Music Player Network Home Guitar Player Magazine Keyboard Magazine Bass Player Magazine EQ Magazine
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#2932271 - 06/11/18 11:15 AM Music selections for solo piano at a hospice
jeffinpghpa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 484
Loc: Charlotte, NC
I'm going to be volunteering twice per month to play solo piano at a hospice.

I've never played in this type of environment and I am struggling with selecting music that is both recognizable, but more importantly appropriate.

I am not the best person at reading what's appropriate for a hospice. Music selections can be both uplifting and inspirational, and deeply sad at the same time. For example, would performing songs like "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", "Autumn Leaves" or "Yesterday" be appropriate for a hospice? These are beautiful songs from the standards songbook, but I don't really if I am really going for upbeat or somber/reflective.

Some others that I was thinking of - Bridge over Troubled Waters, Against All Odds, Here Comes The Sun, Blackbird, Vienna, etc.

Is an instumental like "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" uplifting or depressing for someone in a hospice? I want to create a positive and enjoyable experience, without making it party music.

Interested in ideas from you all.
_________________________
Yamaha U1 Upright, Kurzweil Forte 7, Viscount Legend Live, Roland FA-07, Novation SLMKII 49, Lots of iPad Stuff, Pair of QSC K10 Speakers, Allen & Heath Zed 10 Mixer

Top
KC Island
#2932272 - 06/11/18 11:18 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jeffinpghpa]
J. Dan Offline
Bannination Free Since '08
10k Club

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 12330
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I wouldn't overthink it. I think they'll appreciate anything you play. I'm basing that on a couple times back in college that I played at a nursing home.
_________________________
Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

Top
#2932275 - 06/11/18 11:24 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: J. Dan]
Outkaster Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 6184
Loc: Rochester, NY
"Somewhere Over The Rainbow", "Autumn Leaves" or "Yesterday"? Great songs but also very sad in a way.
_________________________
"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


noblevibes.com


Top
#2932276 - 06/11/18 11:28 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: J. Dan]
slowtraveler Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 399
Loc: Boston, MA
Patients in hospice (and their families) can be all over the place emotionally--anywhere from peaceful to very anguished. Maybe ask the hospice staff for guidance as to programming. Also, it might be very much appreciated if you are willing to field an occasional request. Perhaps the staff could help with that, as well.

Top
#2932277 - 06/11/18 11:38 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: slowtraveler]
Rod S Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/12/00
Posts: 3063
Loc: S„o Paulo, Brasil
I second taking occasional requests - ask them for songs that are special to them. A lot of them are lonely and somebody playing something they really want to listen to will mean a lot!
_________________________
Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Yamaha CS6x / P140 / Motif ES Rack / Akai MPK249 / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II
MBP-LOGIC
American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

Top
#2932279 - 06/11/18 11:50 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Rod S]
timwat Offline
Quite wealthy...spiritually
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 5655
Loc: Concord,CA,UNITED STATES
I do this kind of gig occasionally; my wife works at a skilled nursing facility. Many patients check in, in all manner of states of mind, and spend out there days there.

Remember that music reaches those beset by memory loss, dementia and all levels / severity of impairment in ways nothing else does. A profoundly demented, non-cognizant senior may become completely lucid and remember entire lyrics to a song from their youth, yet return to non-responsive state soon as the song ends. This is the gift we bring.

Indeed, we are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams (Willy Wonka).

So my suggestion is play anything in your repertoire, and focus upon songs that date to a certain era that your audience may have an historical connection to. Elton John, perhaps not so much (or perhaps!). But the Great American Songbook isn't a collection of 'old standards' to this audience - it's the pop music of their youth.

Some of them grew up as youngsters listening to "If You Knew Susie" and "Charleston". It Had to Be You might be a song from grade school. You get the idea.

As always playing solo, I think the thing that matters most is melody. Make the melody sing. Folks will recognize and hum along - even if you never know it.

Of all the many things we do, and the many people we will play for, I think the music we bring without fanfare or applause to the weakest amongst us is perhaps the highest and most noble thing we do as musicians. Quietly, in small and shaded little facilities on tired nameless pianos. May someone bring us some music we love if we are lucky enough to live to see our twilight days.
_________________________
"I'm not just untalented. I'm multi untalented."

Top
#2932284 - 06/11/18 12:00 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: timwat]
Bill H. Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 4000
Loc: Columbia River Gorge, US
Played piano at my mom's assisted care center for years while she was alive. Anything is appreciated, but what would really engage the seniors was uptempo swing - just the cheesiest most familiar stuff like Blue Moon, Beyond The Sea, Cheek To Cheek, All Of Me. They'd smile, clap, and sometimes even get up and dance.

