B&R was featured on a national sunday morning TV show, and they picked four artists to represent them-i was chosen, so a CBS camera crew followed me around all day-to my day gig, to a B&R concert at a lockup, then that night to an open mike. I walk into this open mike where I'd played before, and ask if I can play. The guy says, sorry, we are all booked for tonight. I say, I have a camera crew from CBS news outside. He goes" Your on next!"

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I say, I have a camera crew from CBS news outside.

 

Normally, hearing that statement would be the very definition of a bad day. :D

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This has been one of the more amusing and informative threads I've read anywhere on the web in awhile. There are some great 1-liners (Piano-shaped objects! THAT'S RICH). As for rhat, I sincerely admire your sensitivity, as I think most folks here do. My Dad wasn't a musician, by any stretch, but I can easily see how your heart is where it is. Having said that, the reason I'm on this sub-forum to begin with is to learn how to make $$$ in the most efficient way possible.

 

For 5 yrs. I've been eagerly playing drums in the AWESOME orchestra and choir in my church for free because I see myself as a spiritual medic in a world that is REALLY hard to survive in these days. Now, I have to admit that while I've been poor as beggar's mice, the church has done it's best to buy new heads whenever I really needed them. In return, while my scheduling in many of my day jobs created a real struggle to be there at 8:15AM every Sunday morning (not to mention other times like playing at a Women's Prison over the holidays) I've always managed to fanagle my way to be there no matter what because those people do mean that much to me. And that's my decision that I wouldn't force on anyone else.

 

On the other hand, I consider my gift not a talent, but a gift from God; as compared to reptillian attorneys, and Dr.s that ain't much better who can get their training anywhere. And for as much as people enjoy what we do they BEST be prepared to pay for it. But I think that's where the rub comes in. I remember while playing out on the road (Sheraton/Holiday Inn circuit) I was always facinated at how many people in the workaday world were SOO facinated by people like us that actually enjoyed their livelihood. That sentiment is also fed by the fact that our profession is one of a very few where you not only can drink on the job, sometimes you're almost required to. That explains a lot of ruined lives as well. So, basically I think the presumption that we should play for free comes from the notion that "Hey, since you're having so much fun at your job, why should I have to pay you since I hate my job?" To which I say "So, get another job...Pal...so you can pay me for this job...Pal!"

 

Here endeth the lesson! (for what it's worth.)

 

KC

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KC... After reading your Homepage... I enjoyed your post even more. I'm a Minister operating (under His instrutions) as a full time Senior-Venue entertainer. I do a solo gig (that might be hard for a drummer) and really am glad to see you too so ready to serve the Lord. Lots of music types think being an entertainer and being Godly don't fit together. How wrong they are.

Much sucess to you... in and out of church.

 

ps: I was the drummer in my very first band (1966). Still bang 'em around a little!

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I currently run a DJ company here on Long Island. I also have performed as a singer for several years. Several years ago after getting tired of the 9-5 daily business life while doing parties and singing gigs on the weekend I decided to run my DJ business full time. As a way to insure that I would make money on the slow months as well as keeping busy during the week I started doing Nursing Homes, Senior Centers and Health Care facilities. I currently do over 100 of these types of dates a year and plan to do many more in the next few years.

The original post asks for ideas or advise. This is what has been good for me.

 

- As a singer I use a laptop and a small PA system along with a program called swift elite which is a DJ/Karaoke program. I generally list a set before I get to the gig and program the list to play one song after the other. Of course I can pause it and add a song or two or even change the whole set if I feel like it during the show.

- I contact various places by sending out a letter first then following up with a call or sometimes many, many calls. I find that the people who book entertainment on this level generally want to plan fun, new and exciting entertainment for there residents but many will not take you seriously or even talk to you unless you are recommended by someone or if they hear a demo or actually see you in person. They do have budgets but they will work with you if the residents like you. The residents of these places are very judgmental. If they like you, they tell you and they also let the person who booked you know. Once you entertain at a new place, if you are good and they like you it is easy to get more dates. The entertainment directors also get calls all of the time from Entertainer wannabes. And many residents say they have a nephew or sister who sings. So they learn to stay away from people they don't know. Also its easy for them to book volunteers from the neighborhood because if the residents don't like them they just pass it off as they were just volunteers.

- I never make too much of a big deal about my talent. I play it low key, let them know what I do and where and just ask for one date. Let them see you in action. Even if it means a free hour or half pay just to show what you can do. Generally I do an hour or an hour and a half but after they call me several times I work the DJ side of it in and I get all types of DJ work. Some places hire entertainment for the staff on holidays and on special occasions Also you meet the visitors who come to see their relatives. They hire entertainers for their own private parties etc. The beauty of meeting the visitors is that they come from all walks of life. You never know who may have an interest in you.

- You may notice that I have called the people residents. They all live or visit these places daily and hate being called old. Also the people who hire you will have more respect for you if you refer to their people as their residents. That is usually the term they use.

- If you can, try to book the dates during the week. Many people work full time jobs and are only available on the weekends. That extra flexibility may get you a shot. They also book nights on occasion. Afterwords you can book the weekends if you work the conventional 9-5.

- Many of these facilities book entertainment once or twice a year. Find out when they make their list ask them how you can get on the list. Follow up a month or two before to make sure they include you. Others just book all year long.

- Very important... Talk to the residents and show your fun and upbeat personality. Let them know you care about them and make them feel like you are a friend. Ask them how they are and try to call them by name. They will look forward to your next date. They will also bug the Directors to make sure they bring you back as soon as possible.

 

I agree with many of you. I believe that if you are a good performer you should be compensated, but you need to be flexible. For instance. If your rate is $150.00 per hour and you get that for the one venue you do, try finding out what the going rate is in other places and work for their rate. Afterwords you can decide if it worth your while but meanwhile you earn some pocket money and you get your feet in the door. You can always ask for more once you are established and on their call list.

 

I hope this is some help and would like to hear any other ideas you may have.

 

Have a great day!

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The site in the link below is a great site for information about how to become a professional entertainer specifically for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and all elderly persons events.

I have been doing this a my full time job since 1992. www.seniorsentertainer.com

There are loads of pages of info about how to book gigs and what to play etc.

They love entertainment of all sorts but besides Bingo (haha) ) they love a singer/musician/entertainer best.

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I agree ---I did 180 PAID gigs last year...I also do a few wineries....typically the senior places pay $50 to $100 per hr (NE Ohio).....any time I can get PAID to play my guitar,and sing...I'm happy.....It does take some work...youve got to play the right tunes.

 

WWW.JOHNRUMAN.COM

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I started playing Sax again after a car accident put me on disability. 5 years ago my Mother moved into a assisted living Senior's community and I saw the opportunity to play in the nice large lounge with great acoustics on Sunday's when I visited. I have progressed from a 15 watt Roland using intermediate play along books to a 400 watt Yamaha pa /200 watt monitor and now playing songs from Real Books and Fake Books using Band in a box. I am now in the process of establishing places to play for pay. There is no shortage of places that hire entertainers, getting in touch with the coordinators who do the hiring has been tough. They don't return my voice mails, one can only assume that I am not the only one calling to get a piece of the entertainment budget. I played many 1 hour shows at my Mom's place so I am thinking I should offer free shows to get in the door. I have talked to a few of these places and one did ask if I sang, well I could before my accident but injuries to my neck made changed my voice. I do intend to consult a voice coach to see if something can be done. Any tips ?

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