Getting paid for church gigs?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Aspiring Trumpeter, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Aspiring Trumpeter

    Aspiring Trumpeter New Friend

    Oct 2, 2005
    I play alot in churches in my area, especially my own, but none of them pay anything. I happen to be a poor college student scrapping funds together to try and pick up a good C trumpet for orchestra and quintet so you probably see where this is going. Don't get me wrong I love doing it but these are the kind of churches where they like to have people play for their services and don't offer any anything, so I don't ask.

    So my question is this, is it ok to ask to get paid in this kind of situation? I get the feeling that they would'nt want me back if I started asking for compensation, but I really need places to perform...

  2. DubbaCTrumpetMSU

    DubbaCTrumpetMSU Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 29, 2006
    Ft. Worth, TX
    That's a tough one...most of the church gigs I've played we had already talked about pay, or when they ask they mentioned it-I just did one this Sunday. You might not get asked back if you ask for pay. It just depends on the person. If it's a new gig you might 'casually' ask if there is pay...I'm not sure how to approach the ones you've already done and that ask you again...that's a really tough one.

  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    I have never played a church gig where I didn't get paid.
    This might have to do with the fact that I don't attend church so I am there on a business level rather than a personal level though.
  4. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    When asked to do a gig you might ask if its a paying gig or a charity gig.

    Reputable MD's know the difference and will respect your decision to decline if you so choose.
  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I don't accept payment at my church, and don't play for free at any others. Same as giving - I give to my church, but not to every other church that asks for money! In your case, I'd do whatever my conscience dictates.
  6. DubbaCTrumpetMSU

    DubbaCTrumpetMSU Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 29, 2006
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Good way to put sorry gzent, but the quote was so good i had to use it :)
  7. Principaltrumpet

    Principaltrumpet Pianissimo User

    Nov 7, 2006
    north texas
    If you havent played at a church for a long period of time...say every sunday for a few month the next time they ask it would not be unprofessional to explain to them that you would love to perform with/for them but playing trumpet is your job not just a hobby. You can tell them that it takes time to prepare and time out of your schedule. I often play at churches for free...I consider it my offering, but if they offer to pay...ask dubbaC...I never turn it down. I guess my point is too many people see music as a hobby and do not view it as a profession. If they have a guest speaker the church usually pays him/her. They pay the music minister, and they pay the seceratary...there is nothing wrong with expecting them to pay you as well. Just be as professional as possible when/if you decide to request pay.

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  8. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    YOU set your price at FREE in the past so now your price is still free. If they don't want you back because you are asking for compensation then they are telling you that you are worth FREE. If someone asks you to do a job, and they want you to do it for FREE and that is no longer your price you have the right to turn the job down.

    If you have done a good job then you will eventually get calls to do jobs elsewhere. When word gets back to your music director that you are doing a good job and you are worth the price then you will get called back. Your return will then be on your terms.

    A few years ago I turned down a couple of jobs at Easter because I always get called by the same church for Easter. I called the choirmaster and asked what arrangements would be needed and was informed that they had decided to bring in some high school students who would play for free.

    After they slaughtered the music at that mass I was asked to go back, and I agreed, but at a 50% increase in my fee. I also insisted on the right of hiring all the other musicians for the services at that church to which they agreed.

    This week I signed a contract with that same church for 13 masses, and 7 rehearsals, during the 2007 calendar year. I know how many extra musicians will be needed for each mass and those people will be under contract within a week. I also do arrangements for that same church at an extra fee.

    Setting my services for the year at that church allows me to inform other music directors that I am available for other masses, thus I’ll probably book 10-15 additional masses/services.
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    And... I'd think that using the word "honorarium" is better than "pay". Just seems to be more acceptable within the context of a church "gig".
  10. MartinRooney

    MartinRooney New Friend

    Feb 27, 2004
    Boston MA
    I generally play for free at my own church, once or twice a year at most, essentially as an offering. Otherwise, when asked at other churches, I do charge, but often donate the fee back to the music ministry. Same with our brass quintet, do a couple of services for free at the church where we rehearse, charge others.

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