Getting paid for church gigs?

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

  1. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    Same here. I think that is the best way to do it. I don't even write it off on my taxes (though I think a person can write off donation of services not sure how though)
  2. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Tootsall took the words right out of my mouth.
    You should not charge the church you are a member of until you have your B.A. Fine Arts Degree. Then you are a professional and you can be paid just like the rest of the staff. Once you have your B.A. explain to the Music Minister that you are going to seek out paying gigs. In the future the church needs to pay you to reserve your services. This is going to be tough because you are a "prophet in your own city" so they will have to get use to you being paid.

    You can also join the musicians union to strengthen the fact that you are now a professional in your own church.

    My mother was a choir director and always had an honorarium for college students. Her church even provided a meeting place for a brass band so on certain Sundays the brass band would meet and play the hymns for the service, maybe practice afterwards, then head out for a city park and play a concert. I think she provided beer money when the whole group played but I'm not sure.
  3. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

    Nov 12, 2003
    The way I see it, the Minister is paid, the church staff is paid, the utility companies don't donate their services, why should we be expected to play for free? I never do. I don't put down those who do however.
  4. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Yes, there are many people who are paid for their services at a church. In my church, these are employees of the church - it's their 40 hour gig. There are many more who donate a little of their time and talents for the common good - Sunday School workers, choir members, orchestra members, ushers, outreach workers, etc. It's voluntary, though. No one has to play who doesn't want to.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Vulgano philosophy: who we do it for determines how much we do it for. Am I playing for me, for the chance to play music I love in a setting I love, for a reason I love? In these cases I'll "work" for free, provided I'm not undercutting a known or unknown colleague and taking food off of their table by doing so. If I am asked by a particular church to play a particular piece at a particular time, then I expect a particular sum of money, and even more if they want it played a particular way. (For example, I'll play Hindemith's Trauermusik Good Friday for free, but expect to pay me around $400 for Bach's Christmas Oratorio I-III.)

    Don't fall for one of the many "glory of God" scams. Bach wrote "Solo Deo Gloria" on all the pieces he got paid for, and don't forget that church music holds a big chunk not only music history, but the music industry as well.

    Have fun, and don't starve!
  6. Clarence

    Clarence Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 23, 2005
    san diego
    oH yeah, if music is your living get the money!
    closed mouth don't get feed.
    better get your scrilla!
  7. tromj

    tromj Piano User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    How to get paid after doing it for free is tricky. I would not explain why you should be paid, and give a whole explanation about the time it takes to prepare, etc. I would simply say that while in the past you were willing to work for free for church, at this point in your career you feel it is appropriate to receive compensation for your services. Explain also that you understand that those churches with whom you already have a relationship should be given a chance to book you first, and that you are willing to ease them into paying you by giving a special rate for six months, but that absent a commitment to hire you, or a more formal arrangement, you will offer your services on a first come first serve basis.
  8. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    I play at my own church on trumpet every couple months as part of what I give to the church. It's also pretty good advertizing. I pick up a lot of weddings, parties and students through the congregation. It's a mutual benefit. When other churches call I just ask what kind of budget they have for it. It's a polite way of telling them you expect to be paid but you will consider working with the funds they have available. I'll do that to a point if it's a small church that's barely making ends meet. I expect well established churches with big dollar budgets and big dollar cars in the parking lot to pay a reasonable professional wage. If you play well and can deliver a professional quality product you should not be embarrassed to ask for a reasonable payment.

    VINTAGEBRASS Pianissimo User

    Apr 3, 2004

    What does having a degree have to do with anything? Just because one does not have a piece of paper from an educational facility, does not mean they are not entitled to be paid. There are millions of professionals, in all differant fields, with no college education, are they then to be left out in the cold and not paid for doing their job just because of a lack of some sort of degree?

    What makes someone a professional is their choosing a vocation and working at it to learn to perform all the tasks required of the position, be that a plumber, carpenter, computer repair tech, or a musician.
  10. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    Sometimes musicians get the experiences that make them a professional outside the college arena. Wynton is a good example.

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