Friday, September 30, 2016

Singing to Senior Adults: #3 - What to bring with you . . .

Part 1 - Getting your foot in the door to sing to senior adults
Part 2 - Treat the first ttime to sing to senior adults as an audition.
Part 3 - The basic equipment you need to bring with you.
Part 4 - Giving senior adults the chance to experience emotion through music.
Part 5 - The "Do's and Don'ts" when singing to senior adults.

What do you bring with you when you sing for seniors?   My personal list is not that long.

First . . . bring YOU!  Sounds simple, and kind of silly as well.  But if you don't show up, there isn't any music!  If you are a solo performer, then be sure to make every effort to arrive a few minutes early.  Setting up to sing for senior adults seldom takes me more than 5 minutes, even with tuning.  Be on time and be prepared.  Be dressed appropriately for the venue and for the event.

Second . . . bring your instrument!  There are several times in my singing history when I have shown up in a rush to get to the venue, and I brought the wrong guitar . . . which is always the one that has a broken string, or needs a fret job, etc.  The time to check your instrument is BEFORE you arrive at the venue.  Here is another argument for having one guitar.

Third . . . you need music!   OK, there are several options here.  If you have all your music memorized (and bless you if your mind favors this approach) then you are good to go. I have memorized quite a few songs: however, I do not sing every day.  Sometimes I need to have the song in front of me. If nothing else, it gives me the the confidence to quickly glance for the word or guitar chord that I might be forgetting.

When I first started singing, I simply sang from a songbook with the pages marked with Post-It notes.  As my song list expanded over time, and my eyes got worse over the years, I began printing out songs on two 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of paper, and brought all the copies with me in a nice 3-ring notebook. The nice thing about printing songs on two sheets that face each other, you can adjust the print size for old eyes.

If you use a songbook or a notebook, then be sure to bring a music stand!  There are no guarantees that any venue where you sing to senior adults will have a music stand.

I made the switch to an iPad about 4 years ago.   Wow!   Now I have EVERY song I know, and some I don't know, at my fingertips. No more heavy 3-ring notebooks!   I use the My Lyric Book app.  In My Lyric Book, you can organize multiple sets of songs, or create a songlist specific to your situation.   I also use an AirTurn BT-105 bluetooth floor pedal, which helps advance the words to the song on the iPad screen.  It can also advance my iPad screen to the next song on the set list!  Great right?  It is . . .  IF you keep the batteries charged on both the iPad and the AirTurn pedal!

If you use an iPad, or another model of tablet computer, then you will need a music stand or a tablet holder attached to a mic stand.  There are countless numbers of tablet holders available.  Lot's of music stores have them, and you can find one to fit your tablet computer on the internet in no time at all.

Fourth . . . bring the appropriate accessories!  My list is based on my personal preferences.   Your list may be different.  I bring a small back pack in which I carry my iPad and AirTurn pedal.  I have a spare guitar strap, a capo, a couple extra sets of strings, and a winding/string cutting tool.  I bring an electronic tuner, unless my guitar has one installed.  I bring a couple extra  9-volt or AA batteries for the guitar, and  batteries for the tuners.  I bring extra charging cabels for the iPad and for the AirTurn pedal.  I keep a 12' extention cord in my car to use in case I forgot to charge the iPad or foot pedal.

I always have extra guitar picks with me in a small pick holder attached to my key chain. You want to keep guitar picks handy in your pocket, or in your guitar case.

You will notice that I haven't mentioned anything about amplifiers.  At all venues, I usually play one of my Martin's, or one of my Guild jumbos.  My guitars are all loud guitars.  I don't need to strum or pick at them hard to get a good sound.  And . . . my experience is that senior adults, with hearing aides, don't care for amplified music.   I have a voice that projects well, and the venues I play are usually hard walled dining rooms or activity rooms, with hard floors.  If you want an amp or portable PA, check out the Lucas Nano PA system.

So . . . all I carry into a venue is, in one hand, my guitar (in the case).  In the other hand I have my folding mic stand with my iPad holder attached.  Over my shoulder I have my small back pack with my iPad, AirTurn pedal and accessories over my should.  Easy in, easy set-up, easy pack-up, and easy out to my car.

I hope this article gets you thinking about simplifying your set up, especailly if you primarily play the guitar.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

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