Mudcat Café message #3301111 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143037   Message #3301111
Posted By: Joe Offer
02-Feb-12 - 04:32 PM
Thread Name: Entertaining dementia patients
Subject: RE: Entertaining dementia patients
Well, Roderick, as I said above, my one attempt at jazz didn't work all that well. I have had pretty good luck singing "familiar" songs in nursing home - the ones kids sing in school, as opposed to pop songs people learn later in life.

I think that the interaction between a live singer and an audience, if far better for elderly audiences than recorded music could be - but it has to be real communication, not "talking down" to an audience.

One of my friends from the San Francisco Folk Music Club was in a nursing home for a couple of years, so a number of us would go to the nursing home to sing for him every couple of months. The staff gathered twenty or more residents in the community room, and we sang mostly well-known folk songs. We had about eight performers, all fairly accomplished musicians. We always had a good response from the residents, and many sang along.

I think the secret is to have real communication, nothing paternalistic or condescending. As in any performance, if you don't make a connection with your audience, you've failed. And if you can't make that connection, then they'd be better off listening to recorded music.