Put smiles on their faces and they'll love you every time smile

Edit: Don't know if this is a senior's hospice or not, but whatever it is, I'd try to keep the music positive and not be shy about playing uptempo. These are different sorts of things than - say - dinner music gigs. They will actually be listening wink


Edited by Bill H. (06/11/18 12:21 PM)

Top
#2932293 - 06/11/18 12:48 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Bill H.]
ElmerJFudd Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 6317
Loc: USA, greater NY area
Show tunes and other hits from the 50s and 60s.
Great American song book as well.
Songs with great sentiment about th important things in life. Love, good times, good friends and memories, exotic places, lift people and illicit escape from our earthly shackles.
_________________________
Live: Yamaha S90ES, Roland VR-700
Home: Rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k

Top
#2932294 - 06/11/18 12:57 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Bill H.]
PianoMan51 Online   content
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 1010
Loc: Cabin In The Woods
Hospice is different than a skilled nursing facility. At a hospice ďpatients ď are coming in for their last day or hours. You arenít there to make them feel better. Youíre there to help them let go. You donít want them to sing along or be attracted to your music. You want to make music that will ease their transition from life to death in the most profoundly spiritual way possible.

Perhaps start a song but transition into a modal improvisation without melody or harmonic progression.

There are loads of sites on the web that can help.

Top
#2932296 - 06/11/18 01:03 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: PianoMan51]
drawback Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 3559
Loc: Victoria BC, Canada
I think the OP is on the right track (don't do Don't Let The Sun..) but I wonder too if some light classical would be appropriate.
_________________________
SL88 Studio | MainStage | Ravenscroft 275 | Canterbury Rhodes | UVI Tines Anthology | Mojo61 + Lower | Korg Module + Scarbee | Kawai KG-2C

Top
#2932301 - 06/11/18 01:34 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: drawback]
slowtraveler Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/07/13
Posts: 399
Loc: Boston, MA
My brother worked for a while as a hospice chaplain. He said he was most effective when he approached a visit with no preconceptions. He found that people in hospice wanted many different things: to pray; to sing a song; to be entertained or distracted; to make small talk; and (sometimes) to talk about the meaning of their lives or impending deaths.

I think timwat's suggestion is very appropriate. Play anything in your repertoire, focus on things your listeners may have a connection to, and try not to make assumptions about what your role should be.

Top
#2932304 - 06/11/18 01:45 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: slowtraveler]
Joe Muscara Online   content
Triple Secret Banninated
10k Club

Registered: 02/21/05
Posts: 19790
Loc: Heaven, Hell, or Houston
Perhaps this is obvious, but if you're going to be playing twice a month, you can adjust the set list as time goes on based on what works and what doesn't. As previously suggested, you might want to ask the staff before your first gig what they suggest. If they've had other musicians there they may remember some tunes that worked for them. As you go on, you will learn what works and you might adjust depending on the audience and the response that day. It's probably really important to be flexible.

Keep us posted on how it goes! thu
_________________________
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams ó Willy Wonka

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M0eMkcc91E

Top
#2932311 - 06/11/18 02:25 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Joe Muscara]
zxcvbnm098 Online   content
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/02/05
Posts: 1331
Loc: Southern Calif.
Hospice workers are angels on earth.

We had hospice care for both of my parents, and their compassion and kindness was so amazing it's hard to put into words. They are truly special people...

Top
#2932314 - 06/11/18 03:07 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: zxcvbnm098]
jerrythek Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 1013
You didn't mention that you sing... without words I wouldn't worry about ANY song. They're all just melodies, and memories. You're not speaking any specific subject/topic, it's simply (hopefully) memorable music. Don't overthink it.

Jerry

Top
#2932315 - 06/11/18 03:19 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jerrythek]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 436
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
I do visits, along with another pastor from our church, weekly to hospice and assisted living patients. My mother resides in an assisted living community and they have a piano in the main lobby that gets a workout from a variety of players with an even greater variety of talent. My only thought would be to see if the hospice would provide you a list of the resident's ages (only). Take their ages and guestimate where the majority would have been in their second decade of life (10-20 - The time period most people develop their musical tastes). See if you can find songs from that time period and I doubt seriously you will have any complaints. Yes, this may be overthinking it a bit, but it provides a learning experience while doing it and narrows the songlist a little.
_________________________
Don

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

ARP (Korg) Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8


Top
#2932318 - 06/11/18 03:47 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Desert Rat]
Adan Online   content
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/14/10
Posts: 2604
Loc: San Francisco
As others have said, don't overthink it. They are delighted by anything they recognize.
_________________________
Petrof upright, Crumar Seven, Crumar Mojo 61, Korg Vox Continental, Korg Prologue.

roccoromanucci.com

Top
#2932320 - 06/11/18 04:10 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Bill H.]
Bobadohshe Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 5866
Loc: San Diego / Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Bill H.
Edit: Don't know if this is a senior's hospice or not, but whatever it is, I'd try to keep the music positive and not be shy about playing uptempo. These are different sorts of things than - say - dinner music gigs. They will actually be listening wink


Really great point.

