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Many of you know I play a lot of retirement communities and in doing so I deal with a lot of Activity Directors and needless to say these guys always have their hands and plates full: So with this in mind and in an effort to make their functions a little more professional I have started providing a play-list a week or two in advance for each upcoming performance via email attachment.

The play-list includes the name of the songs, the genre, something about the arrangement they will be hearing and of course the author’s and most popular recording artist names.

All the directors have to do is print it out, make copies and place them on the tables in their respective venues. So far the retirement community clients tell us they really enjoy not only knowing what song is coming up next, but also a little history about each song.

A little tip for what it's worth,

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Hi Danny,

Excellent idea! I will add that to my standard op.

I do a lot of retirement here in OR. Been at it several years.

What has helped me organize is an excel spreadsheet with place,address, town, phone #, gig scheduled,fee, date of gig, time of gig, name of act dir, email of act dir, notes with multiple schedulings for quick ref. I then have a 3 hole calendar with the years bookings.(The calendar is in the back of my play book which goes to the gig and can be added to on site.) I then have a file drawer with each place per file with all pertinent notes for them. When I go out on a gig I take the folder and my calendar. I always get a mapquest directions to go in the folder as I travel 100 miles to all the little towns. Recently I have been handing the Act dir a sheet asking for a testimonial to be sent to me and to a local retirement music website that will post them which gets me more work and which I can email out for promotion.

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Hi Richard,

You certainly are buttoned up as they say. By the way as I type this I am listening to and enjoying some of the music on your site, very nice indeed.

By the way I too use the critique sheets with the ADs on my list and some of them actually make copies for their clients to fill in. This way they get it straight from the "horses mouth" just who are the crowd favorites. Also I encourage them to book a variety of acts just to keep the functions from getting stale.

Best to ya!

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My mom has moved to a nursing home and it has got me thinking about playing in some of those. I'm thinking what you guys are doing is in a little different setting but maybe you've done some playing in nursing homes too. Any tips for me?


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Steve,

PM me with any questions and/or concerns and I'll do my best to get you started on the right path and not to steer you wrong.

Later,

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Those are great tips guys.

Might I add to that..
Leave a couple CD's with 'key' residents and the results can be amazing.
A free bonus, like those handouts with songlist (and history), or a CD with a few choice songs can make the impression last, and also get reconfirmed over time.

Marketing, man; it works when done right.

... well sales ability helps too. But your marketing will boost the sales every time.


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This is some interesting stuff, and I have a question:

How do you handle the copyright/performance issues in regards to the music copyright holder? Does ASCAP/BMI handle this aspect for you? Or do you have to make some other arrangement? If you play an established music venue the venue itself will handle any payments, etc., but I was wondering how performing at a retirement home and similar places works. I realize that original works are not a problem, but I was asking about the covers.

Thanks in advance.


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I am guessing the same way any other venue books a musical act, they are responsible to handle the payments. I would also think that any venue who books musical acts is by the nature of the bookings "an established music venue", not just the clubs with liquor license etc. Also keep in mind that the Lion's share of these communities are tax free non-profit operations so they may just be exempt. I guess the fact is I just don't know for sure. Just my thoughts for whatever they may be worth. I do know that I am toooo old to worry about it.

Later,

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Quote:

Perhaps you will be downsizing when you retire and you simply want a small apartment, or maybe you still want a house of your own. Either way you'll be able to find a retirement community that has just what you need. Some of them offer standalone houses along with condo style living and others are filled with mobile homes. Figure out what type of home you'll be happy living in and find a park that offers that.




arizona retirement community




Just curious . . . as it seems you are affiliated with the property you are plugging here does this property bring in music acts for it's residents?

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Great subject here. I am a vocal singer and have decided I want to take my act on the road i.e., Seniors, Banquets etc. I am using BIAB Ultra Pak which has the Real Tracks. Man, this program presents great live sounds and I feel confident as never before that the musicians have performed wonderfully. My forte is singing standards with modern Pop/Ballads trickled in through out the list. I have been told my style is like Nat King Cole, my all time favorite is Tony Bennett. I am a Jazz Singer.

QUESTION: I play very little piano and I don't want to make a fool out of myself in front of an audience I plan to pre-record my repertoire I figure approximately four sets at with 5-6 songs a set. With your experience:
1. Are four sets too many sets and is it a good idea?
2. Since the songs are ASCAP / BMI registered should I just take donations?
3. Which is the best way to approach the director?
4. Should I push CD's (donations) since these folks are on fixed or no incomes?

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Quote:

QUESTION: I play very little piano and I don't want to make a fool out of myself in front of an audience I plan to pre-record my repertoire I figure approximately four sets at with 5-6 songs a set. With your experience:
1. Are four sets too many sets and is it a good idea?
2. Since the songs are ASCAP / BMI registered should I just take donations?
3. Which is the best way to approach the director?
4. Should I push CD's (donations) since these folks are on fixed or no incomes?




For starters (and not that it would or should hold you back from getting your feet wet ASAP) I would do my best to become more proficient with an instrument, in your case the piano Not that I think you "must" play an instrument on these gigs, as I know two - three acts locally here who sing to backing tracks only. I say this because the two - three I know are definitely in the minority as 99% of the solo or duos play at least one instrument. But again I would not let that stop me, I would let that be an incentive to do a little woodsheding on the piano. Heck with the realtracks now available one instrument does not have to carry a melody for an entire gig or even an entire song. Sing a chorus or two, play a solo on the piano then let the realtracks take a ride or tow . . . life is good!

