Toby often plays in Care Homes across Surrey, Berkshire, Hampshire, Sussex and London. Toby enjoys the adventures of performing for specialist groups with memory loss understanding how music can bring a calming effect for them and how important music is for these groups, but also how it has its challenges, this is where Piano Monkey the mascot comes in as it is often seen as a great ice breaker and calmer for anxious listeners (as we know this will not always work).
Toby does not offer the normal care home entertainment and has proved popular with the residents over the years.
Toby Currently offers the following shows and activity.
Toby first started playing in care homes when he was booked to provide light background music and entertainment once a month for afternoon teas where families were formally invited for a social "family afternoon cream teas and live music". This then lead to bookings for summer BBQs, open days, and Christmas fairs and general family gatherings where light background music is required.
"A Musical Journey"
An hour long show with a relaxing and chilled mixture of both piano and singing. This show is mainly is built up of show tunes, movie themes, popular ballads and light jazz, as well as a dash of boogie piano and developed from Toby's time as purely a cocktail pianist.
With a mixture of popular music going back to World War 1 finishing around the 1980s. Toby tells anecdotes about some of the composers and the songs. In a subtle way Toby offers a strong "name and tune" element to the show mainly by telling about the song, not give the title then asking if they recognized the song. He also encourages singing along but does not force this as some groups just do not feel comfortable with this.
At the end of the show Toby uses the mascot Piano Monkey to give out "monkey hugs" as a prize for best participants, singing, answering questions and anything else Toby spots from the piano. This is a great opportunity for the home to take a photo.
Whenever possible Toby will play requests, but with so many songs out there he can often be caught out, Toby always approaches this situation in a polite and fun manner.
This show has proven to be very popular with residents as it is both informal and relaxed and contains a lively element, it is vitally important that the home understands that this not a pub style sing along.
In time Toby intends to offer actual prizes at the end which the residents can keep as a memento.
"Choir and Music Therapy"
This is not a show and is a reasonably new activity. After a show Toby was asked if he would help run a choir in a care home.
Realizing the benefits Toby is offering this for other homes. These are not formal SATB choirs but more a means of music therapy where a group comes together once a week for around an hour, have tea and biscuits and learn some songs as a group, whilst having lots of fun and socializing together with the aim of performing for family and friends at least once a year.
New shows being created for 2021.
During the COVID situation Toby has been assessing the current shows, learning more music and brain storming ideas for new shows to hopefully add in 2021.
Based upon this popular game from America. The aim is that all the music will be all vocals.
Toby will pull a number from the bingo cage then perform the song which matches the number. The residents mark the song on the bingo card. The first person to get a row wins.
In light of health and safety the current plan for the prize is to be a plush monkey and any other prizes will be monkey themed in keeping with the Piano Monkey mascot.
"The Elton John Story"
With the increasing popularity of tribute shows and Toby learning via agents that care homes are booking tribute shows Toby has decided to create a show based upon his hero Elton John and what a better place than to launch this show/act than in care homes.
This show will tell the story of "The Rocketmans" colorful career and perform his lovely and lively music, there might even be costumes involved The challenge is packing all this into 1 hour!