I wouldn't shy away from the tunes that you suggested because of potentially sad lyrics. Just play these beautiful songs of old and you'll be good to go.
_________________________
Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section
https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

Top
#2932324 - 06/11/18 04:35 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jeffinpghpa]
Jg53 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/24/14
Posts: 96
Loc: Pennsylvania USA
Ask yourself what music you would like to hear if you were the patient.

Top
#2932325 - 06/11/18 04:42 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Bobadohshe]
DulceLabs.com Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 5183
Loc: CLASSIFIED
Normally I would be with those who say "don't overthink it". But it in this day in age...I wouldn't take any chances. (FWIW, I'd be more concerned about the hospice patient's family, visitors, or even the staff being "offended" about any particular song choice.)

On my last cruise, someone yelled "Are you f-ing kidding me??? -- and stormed out of atrium" when the Russian string pop quartet girls (yeah -- they have those now - THANK YOU CARNIVAL! ) played "My Heart Will Go On" (for those not wanting to do the math: Song from Titanic on a cruise ship.)

My suggestion: Have the facility ask its patients what songs they'd like to hear during their stay or something. At least if you get push-back you can say it was requested.


Top
#2932333 - 06/11/18 06:42 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jeffinpghpa]
SteveCoscia Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/26/12
Posts: 603
Loc: Philadelphia, PA USA
I started playing piano at local hospice centers in February. It is rewarding. Sometimes the patients are barely conscious and other times they're lively and engaged. It's all good.

Repertoire is mostly 1920s to 1950s standards. Below are a few.

Tea For Two
I Got a Crush On You
Pennies From Heaven
Watch What Happens
Blue and Sentimental
Rhapsody In Blue (abridged & improvised)
Tenderly
Misty
More
Lady Is a Tramp
I Get a Kick Out of You

Your playing will be much appreciated by the hospice audience. Best of luck.
_________________________
Steve Coscia
https://soundcloud.com/steve-coscia

Top
#2932337 - 06/11/18 09:02 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: SteveCoscia]
hardware Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 03/04/14
Posts: 1369
Loc: Macau
War Pigs
We Wont Get Fooled Again
Foreplay/Longtime
Yesterday
Wild Thing (Sam Kinneson version)
_________________________
Magnus C350 + FMR RNP + Realistic Unisphere Mic

Top
#2932340 - 06/11/18 10:26 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jeffinpghpa]
Mighty Motif Max Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/14/16
Posts: 312
Loc: Northeastern MN, U.S.
Iíve done this sort of thing for a long time, actually since before I really started gigging.

So from my experience, here is the advice I have:

Lighter stuff from the 1920s up through the early 50s always works well. Jazzy stuff especially. Stuff from Broadway. More ďgentleĒ stuff is always appreciated too. Easy listening, Jim Brickman-style, and Frank Sinatra type stuff too. Sometimes, depending on the crowd, some ragtime type stuff works really well. Some well-known hymns can work too, since many will recognize the melody regardless. As a general rule of thumb, you want to play more stuff in major keys than in minor keys. Try to avoid really sad songs, either lyrics-wise, or tune-wise. Music is powerful, and often, for those in hospice and their families, the music sets the tone of the rest of their day, or for some patients, even their week. An occasional newer song is ok too, many enjoy the entertainment aspect as well, so if it has a good rhythm to it, it can work. Probably nothing too heavy though. If itís decently musical, it works ok.

All this is assuming that this is an older crowd, and there is no voice. However, younger people often enjoy solo piano as much as the older people. If you play well, most people will enjoy listening.


-Max


Edited by Mighty Motif Max (06/11/18 10:29 PM)
_________________________
Yamaha: Motif XF8, YS200, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, MSR100, PSS-470. Korg Krome 61

Titano Virtuoso Converter, Resident Audio T4, Casio CT-370, Kimball Valencia/Broadway, Shure SM-57

Top
#2932361 - 06/12/18 05:16 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: Mighty Motif Max]
jeffinpghpa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 484
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Yes, Max! That's exactly it. I am not singing. I would play this in a Jim Brickman easy listening style. I don't get many opportunities to gig in this style of playing and it's a nice repertoire.

I would mostly be playing as instrumental piano playing, but I have some really nice multis in my Kurzweil Forte that add some lush strings, pads, melodies on a flute or oboe, or some nice acoustic guitar patches for some other songs.