1. Are four sets too many sets and is it a good idea?

In my retirement communities (60 of them presently) they like a one hour party. With this said I would recommend one long set. But how your break it down will depend on you and your audience.

2. Since the songs are ASCAP / BMI registered should I just take donations?

What I hear from my directors is that if they are any ASCAP etc. fees to be paid it is done by the establishment. However most of these communities are non-profit I am guessing that they have away around this because of their status.

3. Which is the best way to approach the director?

Do an internet search for retirement communities in your area and then just make a call, or either drive by in person to introduce yourself. I would have a recent CD or at least a website where they can go to audition your act.

4. Should I push CD's (donations) since these folks are on fixed or no incomes?

Heck man everyone is on a fixed income, some are just better fixed than others. Don't fool yourself some of the communities have very wealthy clients/residents, especially the Independent and Assisted Living communities. On a personal note I don't push CD's but I do give some away to certain residents who make from time to time request one.

Remember 99.9% of retirement facilities have entertainment budgets and that included the nursing homes not just the upscale Independent and Assisted Living properties. So don't be afraid to ask your price once you determine what it is of course. My experience has shown if they don't tell you right up front they can't afford the price, your asking price is within their operating budget. I know in my area acts get anywhere from 50.00 - 100.00 for a straight 1 hour music gig.

And of course for a starting point, I would factor in the competitive set i.e. what acts are currently charging and how your act stacks up to theirs, but keep in mind in many communities the residents have a lot to say about the entertainment booked in their respective communities

Hope this helps, let me know if I can be of assistance.

Now Break A Leg!

Later,

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Danny, you have answered a wealth of questions filled with wonderful information. Much appreciated. I agree the programs will no doubt be one hour gigs. A one hour set seems good filled with standards. Having a CD available for those who request a copy seems nice too. Well, I guess I have my work cut out. I too am a senior retired with nothin' but time on my hands, this should be fun.

RE: Playing solos with the piano this is a good idea. I can pull that off. I do play a little even a one note solo if necessary (smile). I do have a small keyboard to carry a long. If nothing else I'll fake it LOL!!! Pre-record a piano solo and rehearse it. After all I am playing with a virtual band. (smile) Thanks Danny.

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Gorilla,

One thing I'll add is that I currently and have been from the start using BIAB live via laptop and have had ZERO issues on 75-100 shows a year. Now I know that many here go in an opposite direction, not saying I am right and they are wrong, just saying live works great for me every-time . . . especially with the faster generating realtracks in version 2010.

Good Luck!

Later,

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Here's another tip:

I live in a retirement village and my band - the other members being much younger than me - plays there from time to time.

Please don't make the common mistake of thinking that just because the audience is old, they only like old music. They didn't stop listening to their radios back in 1945!

The residents of my village love to rock on and when we play a line dance bracket, or some boogie/blues they jump up and keep dancing until we run out of steam.

They also like a bit of musical humour and so we have managed to get the Hockey Pockey into our boogie bracket. Try this:

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out
You put your left foot in, you're gettin' groovy
(repeat)
You gotta get down, turn around, hoe down
The (name your club) club boogie etc.

Another thing we do, thanks to inspiration from the Blind Boys of Alabama is "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun". Goes down a treat!


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Quote:

Here's another tip:Please don't make the common mistake of thinking that just because the audience is old, they only like old music. They didn't stop listening to their radios back in 1945!





Tony,

That's a great piece of advice. I always thought there was something wrong with me - Music-taste wise (and otherwise). I'm 51 years old now and I mostly run into people who can't relate to me musically -- Most I find have a single genre and some have as many as three or so, but I'm ridiculous! Here's my list:

My top Genre's (right now):
  • Contemporary / mild-Rock Christian
  • Jazz - Funk
  • Jazz - Fusion
  • Jazz - Contemporary Cool Smooth
  • 70's and some 80's Mild Rock
  • Jazz - High strung 40's Bop
  • 70's R&B - Especially 70's Funk


My "Also" Genre's (that I also listen to):
  • Country - Not too Old, Not too Modern
  • 70's Rock - Boston, Foreigner, Journey, Eagles, BTO, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac
  • Folk - Especially like John Denver stuff for which I was severely teased about when I was a teenager
  • R&B - All types (you wouldn't believe my album collection)
  • 70's Disco - Some
  • Classical - Some


My all time favorite - I'd have to say 70's Funk / R&B.

I know there's some pretty weird combinations listed up there, and I find myself "shifting" from time to time - I guess I get board if I've listened to one genre too long.

My grandfather was a classically-trained pianist who played the vaudeville circuit. He taught me piano and the two of us used to play jazz karaoke for grandma -- Once in awhile grandpa would slip her a "special" tune and he'd laugh like there's no tomorrow watching grandma scowl while he played. Off the top of his head one night he combined a Duke Ellington tune (don't remember the tune now), with a jazzed-up version of Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith) and he ended it with Pink Floyd's Brick In The Wall! Yah, I would say I've got some of grandpa's genes! At the time, I remember he was in his 60's and I can remember wondering to myself, "How does grandpa know anything about Pink Floyd and Aerosmith?" Grandpa was always cool.

So no, I am NOT the one who creates our band's sets. Thank God! I could see it now ... I'd have them poor folks disco-dancing to Boston wearing Elton's "shoes" and Michael Jackson's glove while reminiscing over Woody Herman!


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Is the above message from jonmilton s p a m ? Sure reads like it. I'm not clicking on smart card to find out. Board Administrator could you check????

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