Getting paid for church gigs?

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

  1. Siegtrmpt

    Siegtrmpt Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 21, 2005
    I just want to point out that some churches misuse their status to get freebies all the time and it gets old. Don't get me wrong here. My family gives a lot to our church and other good causes and we also get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing our resources do good work. Some churches are run by people that have a freeloading frame of reference. Just because you accept some payment to help pay your earthly bills doesn't negate that fact that you are doing "God's work". Contribute but don't be used.
  2. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    This is pretty much my take on this subject.

    My question is how do you get other church's to call you? I'd love to pick up some paid work. So far everything I've done is for free!
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    I wanted to get more church gigs last year, so I tried a direct approach - I mailed a letter to about 90 churches in the area. I told them what my experience was and what services I could provide.

    The first gig I landed because of the letters paid for the postage.

  4. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I posted about this once before telling this story:

    I played for a church for about ten years. I had been there through three reverends and three organists.
    A couple of Easters ago the organist called me about two weeks before Easter and told me that they didn't have any money to pay me. I told her that I had turned down other jobs but at this point they should pay what they had (even if it was nothing) and we would talk about Christmas later.

    I took another job at Christmas and haven't played at that church since. One time she called and asked if I would help for an Organist guild concert. I said yes and never asked about money and didn't get paid.

    My thinking at the time was, the organist is part time and didn't take a cut in pay, why should I?

    I do miss the people at that church although it's probably not the same people any more and I have plenty of other gigs with pay.

    I don't think having a degree has anything to do with getting paid either.
    As trumpet players we spend a lot of time for free just keeping up the trumpet enough so we can perform. Don't forget the money spent on lessons and music and the actual trumpet. The organist doesn't have to bring the organ to the gig.

    Bottom line: (and this is the bottom line) If you are good enough to get paid (The market will show this) and you don't want to donate your time to God, you should be paid.
  5. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    I think if you've already committed to the gig, you play the gig. I don't think there's a problem with asking if they'll pay after the fact, but if they say no, you do the gig anyway if you've already committed to it. If you have not, then it's perfectly reasonable to decline or request whatever amount you feel appropriate.

    I've done charity gigs for free, and I'll do church gigs for a friend or otherwise for free if they don't have the ability to pay, and I'd play for my own church for free if they'd let me (no brasses allowed, unfortunately, they consider them to be too loud).

    And be careful not to set the bar too low -- I did that once with a local church here just to make sure I got the gig, and now I'm pretty much committed to that rate with them, whereas another church I frequently play at pays out at three times that rate....
  6. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Can't you remind them that it isn't written anywhere in Scripture to "Sound the guitar" :dontknow:

  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Like most things in life, we are creatures of habit. We had a habit of not asking for money, they have a habit of not wanting or being able to pay. A church service with a great organist playing music that I like is worth the experience alone. Most of the time, if there is a great organist, there is also a budget to keep them interested. The less fun, the more expensive I am!

    RJZ, do they have the church bells turned down too?

    Chuck, King David as a teeny was a harp player, I'll bet you will find some string things in the psalms!
  8. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    No church bells. Very "reverent" atmosphere. Definitely no gospel-fueled adrenaline rush going on here.
  9. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I run into this at my church down here. I've never, and I mean never seen a church so worried about what it's congregation thinks.

    Down here I can't play soft enough; yet back home at my church in Michigan (A very trumpet friendly place) I can't play loud enough... Arrrghhhh!

    I told the organist that the next time I heard a complaint I would play the next 16 bars of whatever I'm playing at FFF regardless of musical style; then go back to the dynamic that I usually play at. This would give them an idea of what's loud and what's not.

    She stopped telling me of complaints....:-)
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    That'll show 'em!:D
    Our choir/orchestra director always cautions us to not overpower the choir, but when we do an orchestra feature piece, we shake the rafters on the FF parts, and he's cool with it. Could be because he's a trombone player and appreciates brass. We have a big orchestra, too - about 45 pieces on any given Sunday. It's very good for an all-volunteer church orchestra. I'd play in it for free! Wait - I do!:cool:

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