But yes, this is just easy listening instrumental. My rock and jazz friends don't really do this thing. It's both to give the gift of music as well as get a chance to play in a style that I often do alone with headphones or in my house, but never as a performance.

I really appreciate the advice - thank you!

Jeff
_________________________
Yamaha U1 Upright, Kurzweil Forte 7, Viscount Legend Live, Roland FA-07, Novation SLMKII 49, Lots of iPad Stuff, Pair of QSC K10 Speakers, Allen & Heath Zed 10 Mixer

Top
#2932366 - 06/12/18 05:58 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: hardware]
MotiDave Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 12/04/12
Posts: 1826
Loc: San Diego, CA USA
Originally Posted By: hardware
War Pigs
We Wont Get Fooled Again
Foreplay/Longtime
Yesterday
Wild Thing (Sam Kinneson version)

Bro, i want you to play at my hospice before i pass over to the other side!!

For OP - something compels me to recommend Mack The Knife.
_________________________
The baiting I do is purely for entertainment value. Please feel free to ignore it.

Top
#2932379 - 06/12/18 06:57 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jeffinpghpa]
RABid Offline
10k Club

Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 12486
Originally Posted By: jeffinpghpa
...

Some others that I was thinking of - Bridge over Troubled Waters, Against All Odds, Here Comes The Sun, Blackbird, Vienna, etc.

...


Don't remind them of their problems, help them escape for a while. Stick to happy, cheerful songs that reminds them of their youth. Hospice can have a wide range of age. Anyone can have cancer. Take a variety of music and see what flies.
_________________________
This post edited for speling.

Top
#2932382 - 06/12/18 07:05 AM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: MotiDave]
hatricklov Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/20/01
Posts: 238
Loc: CO
Semi-related story, in that this was for a senior center and not a hospice...

It was back in '92 in a rural community and I was asked to play a few songs. I had my parents luckily to help me overthink the playlist and played a number of ragtime and 1920s thru 1950s songs that I knew.

After 10-12 minutes, one of the seniors asked if they could make a request. Granted I was a teenager, but I played in a local country-rock band... so I said sure, if I know it.

She said, "Can you play Achey Breaky Heart by Billy Rae Cyrus?" It was the overplayed, country hit of the year at that time. Unfortunately, I knew how to play the (ridiculously simple) song... but happily obliged!

Moral of my story... there's always great songs from any decade or era, and ones that will take you back to a memory. But there's also something to be said about knowing/hearing a current song and feeling hip to the times. My two cents.

Go entertain and have fun!
_________________________
MainStage; Hammond SK1-73; Roland XP-80, JV-90, JV-1080, JV-1010, AX-1; Korg microSAMPLER;
Boss DR-880; Beat Buddy; Neo Instruments Ventilator; TC Electronic ND-1 Nova Delay

Top
#2932447 - 06/12/18 12:57 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: hatricklov]
raddtunes Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 03/09/06
Posts: 608
Loc: vegas
Joining the "don't overthink it" chorus here, but here's a guideline I use in similar situations - -

If the song is extremely well-known - - and if the main lyric hook of the song is something that is blatantly going to be a problem for the circumstance, then simply avoid that tune.

It's come up for me doing background music for political parties, and at events advocating social causes.

Top
#2932453 - 06/12/18 01:39 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: raddtunes]
MathOfInsects Online   content
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/04/15
Posts: 3442
Loc: California
While I agree with the "don't overthink it, music is music" wing of the party, I would maybe think twice before playing "Another One Bites the Dust."
_________________________
"

Top
#2932469 - 06/12/18 04:27 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: MathOfInsects]
Synthaholic Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 04/18/05
Posts: 1656
Loc: Proud Resister of 2nd helpings
Moon River
Young At Heart
Last Date
Wave
Tennessee Waltz
Love Me Tender
Iím So Lonesome I Could Cry
Letís Get Away From It All
Jamaica Farewell
Song Sung Blue
South Of The Border
L-O-V-E
Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime
What A Wonderful World
Crazy
Always On My Mind
_________________________
The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

Top
#2932470 - 06/12/18 04:45 PM Re: Music selections for solo piano at a hospice [Re: jeffinpghpa]
SteveCoscia Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/26/12
Posts: 603
Loc: Philadelphia, PA USA
Something else that works with the hospice crowd is a brief oral history of a song (i.e. composition year, the show from which the song came, the composer's background, etc. etc.). The audience enjoys the verbal break between songs and it adds a little lighthearted variety.

This oral interplay evolved over time and they like it.
_________________________
Steve Coscia
https://soundcloud.com/steve-coscia

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Moderator:  Dave Bryce, Stephen Fortner