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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
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One of my best friends is a nursing director at an upscale retirement community. Her daughter works in the day-care facility, which is where people who tend to their parents can bring them while they go to work. Most of these folks are very old, at least physically, and can't really tend to themselves.

Anyhow, I wondered out loud if they'd like to do sing-a-longs with a guitar player leading them. She was quite emphatic that they would and very much wants me to do this. So, probably July (after recovery) I will go down and entertain the Seniors with my accoustic in hand.

Who would have ever thunk it? Me, playing in front of people. <gulp>

#1: I imagine the group would be, oh, 15-25 folks. My accoustic is a Taylor. Think it'll be plenty, or should I bring my small amp and play very, very clean with my most mellow electric? (I can get some mellow tones out of my LP custom easy enough).

#2: Songs. I'm trying to dig back into ancient small town NH memory what people used to like to sing along to. The only one I could come up with right away was "Down In The Valley". Anyone got an others you might suggest?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Roy, they'll love it.

My school does our student recitals at a local nursing and rehabilitation center. I figure it helps our students get ready for "real life" performances by having a bigger audience, and it lets us give back to the community by providing entertainment (and other stuff - we keep their piano maintained, so any residents who play have something that's regularly tuned to play on).

Depending on the size of the center, 15-25 folks might be low. Our latest recital drew between 80-90. If you're cooped up, musical entertainment is a very popular diversion. But acoustic will be probably be enough; about half our students perform without amplification, and everybody seems to hear them ok... and with a singalong, they'll have reinforcement throughout the room.

Songs - anything is good; our last recital ranged from Bach to Beatles to gypsy jazz. It seems like at least a few people were familiar with anything we played. But if you want to go with tunes everybody (or at least most people) will know, think about tunes like "Amazing Grace", "When the Saints Go Marching In", "Red River Valley", etc. If most of the folks are 75+, you could also just Google the playlists of Sing Along with Mitch :)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
Topic starter  

I'll be sure to have her print off some big fonted lyric sheets.

Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to google that too.

I'll find out how many people are in there every day. It's an auxillery building, so not the whole community. <phew> My guitar has a booming voice, so strumming the chords a bit to lead a sing-a-long should not be taxing on it's capabilities. I think the seniors would find an accoustic put them more visually at ease.

We (our motorcycle riding club) did motorcycle days there too. They loved it. A few of them wanted and got rides around the parking lot and such. Have not made the last two, but it was too hot anyways. We're going to schedule them in the Autumn from now on.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@daven)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 184
 

That's a wonderful idea Roy! I might have to see if I can set up something like it.


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(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1885
 

Top 75 songs of the 1940s
Top 100 songs of the 1950s

If my math is right, that should represent many of the "songs of our youth" for folks over 70.

Also, you might check a used book store for one of the Readers Digest "Treasury of Song" type books. There are several and have a lot of music from the '40s to the '70s. They usually have a separate lyrics pamphlet, which you might zoom up on a photocopier to hand out.

Now all you have to do is learn to sing like Frank Sinatra or Rosemary Clooney

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
Topic starter  

That's a wonderful idea Roy! I might have to see if I can set up something like it.
We don't treat old folks well enough. Sit down and listen to 'em sometime. Lots of funny, whimsical and wise stories to be heard. I can sit and listen to my step father and my best friend's father go on and on and on for hours. I have the latter's Air Force patch and high school baseball mitt proudly displayed in my baseball showcase.

Kent_eh, that looks about right to me. Gotta do Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer. Who doesn't like a little Christmas in July? The Andrews Sisters one too. Thanks for the links. Heck, I think I sound just like Sinatra in the shower. All goes to heck when I sit down in front of the mic. Reminds me of this Norman Rockwell painting.

I thought of another one to try for a sing-a-long. Ol Susanna (sp?).

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Roy, bear with me a minute or so here, I'm just musing out loud.....

If my old folks were still alive, they'd have been 88 (Dad) and 82(Mum), so they'd have been young adults at the start of WWII. Their generation's music was Sinatra, the "Big Band Sound," and the American music the GI's brought over...the Glenn Miller sound, if you like. (There were literally THOUSANDS of American soldiers and airmen stationed in this part of the world - Burtonwood was, I think, the biggest US air base in Europe during the war, and for a while afterwards, and Newton-le-Willows - where I grew up and live, and where my grandparents and parents grew up, was the nearest town to Burtonwood to have regular dances, etc, and the Americans would always bring their records for the DJ's to play. Dunno if they were called DJ's in those days - comperes, perhaps? - but you get the point.)

