Saturday, October 29, 2016

Texas Plains - Kristyn Harris





Kristyn Harris recently performed for the Crowley House of Hope Annual Volunteer Dinner which we were honored to host at the church where I serve as Pastor.  This is the 2nd time Kristyn has performed here . . . and we really appreciate her talent very much!  There are 50 or more videos of her on Facebook!

Enjoy!  This will lift your spirits!

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tommy Emmanuel with Sungha Jung ~ Day Tripper / Lady Madonna



This is a great video of Tommy Emmanuel and Sungha Jung.   I bet Tommy will pass on the torch to Sungha one day.  Both incredible guitar players.

Now, get this, all you are going to here is two guitarists, but it sound like they have a backing band.  Incredible.

Please enjoy!  Don't forget to make your own music today!  Sing to bless your soul and the soul of someone else!

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

Friday, October 14, 2016

Singing to Senior Adults: #5 - Do's and Don'ts when singing to older adults

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.

Over the course of singing to older adults for 20+ years . . . I've learned the following:

Do's . . .

1) Be on time.  I try to be early when I can . . . hopefully arriving 10 minutes early to set up and greet people.  If I am running late, due to traffic or dealing with something at the church, I will call and advise that I will be a little late.  they almost always understand.

2) Be prepared.  If I forget my iPad, no big deal.  I have enough songs memorized that I can sing with out it.  If you don't have the right songs memorized, that could be a problem.  So be prepared.  Make sure you iPad or tablet computer is fully charged, or that the songs you need are in your notebook.  Over the course of time, you will memorize songs.  It's not hard.

3) Engage the audience.  It's all about the performance.  The nature of the performance is often the therapeutic element.  You are providing the audience a chance to have a bit of a respite from life, to forget about their pain or loneliness for a few moments.

4) Verbally invite them to sing with you!   You will be surprised how many of them will sing with you, especially old Elvis songs or Gospel songs.


Don'ts . . .

1) Don't "flake" out.  If you have to cancel or can't make it, call and let your contact know ASAP.  Program and Life Enrichment Directors at nursing homes know that people sometimes have to cancel for various appropriate reasons.

2) Don't use a sound system, unless your voice needs it, or only if the Director asks you to use one.   My voice naturally carries well.  Most Dining or Activity Rooms are no problem for me.  I usually play a jumbo style guitar that projects well, even when strummed softly.  If you use a sound system, speak and sing with a normal voice.  If I sing with a mic, I will usually sing a bit softer than normal.

3) Don't react or allow your feelings to be hurt.  In a nursing home setting, their will be intercom announcements while you sing.  Audience members will talk to each other.  People will often be coming and going.  Rehab staff will come and take people to rehab.  A doctor will arrive and need to see a patient.   Just keep singing.  You are not there for you . . . you are there for the people you sing to.  It all usually works out.  If you have ever sung in a bar, or during a meal for a large group, you understand.

What Do's and Don'ts are on your list?  Let me know!

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

Friday, October 7, 2016

Singing to Senior Adults: #4 - Giving older adults the chance to experience emotion through music

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.

Singing for Senior Adults opens a wide variety of musical choices.

But sooner or later, you are going to sing a song that someone in the audience identifies with on a deeply emotional basis.  Please . . . consider letting them have that moment.

For some seniors, it may be a very happy memory of a day gone by, and the tears you see are reflective and contemplative tears of joy.

For others, it may be an unhappy memory.  But a memory they are none-the-less willing to feel the pain of again as a way of grieving.

I like to sing the old Pete Seeger song, "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine."  The last verse is about preparing for death . . . and the last line before the chorus is, "O Lord, I'd do it again" in reference to how they felt about the life that had been lived.  Life is meant to be reflected upon, especially by those seniors who still have the mental and emotional abiltiy to do so.  Also remember, that most songs, are about life.

Some love songs will affect some in the audience.

Some ballads will as well.

Some gospel songs will also affect the people you are entertaining.

That being said, I don't force songs on my audience.  After a while you get to know them, and you know what they like.  Some audiences want to sing with you.  Some audiences want you to sing to them.  Each older adult in the audience has a need.  You can't meet all their needs. Choose your song set wisely.

I've found that when I notice someone having a quiet emotional moment with a song . . . they will come tell me about it.  Most of the comments were, "that was my loved one's favorite song" or "that was a song we danced to" or "that's a song my momma used to sing."  If you have the time, listen to their story.  Be sure to thank them for sharing with you.

Also remember, some of the songs may very well affect you.  Every time I sing "My Cup Runneth Over With Love" . . . I usually shed a tear or two thinking about my wife and our 40+ year relationship together.

Choose your songs carefully . . . the "Branson" method of choosing your song set is still a good one.  If youve been to any of the musical variety shows at any music theater in Branson, you know that you will hear . . .

-Gospel
-Old time rock-n-roll
-Classic Country
-and Patriotic songs

The same kind of song set will usually work when singing to seniors.

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