Matthew Shelton Assisted Living Performing: I perform on a regular basis for Assisted Living facilities. Assisted Living facilities are wonderful for getting to see the results of a passionate and inspired performance because assisted living residents truly appreciate any sort of brightening of their lives. This is even more so if it happens to be primarily performing music that they really love and remember.
I have many times been performing for an assisted living facility and have as part of the performance gotten close to various residents and really concentrated upon them, letting them know that I see them and that I’m here for them, that they are important to me and matter to me.
Combine that with the appreciation for the song itself and it is really truly wonderful to see assisted living residents eyes light up with joy, happiness and appreciation, even if responding with their eyes is the only response that they really can give.
It actually is more meaningful if that is the level of their functionality – that they are putting that much effort into responding to the music that I’m giving them and in creating a moment between us that hopefully will continue on and brighten their day and perhaps their outlook for who knows how much further in the future.
Of course, I like to play as much music as possible that residents know and enjoy and appreciate, especially from their childhood and school days, because it brings forth such memories of youth and happiness and good times.
What I do to keep as much of a mix of this is possible in my performances is perform several different genres, from Americana, which would be things like “Oh Susanna” and things like that, to even as early as nursery rhymes, and songs by famous performers such as Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby. Also, music from famous movies such as The Wizard of Oz.
As much as possible, I like to choose songs that have a very positive and uplifting message – we all need positive messages, and residents in assisted living facilities even more so.
In that regard one of my favorite songs to play for people is “Keep on the Sunny Side“
“Keep on the sunny side
Always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day
It will guide us all the way
If we keep on the sunny side of life”
Another genre that is very appropriate for being positive and uplifting are gospel songs and old hymns, which I find in residents truly enjoy in wonderful ways.
Matthew Shelton Memory Unit Playing
Of all of the music that I perform regularly, for much as possible I try to adapt what I call “memory style” playing to the songs, for Memory Unit playing.
In memory-style playing, when an Assisted Living facility hires Matthew Shelton, when I play for the Memory Unit quite often what I do is this style of playing where I will be keeping the beat of the song, speak the line or perhaps a couple lines of the lyrics of the song, and then sing and play those lines immediately after while keeping the beat of the song.
I’ve found that there are many songs actually quite enjoyable to play in this style, some of them quite surprising – Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes is a good example. The simpler the lyrics are, the more suitable it is to adapt a song to my memory-style of playing for Memory Units.
Note: “Simple” lyrics does not mean that is song is simplistic – many of the most meaningful songs in the world have quite simple lyrics.
What are the advantages to Memory Unit residents of my memory-style playing?
By getting a immediate prompt before the lyric line is played and sung, the chance is considerably higher that the Memory Unit residents will be able to sing that line along with me or at least be able to speak that line with me or perhaps even just follow along within their minds and have some enjoyable reminiscing in that way.
This I believe ads a lot of value to my memory playing. It is unique, effective, and fun for everyone involved.
A very interesting thing is that quite often the audience, whether it is the Memory Unit residents or perhaps the Staff at the Assisted Living facility, will find just by being in the room that they too are learning the song even if perhaps they do not know it at all up until that time. This is really a great thing for everyone involved.
Imagine if you will that you don’t know the words to a few of these classic, beautiful songs: Somewhere over the Rainbow, and It’s a Beautiful World.
Just by listening to “Matthew Shelton’s memory-style” of playing then you will come a long way toward learning that song!
And of course if I come back again then you probably will learn more of that song – the same is true for residents.
There are so many beautiful and uplifting songs that are part of our culture and are part of our consciousness and yet many of them have slipped through the cracks and are not songs that we hardly hear ever again. Even more of a shame is when our children are not aware of these songs, and don’t know the song.
This is another major benefit of the Memory Unit memory-style of playing that I do.
As a side note, I’ve found that some of these songs can be extremely therapeutic just to pull them out of your hat so to speak whenever you may need a mood change.
For example, just the other day I was with my wife and daughter at a store and we had gotten what we wanted and when we found that we went up to the checkout that the checkout line was very long I was not happy about this but my daughter who is very aware of these sort of things said that I ought to do something to change my emotions.
I said okay why don’t we sing. I started singing the first lines of “somewhere over the rainbow” right there in the checkout line and my wife and daughter suddenly joined in with me.
The beauty of us all three singing that song together, that beautiful hopeful uplifting song just changed my mood immediately. It really was a moment that I will remember forever, just that one little thing, just this one little technique made such a difference.
So this is something that really might want to try-I would really highly recommend it.
Look for more Matthew Shelton Assisted Living Performing – I will be adding more videos and information – thanks.