Among Nursing Home Residents, Music Therapy to Reduce Agitation

Dementia patients commonly experience episodes of agitation and violent outbursts. For families who care for an aging parent, it is quite common to experience complications associated with this abnormal behavior. When these behaviors become complex and detrimental to familial relationships and safety of family members, decisions are often made about alternate housing options.

Nursing homes provide care for dementia patients who experience agitation complications. Because agitation can lead to complications involving muscle tension, aggression, repetitive movements, restlessness and even verbal aggression, the nursing staff within the nursing home are often educated and prepared in managing these types of complications.

In many nursing home settings, residents who suffer from dementia-induced agitation find their symptoms are greatly exacerbated by environmental noises. While even the most normal of nursing home noises can set of agitated responses, most residents experience complication when these noises are louder than normal, longer than normal or are simply new sounds that are introduced into the environment.

If your loved one experiences complications associated with agitation, and you are concerned for your loved one’s health and safety, it is important to ask the nursing home staff how they will manage the agitation outbursts. In addition to understanding management at the time of outburst, it is also important to know what measures the nursing home will take to avoid these outbursts from occurring. In many nursing home settings, especially those with many dementia patients, the use of background music is quite common. Soothing dinner music and soft music in resident rooms can provide a way in which to reduce the frequency of dementia-induced agitation events.

The nursing home that utilizes music as a soothing mechanism for nursing home residents must do so with care. Allowing residents to play music in their room, without supervision, or even to adjust television noise without supervision, can lead to adverse outcomes. As a result, many nursing homes will control the sound levels of the television and will only permit specific music use in the resident rooms. Controlled sound and genre is important to maintaining peace within and among the nursing home residents.

Caring for an aging adult can be a rewarding, yet tiring, experience. If you choose to forgo a nursing home, but want to manage agitation within your own home, consider utilizing well controlled music as an option. Using music at the right tone, in a soothing genre, will provide for a better source of stability and peace in your home and will work to soothe the mental and cognitive processes of an aging parent who may be suffering from dementia and agitation.

San Francisco Mime Troupe Serves Up World Premiere Musical Comedy

The San Francisco Mime Troupe, the only touring ensemble to ever win a Tony Award for Excellence in Regional Theatre, opens its 2006 season with the world premiere of Godfellas, a musical comedy that takes aim at religion in America. The play will be performed primarily in Bay Area parks from July 4 to October 1-with tour stops as far as

Sacramento, Santa Cruz, and Southern California (at Tim Robbins’s famed Actors’ Gang Theater in Culver City). Most performances are free, with indoor shows priced between $15 and $20.

Godfellas imagines a country swept up in religious rhetoric. The Reverend C.C.B. De Love embarks on a personal crusade to ensure that the military-industrial God complex rules the nation. But the good reverend finds a foil in Angela Franklin, an atheist and activist who fights to defeat the coming theocracy-only to find herself falling prey to her enemies’ zealous tactics.

The Troupe is no stranger to hot-button issues, and courts controversy every summer by presenting ensemble-created plays that cast a critical eye on such topics as the Bush administration, the war on terror, and corporate America. Playing to liberal audiences mainly in the Bay Area may be preaching to the converted, but the Troupe aims to reframe social and political discussion in new and entertaining ways. Perhaps that’s why the company has staying power (46 years and counting) and plays to large crowds in parks and packed auditoriums.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe admittedly discusses changing its name on a regular basis, due to many people’s misperceptions about what the company does. Most folks connect the word “mime” immediately to an image of a skinny, pasty-faced man in a beret, pressing his hands against imaginary walls. This is far from what the Troupe is all about. The company uses the term “mime” in the ancient sense-that is, exaggerating the big topics of the day through story and song. With its many awards and prestigious history, the San Francisco Mime Troupe is hesitant to let go of the name that made it famous.

