Perhaps you’ve been thinking of getting gigs, but hard to find one because hotels and restaurants have regular performers? Well, you don’t need to fret right away. You don’t necessarily go to the extremes of performing on the street when you can get good pay somewhere — in the nursing homes.
Yes. You read it right — from the nursing homes where we put our older members of the family. Perhaps, you might say it’s challenging? Of course, it is, but the reward is mind-blowing. Do you want to know?
Contact the Nursing Home
That’s the first thing that you need to do. In every city or state, there should be at least one nursing home. Of course, if there’s none, at least your quest is further narrowed down.
You may visit the nursing homes right away or you can call the Activity Coordinators directly or anyone who is in charge of the activities to be given to the elders. Ask every single question you can think of before agreeing to perform on any nursing home.
And, that may include the payment, but, it’s important that our elderlies will love your music first. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time imagining what it looks like to earn a living through music but you even haven’t started yet.
Should You Volunteer?
When you perform in the nursing homes, your audiences are not your fans (yet). Some of them don’t even hear you well. Or, some may not see you. So, you have to make some adjustments.
If the nursing homes have an activity center or have regular musicians going there to play for the elderly, maybe they have already average costs per hour. However, if not yet, it’s very important to start slow.
No matter how good you are as a singer or as a performer, if you can’t hold their attention, then, playing at nursing homes isn’t your thing. For example, you are in the middle of your performance and someone cries, while another person said something bad to you. Not all who are in the nursing home are as normal as you are.
You need to be versatile and capture their hearts. If you can hold their attention, and they begin to respond to your music, then, your future as a musician will be much brighter than the sun. So, starting slow and maybe voluntarily at first will help you gain trust and love from our dear elderly.
Of course, you cannot make it a career if you’ll play without a fee all the time. But maybe, build your career in six months to one year, you’ll be surprised at how much growth it brings to you and your career. Even though you don’t have any regular fee yet, but gigs will surely be coming here and there, just wait for it.
Playing in nursing homes really takes time, effort and a lot of adjustments. But, it’s rewarding because you can gain more gigs, at the same time, loved by some least loved in our society.
Of course, even if you volunteer for the first time, sometimes the nursing homes already have an idea of how much musicians cost based on their previous experiences. So, if it’s your first time (unless you’re very famous) you can start volunteering or agree with the price they are willing to pay, rather than not being able to play, at all.
Maybe after six months or so, you’ll start telling them that it won’t suffice or you can’t make a living on voluntary gigs. If the Activities Director or someone in the nursing homes knows how well you make everyone there happy, they’ll be very grateful to you and may agree with your terms.
On average, musicians who made a living in nursing homes have a rate of around $80 to $150 per hour. Yes, you read it right again, it’s not $8, but a minimum of $80 per hour. On weekdays, some musicians will change $80 or $85. On Saturdays, maybe $100 and on Sunday, $150.
The pricing can vary based on your experience. However, nursing homes are willing to pay that much because they know how difficult it is to adjust and to communicate with people with unpredictable behaviors. But, if you have the power (through your music) to keep their attention to you, you are one step closer to a very rewarding career at the nursing homes.
Benefits of Playing in Nursing Homes
The good thing about playing in nursing homes is that you are not only playing for our sick, elderly or those with extreme conditions, but you are also playing for their families. Even if you start slow as a volunteer, if you’re that good, some people may hire you to play at weddings, 100th birthday, engagement parties, special events, etc.
What’s more rewarding is when you get to play for the 100th birthday. The pay is also big, probably going to be $1000 or more for just a couple of hours. On top of the pay, learn what else is more rewarding in playing in nursing homes from this YouTube video:
Yes, it may take a lot of adjustments both mentally, emotionally and even physically, but it’s more than rewarding. It will not only help you hone yourself as a good artist, but it also helps you learn to communicate and interact with other people. So, if you can capture the hearts of these people, how much more for those who are living outside of nursing homes?
It might be unimaginable to start your career in a nursing home. But, for a minimum of $80 per hour, who doesn’t want that? Of course, there’s no gain without hard work. First, you have to put your head into adjusting a lot of things.
You have to pick the right song and maybe learn some songs in the 1960s or earlier. Maybe you have to extend your patience a bit because all the people might walk out after a minute of your performance. However, if you can withstand these distractions and turn your performance around, it’s a rewarding career. Who doesn’t want a $150 per hour pay every day rate?