Mudcat Café message #757846 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49818   Message #757846
Posted By: Genie
31-Jul-02 - 09:31 PM
Thread Name: Getting nursing home gigs
Subject: RE: Getting nursing home gigs
Marion, here's a tip about getting re-hired by the same facility after you've performed there.  By all means, contact the activity director for feedback and to try to re-book ASAP after you perform.  There are several reasons for this:

 - There's high turnover in activity directory positions.  Wait 2 or 3 months and the one that hired you may very well be gone, and your "track record" with her/him.

 - Many ADs book far in advance.  You need to be aware of which ones do this, of course.  But some will tell you they book month to month, and then they'll one day get ambitious and book the rest of the year in June.  If you didn't happen to call them while they were doing that booking, you may well be left out.  (Yes, some of them do kind of take a first-call-first-booked approach.)

 - Many of your clients -- the audience members,that is -- have short-term memory deficits.  If performer X has sung for them 18 over the past 3 years and you come to sing for them once, and they adore you, the residents may very well ask the AD to invite you back--if they are asked right away.  What do you expect happens when, 3 to 6 months after you were there, the AD asks them "Who would you like to have sing for you?

One other tip about being invited or being invited back:  Some facilities  let resident councils choose the entertainment.
    If possible, determine who is likely to be on the resident council, and pay special attention to their tastes and preferences in your program.
    Some convalescent homes, e.g., will have a lot of low-functioning residents present in a sing-along or concert, as well as a few who are quite alert and verbal.   Guess which ones will be on the resident council.  So, if most of the residents respond best to "Jesus Loves Me," "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean," and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," but some of the younger, more alert, more vocal participants keep asking for Patsy Cline, Elvis and Garth Brooks songs, some ADs will let those more vocal residents choose the singers who do what they like, even if it does not engage the majority of residents.
(I'm not saying you should ignore the "silent majority"--just that you could do a program that was perfect for 90% of the residents and not be invited back as readily as you would if you tailored the entire program to the other 10%.)

It's not a bad idea to explore these issues with the AD, to find out how they decide whether and when to invite a performer back.