After two preview performances on July 1 and 2 in San Francisco, the opening day of Godfellas will be celebrated at Dolores Park at 2 p.m. (Live music begins at 1:30 p.m.) The show’s final performance will be on October 1 at San Lorenzo Park
in Santa Cruz. (See complete schedule below.) For more information, call (415) 285-1717 or e-mail Visit

2006 Free Park Shows and Indoor Venues
(Sat) – Preview
Precita amp; Harrison – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

July 2
DOLORES PARK (Sun) – Preview
18th amp; Dolores – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

July 4
DOLORES PARK (Tues) – World Premier/Opening Day
18th amp; Dolores – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

July 8 amp; 9
CEDAR ROSE PARK (Sat amp; Sun)
1300 Rose Street, a block from Cedar amp; Chestnut – Berkeley
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

July 15
JFK Drive, bet. McLaren Lodge amp; Conservatory – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

Lakeside Drive at Lake Merritt- Oakland
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

July 20
214 Main Street – Point Arena
Music 7:30 p.m., Show 8:00 p.m.
Ticket info Call: 707-882-3272

July 21
59 Rusk Lane – Redway
Music 7:30 p.m., Show 8:00 p.m.
Ticket info Call: 707-923-3368

July 23
180 Camino Alto near
E. Blithedale-MillValley
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

July 29
MacArthur amp; Broadway – Oakland
Music at 1:30 p.m., Show at 2:00 p.m.

July 30
Mission amp; 3rd – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

August 5
Bosworth amp; O’Shaughnessy – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

August 6
Mesa Park – Bolinas
Music 2:00 p.m., Show 2:30 p.m.
Ticket info Call: 415-868-2128

August 12 amp; 13
Shattuck amp; Berryman – Berkeley
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

August 18
To be announced -Sebastopol
Music 7:00 p.m., Show 7:30 p.m.
Ticket info Call: 707-824-4371

August 19
600 E. Meadow Drive- Palo Alto
Music 4:30 p.m., Show 5:00 p.m.

August 20
Columbus amp; Union – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

August 26 amp; 27
Hillegass amp; Derby- Berkeley
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

September 2-4
DOLORES PARK (Sat, Sun amp; Mon)
18th amp; Dolores – San Francisco
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m.

September 9
F Street btw. 14th amp; Covell – Davis
Music 3:30 p.m., Show 4:00 p.m.

September 10
6th and T Street Bandshell – Sacramento
Music 3:30 p.m., Show 4:00 p.m.

September 12
Performance Arts Center, Hesperian Blvd. – Hayward
Music 6:30 p.m., Show 7:00 p.m.

September 14 amp; 15
314 W. Main Street-GrassValley
Music 7:00 p.m., Show 7:30 p.m
Ticket info Call: 530-274-8384

September 16
1968 East 8th Street – Chico
Music 6:00 p.m., Show 6:30 p.m.
Ticket info Call: 530-345-8136

September 20-24
at the Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd – Culver City
Music 7:30 p.m., Show 8:00 p.m., Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat
Music 1:30 p.m., Show 2:00 p.m., Sat, Sun
Ticket info: TBA

September 28
476 First Street East (on the plaza) – Sonoma
Music 7:00 p.m., Show 7:30 p.m.
Ticket info Call: 707-996-9756

September 30 amp; Oct 1
Dakota Avenue (downtown) – Santa Cruz
Music 2:30 p.m., Show 3:00 p.m.

How to Make a Living in the Music Business

In our last session we established the fact that you, or your band or ensemble are a market driven manufacturer, and that you manufacture sound. As you probably can well imagine, you will go broke very quickly if you manufacture a product and don’t ever sell it. You will go just as broke if you manufacture a product and pave the road to hell with your good intentions of selling it at some nebulous future point in time.

As much as they want to play live, or have their music on store shelves, there are a ton of musicians who die frustrated because they were never ready. Never ready to get on stage. Never ready with an acceptable final mix. Some of those guys (when I say “guys” you should understand that I mean both males and females, equally. It makes writing easier for me and when I’m writing, that is the most important thing.) are right. They aren’t ready. Some, however, are either ready and don’t know it; will never be more ready and don’t know it or won’t admit it; or will never be ready no matter what happens. How do you know?

This can prove to be a tough question because it can be so subjective. I’m not going to get into the area of how to define art, or what is “good”, but ask yourself these questions.

For live music(minimum):

How many full sets of music do I/we have that I/we can play all of the way through without stopping (approx. 45-60 minutes minimum)?

The requirement here is not that the sets are perfect and polished, but only that you can get through the entire contents as they were intended to sound including the intros, and endings of each selection without stopping, or starting over. If you have never played live before in front of a real audience you will come to learn that no matter how much you prepare your sets you can never really know with 100% surety exactly how the audience is going to react or interact with your presentation.

