Volunteering repertoire

January 19, 2018, 8:02 PM · Hi,

I am going to be volunteering at the hospital with my local orchestra and I need something to play (solo piece). Preferably, something easy and slow like a movement of a violin sonata, for instance. There isn't a length on limit, but I would prefer something that doesn't really need piano accompaniment and something I can put together in a few days.

Thank you

Replies (12)

Edited: January 19, 2018, 8:43 PM · More info would be useful. Community orchestra, high school orchestra? what is your level of playing since that will make a difference in how fast you can learn a given piece.

Kreisler Rondino on a theme by Beethoven. It sounds ok without piano even though there is a piano part for it.

January 19, 2018, 8:46 PM · You could do something like Dvorak 4 Romantic Pieces (Just do one movement), but in a hospital, they will probably just want to hear something they recognize. You can't go wrong with something by the Beatles or Elvis.
January 19, 2018, 9:43 PM · If you're playing just by yourself, I would go with show tunes or other really light classical. Things like Salut d'Amour or Thais sound okay unaccompanied. Solo Bach is okay but not in quantity, probably.
Edited: January 20, 2018, 6:43 AM · I play at my mother's assisted living center several times a year, usually unaccompanied. I often play Thais and Czardas; both sound OK unaccompanied. I also play show tunes, patriotic songs, and hymns. I don't play anything heavy or too long. The key is to play recognizable pieces that they will enjoy and maybe even start singing along to.

Editing to add that if you are playing for children in this hospital, children's songs are also appropriate.

January 19, 2018, 10:28 PM · Swan by Saint-Saens would be nice. Fiddle tunes are a good choice too.
January 20, 2018, 7:40 PM · Bach Andante!
Edited: January 21, 2018, 7:39 AM · I have done many gigs as a pianist accompanying singers at a large retirement community / assisted-care facility. Nothing ... and I mean NOTHING ... puts tears in their eyes more than patriotic songs. America the Beautiful, Battle Hymn of the Republic, etc. They also like hymns and things like Ashokan Farewell. A medley of show tunes would go over very well too. Definitely NOT Bach.
January 20, 2018, 8:04 PM · Bach beaten by America the beautiful! That’s interesting.
January 20, 2018, 8:32 PM · The Bach E-major Preludio is something that I think casual listeners can enjoy, and possibly some of the other lighter dance movements, but otherwise I agree with Paul.
Edited: January 20, 2018, 10:52 PM · "Bach beaten by America the beautiful! That’s interesting."

You have to consider the audience. The odds are low that sick people in hospitals or elderly (and also often sick) people in nursing homes are going to have the patience or the concentration to listen to Bach. Most likely few of them were concertgoers in their previous lives.* This is not the time to impose something unfamiliar, especially something long and unfamiliar, especially something long and unfamiliar that requires effort or focus to listen to.

*because the percentage of the population in general that goes to classical music concerts is low.

January 20, 2018, 11:58 PM · Rachel Barton Pine has said that Bach is always correct. I would recommend something short and melodic, such as the themes from Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring or something from Anna Magdalena Book. I would also recommend the same things that others here have recommended, including patriotic songs, show tunes (age appropriate), hymns, folk tunes, and fiddle tunes.
January 21, 2018, 10:16 AM · To add (and NOT stating lighter pieces are "wrong"): my classical music-ignorant grandmother loved the G minor Sonata Adagio-complex and "alien" as you think it may be. Bach was an amazing composer, to achieve such a feat.

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