Need some aged cheese---help me out
I'm doing a really big dinner party gig soon and I don't quite have enough cheese. My collection of "old people who don't really like classical music but pretend they do to look smart" repertoire just isn't large enough for the length of the event.
Normally I would forgo the hunt for sheet music and just play out of the Real Book or something, but this particular event calls for the really pungent fromage. Sadly I don't listen to a lot of Andre Rieu so I don't know what's popular in old folks' homes nowadays.
If you have any suggestions (stuff like the Godfather theme or Christmas carols that are good for violin and piano) please leave them down below.
If you met the people I have to play for, you would not feel that way.
glad to see you're supplying the whine to go with the cheese yourself.
We live in a sort of historical watershed (is that the right expression?).
I've found that formal concerts at retirement communities tend to draw appreciative audiences that are typically pretty knowledgeable, so I wouldn't condescend. However, if you're just playing background music at a dinner party, you're providing a little bit of pleasant backdrop -- non-distracting easy listening.
Never forget that music can and does communicate with people suffering from severe mental disorders like nothing else can.
I certainly agree with Mr.Trevor that music can go deep within and touch off feelings that have been stagnant and dormant for a long time. I have played occasionally with my group in the past at a local nursing home and feel that it does not really matter so much what you play for them as they will enjoy anything you like to play. Alhough I have never played solo I think that I would play a mixture of jigs and reels and waltzes, Christmas songs, and even some of my favorite etudes and parts of concertos and they would be entertained and appreciative. We did put quite a few folks to sleep :)
"If you met the people I have to play for, you would not feel that way."
"music can and does communicate with people suffering from severe mental disorders"
Although it has been a few years since I played for "old folks" (many of them younger than I am now) I recall that they probably comprise the most appreciative audiences you will ever find. They take what you give them without judgement. They enjoy the human connection of having a live "entertainer." They like to tell you of their recollections of other musical events on of the music you play. Some, of course, will tell you the same things many times, not remembering they just told you.
The advantage of the Hal Leonard books is that many of them come with a backing-tracks CD (or digital files for download). No need to deal with one's rudimentary piano skills.
Worth noting that Andre Rieu won the "Premier Prix" in his youth when at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. In my book that establishes credentials, including playing Mozart concertos!
Where I live, we have all sorts of assisted/nursing home facilities - some more affluent than others.
Have you asked whom is paying for the gig what they would like to hear?
I understand what you say, Mary Ellen, and I fully agree. But don't be down on aged cheese. Eating Parmesan or a nicely mature Comté is a wonderful experience!
I'd like to mention that I'm not playing for actual seniors, which I would be enthused to do. I'm playing for an unpleasant, snobbish, upper-class family. But thank you all for the song suggestions.
Yike, not sure how to respond to that. Perhaps a touch of sophistication (think repertoire played on the Titanic) would be appreciated?
As a pretty non-sophisticated listener (but trying to learn more), you're likely looking for some easily recognized classical music. Pachelbel's Canon and Bach's Air on the G String, or a season from the Four Seasons (summer?). A search on Google for most famous classical music may get you some pieces.
People are people. You must find some common ground on which you can relate to your audience or you are going to have a miserable life as a musician.
Depending on the audience, I'd include a few waltzes and polkas by Emile Waldteufel and Johann Strauss Jr (all well out of copyright - see IMSLP). They'll surely bring back memories and get old feet moving in time with the music!
"Have you asked whom is paying for the gig what they would like to hear?"
"I would suggest adopting a less condescending attitude towards the people for whom you will be playing. I'm no fan of Andre Rieu but as someone who has played many times at my mother's assisted living/skilled nursing facility, your remark about "old folks' homes" is offensive. "
"Worth noting that Andre Rieu won the "Premier Prix" in his youth when at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. In my book that establishes credentials, including playing Mozart concertos!"
Cotten was misunderstood. He did not mention, that he gonna play in a nursery home.
Wow, what is really upsetting me here is that people tend to think that 'old people' only can live in nursing homes and are mentally ill or need to feel sorry for. Plenty of old people (wherever 'old' starts) have there own households living a rich and meaningfull life, being a full community member.
In my experience of playing background music at weddings and other social events there are always a few people who are thankful for the chance to listen to the music rather than participate in the conversation
But what is wrong with background music? It seems here in the discussion that there better can be no live music when people also are socializing. I really like live music also during dinner or wedding parties. Why can't we just both enjoy the music, listen for one moment and talk with someone the other moment, and sometimes do both (or pretend listening to someones talking but actually enjoy the music LOL)
I guess that's why background music was invented - to cover gaps in the conversation and provide an excuse for guests to check out for short periods without appearing lost or rude. And composers understood that. Mozart for one wrote reams of occasional music that doesn't demand or repay total concentration from the listener
Mozart composed 36 serenades/divertimenti/cassations/concertone, all meaning much the same thing and intended for social rather than formal occasions.
Here is the video of Heifetz playing the Rondo, as an encore.
that mozart rondo arrangement was done by kreisler and we have a recording of kreisler himself playing it:
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