You will also learn that although you get a certain reaction for something you do or play one time, the odds are that you will not get the exact same reaction the next time you do the same thing even if, or especially if, you try to do the same thing exactly the same way. Tightening and tweaking a set to its performance perfection can only be done to the fullest degree while you are on stage.

If you have one set, you are ready. Ready for what? You are ready to put your unique product into a package and start selling it. The next question is how do you put a live performance into a package. Well, in this instance I’m not talking about a “box-like” package. The kind of package that I am talking about has several components, some of them are tangible and some are intangible. I’m going to cover the intangible first.

In determining the readiness of your product you will have to consider your image. Make no mistake that I don’t believe there are any right images or wrong images. However your image on stage should be thought out and it should also be supportive of the sound you are making and most important it should appeal to the demographic (age, income level, social standing , lifestyle, etc.) of the audience you are targeting to buy your product. For example, if you have a butt rock band and your gimmick is dressing in drag, you probably won’t be getting or wanting to get bookings playing in Alaskan logging camps. You wouldn’t want to play the Apollo theatre dressed in klan hoods. You wouldn’t want to play chamber music and have one of the members of your group show up wearing purple spandex while the rest of your group arrives wearing white tie tuxedos.

Whether you want to play naked, or wrapped in a roll of orange shag carpeting while reading exerts from “Autobiography of a Western Yogi” like a friend of mine used to do, make sure that your appearance is thought out, planned, and an image that fits well into the types of venues you want to play while at the same time supporting the message you are trying to convey in the sound you make – whatever that may be. Once you have that image, be consistent. You want to be as consistent with your image on stage as you are with the type of sound you are producing. Even if your image is that you are inconsistent, be consistently inconsistent.

The reason for this is simple. Once you have a winning formula you want to be sure you consistently deliver the same quality product at all times so that if a person sees you do a show in January, that person is going to see the same level of performance(or better) when he brings three new friends to see you in June. Another reason for this is tied into the tangible aspects of the product package I’m going to cover in a minute. Simply put again, you want to be able to ensure that the club owner, booking agent, concert promoter, corporate party planner, wedding planner, etc. sees and hears the same performance (or better) as that person saw when he saw you live or looked through your promo kit.

The idea of a promo kit, which is the other part of this package, is the tangible part mentioned above. The promo kit, or media kit, is essentially your sales tool. It will include a small write up about your sound or your message, It might boast about your “draw”, or the number of tickets you can count on selling based on the size of your last show. It will also include something called a “Bio Sheet”. A bio sheet is a paper that includes very brief background and or personal history on each player in the group. Each bio should have no more that 1 paragraph and a picture. Next, you will need at least one photo of the group. This should be a black and white glossy 8″X10″. If you have the ability, it is a good idea to have the group or performer’s name, agents name , and a solid, professional contact phone number stripped into the bottom of the photo.

You might also want individual photos of each member. That is a matter of choice. Finally you will want a list of past and future show dates and places where the performances either have been or will take place. Naturally, if you have none of these you will not be able to include any. And, of course, if you have a finished demo CD or full length CD you should include this as well. Some experts will tell you that a demo or audition CD should not feature full length cuts of your sound and that they should only have three to four songs at the very most because club owners, promoters, etc don’t have time to listen to your entire collection of “Greatest Hits”. I’ll tell you that is a bunch of feeble minded crap from the butt of a bull.

If you have 13 finished cuts on a packaged CD, you just go right ahead and include that in your promo kit. I’ve been a club owner and a promoter and many were the times I kicked myself in the rump for not demanding full length or full content demos after hiring groups that sounded great on a couple of 30 second audition tracks only to find out that the only time they sounded good was on those 30 second spots, or that the rest of what a group played was totally different from the content on the brief demo I had heard. OK it wasn’t many times but it was enough to piss me off.

Remember you are only as strong as your weakest link. Give every aspect of your package the attention it would require if your very life depended on it and nothing less. At any given point in time, a person should be able to ask you about any individual aspect of your package and receive an answer from you that is essentially, “Perfect”. Shooting for perfection will get you bookings, keep you working at the highest pay scale, and put you on the road to success. Settling for anything less than perfection will make you just another egotistical schlub which is alright. The ones who are truly on their way up will need something to walk on. You will do just fine. If someone has the passion for writing then they can go and read my friend’s blog about¬†dissertation writing service.