I suppose this has been a thread here before but I really want to vent.
I do gigs at retirement homes, assisted living homes, nursing homes,and hospital facilities.
Well there is a awful trend going on IMO.
At some places there is little funding available to hire musicians to play piano/sing and such.
Why is it that the music programs suffer first in nursing facilities (as in some school systems also) when funds get low?
Music programs often seem low on the priority list and at times it seems Bingo activiies and card games are rated higher than music.
I have seen how much good that having "live" music is able to add to the quality of life of the residents in such facilities. Live music is able to reach some people for whom recorded music gets tuned out.
But there is sad trend I am seeing in the nursing home and church sorts of venues.... "entertainers that come in with Karaoke systems and boom boxes" that are taking the gigs that used to support live music in my area.
These folks with their fancy professional karaoke systems don't help the cause of keeping good pianos in facilities like nursing homes ; as the need for maintained pianos isn't as pressing if you can just hire someone to bring in some canned sound instead of hiring piano players and such. It sux because good karaoke singers are a dime a dozen really ; and bad karaoke singers are way too bountiful.
Some of these karaoke guys go from one place to another taking up gigs that working pianists can use. Some of these karaoke backed singers get payed if they do well at singing on key and knowing how to push the buttons and set things up. Some do it for free. But none of the Karaoke singers can match the results a real musician can get on a decent piano and nice voice.
Meanwhile venues that used to have live music several times weekly sometimes find it easier to bring in the canned music rather than get good pianos, and keep them tune and maintained. And then hire musicians to come play and sing on them.
I really have to get a "support live music" bumper sticker and t-shirt.
It was really sad to see a karaoke singer the other day over the Fourth weekend perform at a festival with many veteran's in attendance and she had forget the words to the national anthem.
Actually the off key "singer" forgot a whole section of the anthem, then had a whole lot of extra anthem music left over as the "music" just kept going on.... so she just stood there not knowing what to do with the rest of the tape. It was rather sad to see her look so bad. Visions of bad Am. Idol outakes rushed through my mind as I watched this scene go down.
She only had one mike and she'd sing the words and put then put her mike on to her boom box. Then she'd sing some more words and then put the mike to the boom box speaker. On and on it went that way. So it gave the effect that the music was cutting out on her, if you weren't watching her sharing vocal mike with that cheap small boom box.In all a very amaturish way to sing a public performance to canned music.
Sadly the lady's very long karaoke "performance" was painful to listen to and watch; and the song she sang by Josh Groban "you raise me up" fell pretty darn flat and piercing.
They used more than one karaoke player/singer that day so each singer duplicated the other singers recorded songs also. It got pretty tiring to hear the same songs over again.
I think that particular venue has learned a hard lesson that day; that you get what you pay for. None of the performers were paid thankfully; but next year the venue may suffer for having relied recorded entertainment that wasn't even pleasant to hear. They had one singer who was very good, but the others were just not much fun to listen to or watch.
I have a church pianist and music director friend with serious music chops who lost steady gigs to "taped music". She is also feeling discouraged and angry at the trend.
I know I could blow folks out of the water if I purchased a professional karaoke machine to use with my PA system to sing to at gigs instead of using pianos and guitars.
But to me it is more special to play your own accompianment and sing with your own style. I wouldn't mind a nice karaoke machine to have fun with and practice on. Or maybe when I get old or for some reason can't play an instrument. But when I get too old and cannot sound good enough to be paid. I will retire from gigs.
I find it is more challenging to play an instrument and sing then to sit chained to a recorded accompianment. Thus live music played by musicians should be supported for their efforts.
I can't imagine being tied to taped music for an hour paid performance. What happens when the power goes out or some other tech. problem occurs and the machine doesn't work. Like when the tape breaks or a CD skips and the performer is tied to the karaoke machine.That would be embarrassing to say the least.
Karaoke has it's place; but it probably should be limited more than it is now.
Personally I'll take live music by experienced talented musicians with nice voices any time over "pro" karaoke singing.
Back to work....