Here is my opinion on this question: If asked to play a bit of quiet music for a short amount of time in a hospital or a care facility, I would probably agree to that. One needs to consider their proximity to the venue. If I have to drive clear across town to the gig, then I will require pay. It all depends on the length of the gig, plus the person requesting your services. If a person is planning a nice party or dinner in their home, then they can probably afford to pay for live music. For many years, my music partner and I played many retirement centers and did request payment. Those people who live in those centers are paying through the nose to live there, so they certainly deserve quality entertainment. We received such great reviews from those, for whom we entertained, that they went to the activities director and told them they wanted us there at least once a month. If word gets around that you will play for free, then you'll get a lot of calls for that. The great joy does come from playing the music, but the hard work is the setting up and tearing down of your equipment, plus driving and gasoline.