I did two gigs today and the second one was at The Royal Edinburgh Hospital. This hospital ward is nearly 200 years old. I was told it was a locked ward and it would be a mixture of patients from 18 till 60 odds. When i arrived I was greeted by a patient called Joe and he was true gentleman. He called me Sir and shook my hand and told me to always shake hands with the left as that is the hand that has love in it. I really took to Joe, I'm guessing he was a lot younger than me but he seemed like he was the guy in the ward that everyone got a good laugh with.
I arrived early and checked the place out, the room was small and had a kitchen in back of it, a rectangle room with chairs and i was told by the lady who booked me, Julie, where i could expect to perform. I figured out pretty fast that i would only require my guitar and stand, no PA was necessary.
Julie told me that they get a lot of performers in and the music really goes down well and they would love to get more. Our conversation led to that events such as these are complementary therapy and that the focus and money that is given for budgets are more towards the drug companies. There is no doubt that drugs do have their place, they really do help people but there is denying that music is a special thing and people relate to it.
Julie told me that it would be great, and i agree, that if one on one time could be given with people to help them heal, i took this conversation to be all bout complimentary therapy and told her that i seen the therapeutic pet dog earlier in the day. She said they also have this in their ward around once a month. It was great way to start the evening as i felt she loved her job, she had the best interests of the patients at heart and was really trying to make a difference in these patients lives.
I arrived 1 hour early so Julie made me a cup of tea and i said i would come back as i had to make some telephone calls. I went to the car and read some chapters on music therapy. The paper i read which il need to note later spoke of the importance of music therapist blogging and writing papers and get close to hospital administrators and working with them to show the benefits of music in hospitals and care units. This was a good read and something i will cite in my essay, project proposal.
Around 6.20 pm i went back to the room and they have put on a buffet. I was amazed, good start i thought and the chairs where lined up like a theatre, I'm glad i don't suffer from stage fright. The eyes were all on me and i was a little on edge and when I'm like that i make joke and sometimes can say daft things, however Joe came in and said to everyone, "this guy is called Jason, he is sound and a genuine guy" everyone seemed to listen to him and i was pleased he had my back.
Ive been working on a performance that starts with older songs and works itself through the decades. I begin with a story about the song and then move on to it and ask them to Join in. Well! what a start! everyone was singing clapping and i was instantly welcomed into the group.
Over the next hour and a bit we moved through the decades sharing stories and telling each other about music and what it meant to them. The big learning point tonight can be summed up easily.
- tell them about the song, interesting fact, where when it was written and whats it about.
- tell them why you like it.
- if its from a film ask them to guess and then ask them at the end.
there is a definite art in getting people involved and laughing with them.
Overall i thought the gig was one of the best things i have been involved in and i felt really grateful to be in these peoples presence.
The most rewarding story from tonight’s performance was the nurse telling me that one of the ladies hadn't spoken for a while and normally keeps herself to herself. Julie said that the lady doesn't interact with people too well and that this changed this evening due to the music and engagement the lady had in the performance.
I remember seeing the lady singing along to the songs and leaning forward in her seat staring. She also interacted a lot and seemed very interesting in learning about the songs, such as the writers, the year it was released.
I left the ward with a massive smile and this could be the turning point for what I feel, musically is worthwhile. I really feel i made a difference tonight”
Moving forward i want to have a well rehearsed set so tight so amazing that it takes people away on a journey.