Posted by fiddlepogo on Monday, April 6, 2009
In my other musical life, I play electric guitar (Stratocaster) on the churches praise team. The leader took several weeks off because his wife is going to have a baby. The drummer is the substitute praise team leader, and he has a band that's doing the worship music during that 3 weeks. They already have an electric guitarist, and the substitute leader likes my fiddling, so I decided to stretch a little and do that.
Practice went well, fortunately the tunes were mostly in D or G, with one in Em, and only one in E, which is a hard key for me. If it's a hard key, I count myself doing good to just play the melody, no flights of fancy!
I probably played the most violinistic I've ever played, with LOOOOOOOOOONG bow strokes... but still very little vibrato. I also did some improv on the pentatonic scale very similar to what I do on guitar.
And it even went well Sunday morning... for both services. It was the first Sunday we did two. Unfortunately that means practice started at 7:45 AM!!!!!!!!!!! So the fact that it went well was amazing, since I felt kind of like a zombie.
Today I did one of my volunteer performances at a nursing home. I guess it must have gone well- the seniors were unusually effusive in their thanks. I did about 35 minutes of fiddle:
Listen to the Mockingbird
Danny Boy (someone asked for something Irish)
San Antonio Rose (a request- barely got through it!)
On Top of Old Smokey (also a request)
Aura Lee (tune aka Love Me Tender)
She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
Then Oh Susanna on banjo (one fellow's FAVORITE song- he practically GLOWS when I play it- and he's not in very good shape,and fairly young too.) and a couple of other banjo songs, then stuff sung with guitar accompaniment, including:
Wabash Cannonball (request)
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Molly Malone (request)
How Great Thou Art (request)
12 Gates to the City (request)
and probably a couple I can't remember right now.
With seniors, chestnuts are GOLDEN!!! They are more likely to remember and recognize them, even with Alzheimer's. In fact, the guy that was most effusive in his thanks was an Alzheimer's patient- it feels REALLY good to be able to get through to them, since a lot of things don't. When they start singing along, you know your on target!
3 comments on “Something Different...”
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 @4:20:50 AM
Nice blog post. I'd love to get to the point where I could play at a nursing home with a few friends . . . Another goal to add to my list!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 @3:45:33 AM
You're right on the money about known tunes and Altzheimers. My wife and I would dress up in Midieval costumes and go to nursing homes on Christmas Eve / Christmas day after our daughter had grown up and moved away. I would play guitar, and we would sing carols. We would work up six songs and go from room to room playing 2 or 3 in each but always one of them would be Silent Night. Even people with Altheimers who can't recognize much thats familiar, would sing along or cry or sit with a beatific look on their faces that could move you to tears. Unbelievable----this gift of music that we are given. Not to be taken lightly.................. So PLAY that banjor on your knee!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 @1:10:31 PM
Good story, Mudbug,
and a good idea for Christmas caroling!
Yes, it's a good goal. One big plus: slow tunes are good, usually.
The key is the familiarity of the tune to them.
And it's usually a very encouraging audience.
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'"Different Versions"' 17 hrs
'Cornerless Fiddle' 2 days
'That time of Year' 3 days