Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I know if you're right for my residents?
My ideal audience, those who will get the most out of my shows, are those who are around 75 and over, and especially those in dementia and nursing units.
I am not a sophisticated, stand at the front, cabaret singer - rather, I specialise in the type of heartwarming, peaceful approach needed for joyful singalongs in dementia and nursing units.
My colourful costumes are specifically designed to make me into a beacon for poorly, tired residents.
My vocal range is Contralto - this is the deepest female voice, and will be the pitch that most of your female residents over 60 will have so it's easy for them to sing along with me. It's a soft, warm, gentle sound. I used to be shy about it when I was younger, but it suits my audiences so much now that I'm grateful to have it.
Question: Why do you still often sing songs from 1940s and earlier? Aren't these songs way too old fashioned now?
I do a lot of different eras and themes. But for many of my audiences who are living with dementia, and especially those who are in their 80s and older, these very old songs are so ingrained into their childhood and young adult memories that they can access them much easier than later songs.
And these are the songs from the eras when people used to *sing* (rather than songs from 1950s and 60s when people would dance) and so everyone knows all the words.
These songs are joyful and have such a sense of safe familiarity, you'll even see residents joining in who haven't spoken or engaged for a long time.
Question: Why do you have two speakers?
I'll never forget going into a dementia unit, and the manager saying "Have it on as loud as you want, they're all deaf" (yikes!)
The ideal volume for dementia and nursing units, including those residents with hearing problems, is as if someone is sitting next to the resident, speaking clearly near their ear, not shouting.
I have two small speakers (placed directly onto the floor, no trip-hazard stands) which I safely spread out, all wires tucked away, so that those residents closest to me, and those further away, all get the same soft gentle clear volume.
Question: Why, in non-covid times, do you give out photo souvenirs?
Because, in community living, possessions become very important. The photo souvenirs cost me pennies to make, but residents treasure them, staff put them on the wall in the resident's room to show families that the person has had entertainment - some residents even frame them.
Question: Why, in non-covid times, do you give out tambourines and maracas?
It's all to do with being able to engage the maximum number of residents as possible. For those who can't, or don't want to sing along, they can still hold a sparkle maraca- shake it, poke their neighbour with it, watch the beads going round inside it - it's all a part of being engaged with the music.
Question: Why do you wear bright fancy costumes and hats?
It's all to do with engagement. 99% of the time, your residents see staff tunics and visitors' everyday clothes. When I come into the room in all the finery, to "oohs" and "aahs" and applause, I know I've already got their attention and positive reaction.
Question: Why do you announce each song as it's starting?
Because it lets the residents access the song in their minds, so they're ready to sing straight away. It's especially important with the older songs, as many of them are very short.
Question: Why are you always smiling?
Because I'm always happy! But also, as I'm chatting with the audience as I'm setting up, I stay very smiley, because it lets them know that I'm a kind, gentle, warm, safe person to be with.