Mudcat Café message #755816 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49818   Message #755816
Posted By: Genie
28-Jul-02 - 02:44 AM
Thread Name: Getting nursing home gigs
Subject: RE: Getting nursing home gigs
Marion, musimic, et al.,
Re: playing/working pro bono: Many professionals--some highly paid-- do a certain amount of pro bono work each year, and I have no objection to that. It generally amounts to a small percentage of the service provider's working hours and is provided for clients who really can't afford to pay.

What I do object to is: - the idea that musicians shouldn't charge, because they are doing something they love to do, and - the idea that nursing/retirement homes are, by definition, low-budget or non-profit and, therefore, should not pay for what others pay for.

No matter what your job and how much you love it, it's still work, and there is skill, talent, time, expense, etc. involved. Musicians should no more be ashamed to accept money for their services than should any other artisan, professional, craftsman, laborer, etc.

Also, the little mom and pop grocery store down the street may well be on a tighter budget than are a lot of nursing homes, I've seen senior facilities waste tons of money on things like putting out huge food trays for a party 40 minutes after dinner and then throwing 80% of it away, or disposable party decorations (Are those really needed?), or running their sprinkler systems mid-afternoon on really hot days --and then say "we have no more budget for entertainment. Think about it: if a facility has 100 residents and pays $50 for a sing-along once a week, that's $2.00 per week per resident. Folks in some independent living residences pay way over $100,000 per year to live there. Moreover, in many states, senior faciltities--including foster homes-- are required by law to provide actitivities for their residents. Believe me, the state does not expect these facilities to provide such services by relying on volunteers only.

The only reason I generally do "free" programs for the kind of facility I usually charge is when it's a bona fide audition that I am assured will lead to regular employment if the residents like me -- or if I've screwed up (e.g., missed a gig due to a calendar SNAFU) and "owe" them. (I even occasionally have problems from using a sliding scale and have to explain that to folks.)