Mudcat Café message #2291398 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #109300   Message #2291398
Posted By: pavane
18-Mar-08 - 04:18 AM
Thread Name: Gigs (that pay better than coffee houses)
Subject: RE: Gigs (that pay better than coffee houses)
Mrs Pavane has been doing nursing homes, respite hotels, day centres for some years now. She finds it a steady income, not too much strain, and easy to fit around the rest of her life.

I agree with the points made earlier:

4) backing trax for songs that old ladies like. Ask them. But think Al Jolson Fred Astaire, Gershwin, Porter, Fifties Scmaltz - Franjie Vaughan and early Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdink. These are expensive - they ain't run of the mill backing trax - you have to search like hell for them and they need to be in your key - or as mear as you can get.

4) a decent radio mike. Walk round sing to them individually. shake hands, make contact. Smile - sometimes its the friendliest face they will see all week. And be cheerful, you are doing a job you love - if you don't love performing - I can't imagine how soul destroying it might be. some people are very ill and can scarcely respond, but its brilliant when they do. beats anything!

5) a little trolley to take your stuff round in..

but professional backing tracks for old songs are quite easy to find, from a few well known suppliers. Not cheap, but not expensive either, 3 to 5 each. And we get them as MIDI files which we can transpose to whatever key is needed (As an Alto, she rarely finds tracks in the right key). It does help to have a good MIDI player or sound card, we use Roland.

As a guide, she asks 40 to 45 for an hour's singing (includes mileage). We know some people ask (and get) more, though.

She uses TWO radio mikes, a cheap one one to hand to the residents so they can sing along. It is surprising how many want to, and she has found more than one trained singer or musician in her audience. It does help if you like people.

As for songs, anything up to the 1960's or even 1970's, but also old songs like Daisy, Daisy, and I'm forever blowing bubbles, which they sing along to.

Here in Wales, a few songs in Welsh also go down very well, and are appreciated by the Welsh speakers.