Mudcat Café message #2288027 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109300   Message #2288027
Posted By: Genie
14-Mar-08 - 02:32 AM
Thread Name: Gigs (that pay better than coffee houses)
Subject: RE: Gigs (that pay better than coffee houses)
KT, you're right that in nursing and even assisted living homes interruptions may happen, for very good reason, that could be misinterpreted. Nurses passing out meds, for example.

What I'm talking about, though, is the sort of rudeness that, while common in a pub, is not common in, say, a school setting or even at a concert at a drop-in senior center.   A program is in session and things like this happen:
- dining room staff shout instructions (or chit chat) to each other across the room instead of approaching each other to speak without yelling
- a family member or staffer strikes up a conversation with a resident, seemingly oblivious that they are making it hard for the others to hear the program
- staff members engage in loud personal (non-resident-care-related) conversation during a program of unamplified music (or even a movie or other program)

That's the sort of thing where, occasionally I've had to politely ask people if they could talk a little softer. When that request is met with disdain, as though I and my music were the issue, it tells me that the needs and rights of the residents are not being considered.

Why point this out here? Only because there seem to bee some (too many, I think) people who wouldn't cavalierely interrupt or upstage a lecture or church service or a house concert or school class but who think nothing of doing same in a program for old folks. I do think that kind of dismissive attitude exists and is something you have to cope with in such venues.   
In fact, if it were not for that kind of interruption, I would not need my amplifier and mic in many of the nursing and rehab centers and retirement residences where I do gigs.   The rooms and audiences are often small enough that if you didn't have to contend with side conversations, announcements over the PA, etc., an acoustic guitar and one voice would work just fine.    But because of the common extraneous noise I almost always do use amplification.   

(There's more I could say about the types of interruptions/interference that are peculiar to nursing homes, but that's probably better left to another thread.)

Today, while doing dining room and room-to-room music in a Jewish retirement resident, I found out that one of their residents, a Persian-born lady who speaks Farsi and Arabic but not English or Hebrew, is 106 years old.   Her son told me she's "going downhill very fast," and he also told me she speaks French.   He asked her for me if she would like to hear a French song and she said yes, so I sang "La Vie En Rose," and her eyes lit up and she smiled at me.   That's one kind of thing that makes doing music for the "elderly" so rewarding, even if I could make more money doing something else.

The other thing about music gigs in senior facilties is that they're usually during the day, seldom ending after 7 or 8 PM.   For many musicians, this means being able to work the coffeehouse or bar gigs in addition to, not instead of.