Both my parents and grandparents seemed to like what you'd call the crooners - Sinatra, Perry Como, Al Martino, Bing Crosby etc....

But one thing to bear in mind, it might be an idea to delve back a little further than that....my old folks knew the songs (and sang along with 'em all!) that my grandparents grew up with....I'm really struggling memory-wise to remember any of them, but "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Strolling" are a couple that spring to mind. So perhaps a few from the 20's and 30's might be remembered fondly by the older folks?

Anyway, I hope you - and the old folks - have a great time. Rock their (bobby)socks!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@daven)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 184
 

You might also look to Hank Williams. Some good waltz numbers like So Lonesome I Could Cry, Tennessee Waltz.


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(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1885
 

How's your finger picking?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE1t2uj-fl4&feature=PlayList&p=F4EA6C552E82E803&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=27

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@hobson)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 794
 

I started to write about the logistics of playing/singing in retirement homes and nursing homes. If you've spent time in the place, you already know the layout and what shape the residents are in. Keep in mind that a lot of these folks don't hear very well. I do this type of volunteer gig a lot with my community chorus. Sometimes I play guitar and sometimes just sing, since we have a keyboard player.

A funny hat or a prop keeps the audience's attention. Life is pretty uneventful when you're surrounded by the same walls day after day. These people probably do get out some, but anything different is welcome.

Some songs that seem to be favorites are:

Jada Jada Jing Jing Jing
A Bushel and a Peck
Sentimental Journey
So Long, It's Been Good to Know Ya
Glow Worm
Mr. Sandman
Any early Elvis tune
Catch a Falling Star
Lollipop
You Are My Sunshine
Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra
Mairzy Doates
Sentimental Journey
Peg O My Heart
I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover

Anything seasonal goes over well. So "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in the Spring is nice. Summer songs at the appropriate time, Christmas songs in December of course, love songs in February. Some banter with the audience is good, something they can relate to about the song.

Maybe only a few in the audience will sing, but that's OK. We always have one or two who seem to know all the songs. My chorus has different songbooks for each month. They're just 8 ½" X 11" lyric sheets that are photocopied, folded in half, and stapled. We hand them out to the chorus and the audience.

If there's a PA announcement or someone in the audience has an immediate medical problem, it's usually best to keep playing. The staff will take care of it. If the paramedics are working on someone right in front of you, you might want to take a short break.

Renee


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(@frankyl)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
 

Shoot, you've got time before you go in to do this. Maybe your friend could do a little asking around to see what the folks there would like you to play. You're sure to get some that just aren't feasible, but I bet you'll get a bunch of great ideas, too.


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
Topic starter  

Kent, that was awesome. No, I only finger pick one song. Same four chords all song long too. (Land Slide by Fleetwood Mac)

Hobson, thanks for that list and for the tips too. (Welcome to GN, btw) I think "You Are My Sunshine" fits the bill. I'll have to look up the rest.

Frankyl, good idea. I'll ask her and her mom. She did mention as an example a Gospel song called Amazing Grace.

And Mr Vic, thats the stuff I had in mind. The old timey Traditional type songs that were a staple way back when. My mother's generation did nothing musically..all 9 of them, but her father and his siblings all played "in the parlor" as I'm told and the kids would all sit in rows up the stairs. Gramps was a trumpet player. Wait, I take that back. An uncle of mine took up the flute. No idea if he still plays. Anyhow, those traditional songs are classic sing-a-longs.

Oh, and Glen Miller was stationed over there too. Met his demise on a plane ride to somewhere in main land europe IIRC. Belgium, maybe?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

A real easy sing-along is "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain"
(Probably one of the first songs my mom taught us to sing)

Here's a link to a Blue Grass style with the chords . . . but just regular strumming works good too.
http://www.jamplay.com/guitar-lessons/full/intro-to-bluegrass-87.html

The words can't be easier. http://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/shellbecominroundthemountain.htm
. . . and you can make up your own.

I can't help but laugh when I start playing this . . . but then I'm easily amused. :?

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


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(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
Topic starter  

Duh! I can't believe I forgot that one, KR2. Well, maybe. I better have some I.D. on me or else they'll not let me leave the way my memory has been lately.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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 Celt
(@celt)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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I use to work in a Retirement Community and found that stuff like
John Denver, Willie Nelson and the already mentioned Hank Williams
go over well.

Traditional folk is always good and don't shy away from a little rock
and roll.

John

My SoundClick Page

Collaborations

" It's easier than waiting around to die" Townes Van Zandt


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