[Dixielandjazz] Play for pay!

Gluetje1 at aol.com Gluetje1 at aol.com
Tue Jun 5 13:50:14 PDT 2007

Something I try to do and even occasionally experience a mite of  success:  I 
meet retirees living on their pension who see it as  good-hearted charity to 
play music, be in a vocal quartet, etc. and entertain  for free for civic 
events, senior citizens, etc.  I try to see if a bit of  education and information 
will help.  Education in making sure they  know such places do have an 
entertainment budget.  Compliments that it  is great that they want to give their 
time and talent to charity.  Then I  make suggestion that their group could 
charge and then donate their earnings to  whatever "actual" charity they wanted.  
Also ask them if they know what the  income circumstances are for longstanding 
professional musicians in their  area.  They don't.  Try to point out that it 
may be uncharitable to be  taking money away from musicians who do need these 
jobs to meet living  expenses.  Suggest they make it a fair competition for 
gigs.  I  actually know a couple of groups that did indeed decide to stop 
playing for free  as a result of such conversation.  It's not hard to come up with 
charities  in actual need.
The other piece of "education" is to try and help the person engaging the  
group to reflect on what they are "doing" to their audience when they inflict  
poor quality entertainment because it's free; subtly suggest how this  reflects 
on them.
More than once I have had entertainers tell me that entertaining in nursing  
homes is no different than entertaining pre-schoolers. And they mean it!   
Right down to their selection of grade school songs and their clown,  
infantalizing, antics.   What an insult!!

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