Great pieces for performing at a nursing home
So. I`m thinking of performing at the local nursing home. Do you know some [classical] pieces that work well for older folks?
I am thinking of Canon in D, Moonlight Sonata, the Four Seasons, Rachmaninoff`s Vocalise, Schubert`s Standchen Serenade, and Monti`s Czardas. Any that you know that can be added to the list would be wonderful:)
I play both piano and violin, so if you have any in mind that are for primarily piano, that`s great, too (they have a piano there).
Thanks in advance.
There can be a big difference between nursing home residents and "older folks." You might check with the administration or caretakers at the home to get some idea of the demographics and mental conditions of their residents who might attend.
Over the years I have played for a lot audiences I didn't know very well (guessed their interests, but, really, these were mere speculations based on time and place, etc); and I have listened to performers I didn't know.
My recommendation would be to keep it light, simple, and to stay away from classical. I would do Broadway tunes, Tango, Kreisler, etc. My parents are in an assisted living home. I am only thinking of what they might be interested in hearing.
For the old folks nostalgia is very important and therapeutic. At least throw in some popular tunes from their day.
I play at my mother's assisted living center several times a year, where most of the residents are in their 80s or above (my mother is 91). The only classical pieces I usually play are Thais and Czardas--also occasionally Ave Maria. I play a lot of Broadway tunes, patriotic songs (including the military marches for the five branches of the armed services), popular songs, hymns, fiddle tunes, etc. Danny Boy is always a hit.
Some of the favorites at the nursing home we play include “Besame Mucho”, “Hey Good Lookin’”, “All of Me”, “Beyond The Sea”, “Happy Together” and just about any Beatles songs we’ve played. We also have made “God Bless America” a regular closing song and invite the audience to sing along.
My list would include: Take me out to the ballgame, You Raise Me Up, Over the Rainbow, Happy Trails, Crazy - Patsy Cline, You'll Never Walk Alone,
I've been playing once a month at a nursing home with a pianist for about ten years now. Show tunes are by far the most popular thing we do, especially a Rogers & Hammerstein collection with songs from The King and I, Oklahoma, and The Sound of Music. Well-known jazz standards also go over pretty well. Patriotic songs near the 4th of July, and carols and hymns in December are also very popular. We include some light classical for variety, which sometimes gets a good reception and sometimes doesn't. We've used this setting to try out some classical stuff we've worked on (e.g., Dvorak and Schubert sonatinas), and while this was useful for us, it didn't prompt much response. In your situation, I might tend to stay away from unaccompanied violin and spend most of the time playing piano. Or else enlist a pianist and buy a fat collection of show tunes, so you can play the vocal line on the fiddle.
What a neat coincidence as I’ve been planning to do the same and am trying to put together a program too. Thanks for the good ideas...some pieces I’ve been thinking of doing are the Heifetz arrangement of Estrellita, and Jeannie with the light brown hair, maybe Elgar’s Salut D’Amour, and some Bach...
Thanks for the suggestions.