Programming For Special Ed

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
Hello fellow entertainers!

I've have a 'dance party' that I'm DJing in a few weeks, and I'm hoping to get some new programming ideas. This is the second year that I've done this group's party. The guests will be about 30 special-ed adults (ages 16 through 50). Though a few have are on the down-syndrome spectrum, the rest are a mixed bag. Because of the uniqueness of the guests, simply playing music is not such a great idea; instead they want a well structured/programmed event. Last year I did a whole bunch of line dances with them, we did a conga line and also a freeze-dance game. They'd like me to play a little longer, this year - about 1.5 hours, so I'm looking for some new ideas. Go!
 

Cap

Always At Your Service
I'm not sure where the thought of not playing regular music for these folks came from, however I respectfully disagree. I do agree that simply spinning isn't the best approach, however using your sparkling personality, incredible vocal talents, and outrageous sense of humor, give them a show filled with information and humor. Entertain for and with them, not "at" them. Play music from every generation, style, and genre. For many, familiar music has deeper connection than you might suppose.

Learn as many of their names as possible and mention them frequently.

Although sometimes difficult to understand, do your best to take their requests without caregiver's help.

Have a ball as they will be your best audiences of your career. Your love cup will be overflowing.

(Note: For almost 30 years, for various levels from mild to severe, I've had the profound fortune to provide a half dozen benefit 2 hour performances every year for exactly the demographic you described. I walk away from each show with a heart glow that lasts all week.)
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
Hey Cap. What this organizers are looking for is a highly interactive experience that has lots of specific programming to fill the time. I certainly appreciate your comments about playing to all of them - hitting decades and varying styles, etc., and I especially like you pointing out my sparkling personality :) What I'm hoping to find here in this forum are some ideas of games or other activities that might help keep them active and entertained - in addition to that which I can provide with my sparkling personality! hah!
 

Cap

Always At Your Service
I see. I'm sure there must be one facebook page or a thousand that deal with games and shtick. Because of the wide spectrum of disability and mental capacities with the groups to whom I perform, other than the traditional "Silly Set" participatory dances, games and that ilk would be out of my comfort/ability zone and it would be time to step away.
 

Bill_Goode

Mobile Beat Moderator
Staff member
Bill Smith has rocked this type of group. Although retired from DJ'ing, he lurks and can share some insight. What I did for Tim Tebow's prom event would not work as it was all karaoke. Paging Bill.....
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
thanks. I lurk:) When I did these, I did karaoke and dance, and always had a blast. My groups specifically loved karaoke, so I did sets of both. Karaoke might not be an option for you.

If you have time, maybe site visit where they do a "well structured" event for some ideas. I think my success was more from being spontaneous, and making them all feel like rock stars. Some things do come to mind though.

Why not theme it, like disco night, as an example. Have a "runway" modeling show with high energy disco and do some voice over background on each model.

So if you can do some of the line dances, (and yes use the ones you used last year, as repetition is something many of them will recall, you should be OK.) 90 minutes is not a lot of time. So, Freeze dance is good, Conga line, limbo(awesome), cupid shuffle, ymca(a must) , and even the Hokey will work. I think any games have to be relatively simple and uncomplicated. Do your runway show in the middle. Make sure that the organizers have their folks organized and ready to prance and primp their best disco duds. That could take up to 20 minutes of high energy disco style music. No need for a contest, just let them model. You can burn 10 minutes on a good limbo, and that is "structured". Agree with Cap that spontaneity is a must for a great time, and everything he mentioned about personalizing it. What happens if they do not do the structured stuff. Plan B is rock them anyhow you can.
 

jturk1000

And WHERE is Alma MI ?!
I see. I'm sure there must be one facebook page or a thousand that deal with games and shtick. Because of the wide spectrum of disability and mental capacities with the groups to whom I perform, other than the traditional "Silly Set" participatory dances, games and that ilk would be out of my comfort/ability zone and it would be time to step away.
Thanks for the tip, Cap, he heard my call.
 
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