Charging to play

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by akinsgre, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I'm sending Lefty, our union rep after you now akinsgre! I know the clubs you frequent. He'll find you. He'll find you.
  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Presently, I will not play with choir and / or organist in any of three Protestant churches in Jackson regardless of what they offer. Two have pipe organs that are severely out of tune, and the third has an electronic organ, but no one competent to play it. As for choirs, it is ridiculous to call them that. A mixed octet from the county high school would shame them. That said I could drive to all three of them and return home and not drive further than 1 mile. One Pastor is very knowledgeable about music and another admits she doesn't know as much as an elementary student. When I said 2 pipe organs, let me not allow that only one really is of any significance, the other being only a little larger than a vintage parlor organ and is indeed vintage with only an upgrade that the air vault has been rebuilt and is supplied with air supplied by an air compressor on the outside of the church. It is alluded to have once been a theatre organ.

    That said my wife and I usually have breakfast with 2 organists, one who lives in Jackson, yet plays for church services in Weldon and the other plays for the Galatia Baptist Church between Seaboard and Faison's Tavern. If any one of these churches averages more than 50 in attendance for services, they are fooling me. OK, they might do it on Easter and Christmas, but this past year at least one of them did not. I've soloed for a church in Pleasant Grove and was paid $50.00 by a member for just a 7 minute song accompanied by the church pianist who I learned is paid $100.00 by the church for all hymns. I also play frequently for a church in Roanoke Rapids 18 miles away and usually just 2 and on occasion 3 songs for $100.00. to sound Taps I'm now accepting honorariums to cover my expenses, well not all of them as one pair of shoes was ruined to the point I no longer call them dress shoes, having scuffed them on a gravestone and got them soaked in red mud.
  3. akinsgre

    akinsgre Pianissimo User

    Nov 16, 2012
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Damn.. now I'm going to have to play left-handed.
  4. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    There is great variation regarding pay from Churches, even within the same cities. Some will assume you are going it for free, others are looking at providing enough to cover your expenses, and others are paying like a regular professional gig. I know at Christmas the first Methodist church always gives me $250 for one gig. I tell them each year that I don't want payment as I consider church playing an opportunity to serve but they still hand me a check with the other musicians (which I immediately place in the collection plate). Point being, there really is no standard with churches.
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Interesting, I play in church twice every Sunday 8-9 songs weekly. It's always good, so what could that be worth? There's also Thursdays rehearsal 7-8:30! Not that I'm looking for a check (but the preacher does get paid), just curious. :think:
  6. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    Tobylou, you have to decide for yourself what you are worth. To me, I always feel that I will take a little less money for a regular/consistent gig, because it is regular. Normally I charge $150 for a church service, and I don't like to leave my house and drive anywhere for less than $75, rehearsal or not. So that adds up to $225 a week. I would probably take $175-200 since it is a regular gig. But that is just me, and what I can get in this area.

    As far as donating my time, I donate my time elsewhere. I teach a couple of students for free that I know could not otherwise afford it, and every once in a while I will do a basic repair on a kids horn if I know it is the difference of them quitting band because they can't afford it or their parents won't pay for it. The churches I play at all have money, and they pay everybody else from preachers to landscapers and everybody in-between. Why should I be any different? I don't know if I am bitter towards free gigs or not, but here is how I feel about them: I don't mind playing a free funeral, or church service or whatever, if I am moved to do it and it is my idea. When I offer to do it basically. Whenever anybody assumes I will be playing for free, or tries to guilt me into playing for free, it just makes me want to charge them more.

    For example, not long ago I got a call from a funeral director about playing taps at a military funeral. Please note, I have played taps many times, and I have done it for free a lot of those times. Usually I offer to do it for free, and the family usually offers to pay me which I graciously accept, because they insist. However in this instance it was not the family calling me, or the veterans association, it was a paid funeral director. He has heard me play many times before. When he called he asked if I was available, I said yes, and he said "ok see you then" and hung up. I called back and asked about pay, he got very uppity and said something to the effect of expecting me to do it for free and duty and whatnot. I asked him if his funeral services were being donated. Of course, there was a long pause, because he knew where I was going...I then insisted on $200, and I wanted a check from the funeral home, and I wanted to be promised that that cost would not be passed along to the family. Surprisingly, the funeral director was very apologetic, realized he was in the wrong and paid me that price. I have worked with him again since then and he always offers a fair price right up top now. I got lucky in that instance, because most funeral directors probably would have just hung up and called somebody else, a risk I was willing to take. But, sometimes when you point out somebody's errors to them, they learn and grow from them. So, take that story for what it's worth.
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Thanks to the quick reply Mason. Don't know if I could "charge" for the first 6 months ;-), but you are correct about everyone else getting paid!
  8. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    When I play at my church (a LARGE church) I don't charge, even for the larger extra shows at Christmas, Easter, etc. when they hire additional outside musicians to cover all the parts. I consider that playing to be a part of my service, in addition to volunteer work and financial offerings, to the church. When I play for weddings, funerals, or at other churches (when I have an open date) I start at $100.00 and charge more if the market will bear or if there is a LOT to play or rehearsals are burdensome. For instance in a typical service, there is a prelude, an offertory, a postlude, three hymns, and an offertory response. Sometimes there is a choir anthem that also has orchestra parts. Christmas concerts START with two or three orchestral pieces before the choir starts to sing (at which time the trumpets are always suddenly too loud). Then at the end there is typically a reprise, followed by a postlude. ALL of that is gratis at my church. Elsewhere I get whatever the going rate is.

    The exception (for me) would be to sound Taps if I don't have to travel for memorial Day church services.
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Same here. Playing is a part of my service to the community. Of course, maybe they'd pay me NOT to play if I asked!
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Ed, how big's your church?

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