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#1608746 - 01/30/11 10:58 AM pay rates for church pianist?
Jeffrey Preston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/21/09
Posts: 90
Loc: Elma NY

hello all music enthusiasts


I just got offered a job as a church pianist to play on sundays. With the notice, she mentioned that I could get paid. I don't want to be rude and just be like "100 bucks" haha, but I'm not sure.

so I'm pretty much asking, for anyone who gets paid doing gigs or church work, how much would be a respectful rate to suggest? or how much is the standard rate for a church pianist?

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#1608763 - 01/30/11 11:14 AM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
50 to 75 for me in Kansas City. The diocese sets the pay rates (with choir is more expensive). I know musicians who are paid $100.00 but they are not Catholic.

Weddings are well paid, and funerals are $100.00

you could make some phone calls - church secretaries can be pretty chatty.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1608938 - 01/30/11 04:20 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
RayE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 163
Loc: Rochester, NY, USA
There are a lot of variables, what the going rate in your area is, do you have to direct the choir also, how many services, and rehearsals are involved. Your level of Education, and experience. It really boils down to how much is the church willing or able to pay for your service, and how much are you willing to take to perform the service. Small churches with limited resources aren't going to be able to afford as much as a large congregation, and will probably settle for a candidate with less training or experience to get someone to do the job. Check with other churches in your area of similar size, and enquire about what they are paying, and what the duties of the job entail. Then you can get a better sense of what a fair rate is.
_________________________
Retired Army reserve Bandsman who now plays for the Joy of Music!!

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#1609053 - 01/30/11 08:10 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: RayE]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: Virginia, USA
According to AGO, American Guild of Organists, here is a sample:

* Single service (organist only or director only, no separate rehearsal), $100-$225
* Additional services (organist or director only) not requiring additional preparation, $50-$125
* Single service (organist-director combination, no separate rehearsal), $150-$275
* Additional services (organist-director combination) not requiring additional preparation, $75-$175
* Rehearsal fees range from $25-$100/hour, depending on whether the substitute is organist only, director only, or organist-director combination and the preparation required
* Mileage of 44.5 cents/mile is charged if visits to church for practice, rehearsal, and service exceed 20 miles per round trip.
* The charge for contracting singers/instrumentalists is $15-$35/person hired.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1609143 - 01/30/11 10:52 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: apple*]
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
Originally Posted By: apple*
50 to 75 for me in Kansas City.
You get paid? Who do I see about this? (Not about you getting paid, but about me NOT getting paid). smile
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#1609148 - 01/30/11 11:01 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
Jeffrey Preston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/21/09
Posts: 90
Loc: Elma NY
tim, thank you for the great response. your signature inspires me to practice ha

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#1609296 - 01/31/11 07:37 AM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
RayE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/10
Posts: 163
Loc: Rochester, NY, USA
From what I've seen here locally the AGO published rates are a little higher than the going rate in this area. They are probably a little low for other areas of the country. Our organist choir director gets $10,200.00 annually which comes out to about $196.00 a week. This is for 1 rehearsal a week, and 2 services on Sunday. We have checked with other church's and we are a little higher than some in our area. Also keep in mind that Organists are harder to find than pianists, so that may skew the price in their favor also.
_________________________
Retired Army reserve Bandsman who now plays for the Joy of Music!!

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#1609355 - 01/31/11 10:04 AM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: gryphon]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: gryphon
Originally Posted By: apple*
50 to 75 for me in Kansas City.
You get paid? Who do I see about this? (Not about you getting paid, but about me NOT getting paid). smile


I am paid on Saturdays and for weddings and funerals. On Sunday I have the best job ever, and volunteer. If I were to be paid @ AGO suggestions, I would earn at least $300.00 weekly (my contributions include a service and rehearsal with choir). I am working on my guild certification (the very first category of service organist).. I still have a way to go; there is a lot of repertoire to prepare... many skills to learn. A Fellow would be paid quite a bit more than that meager amount weekly and usually seek salaried positions.

To become a 'Fellow' the following is required: Most Fellows have Masters or Doctorates in organ performance. They must play the the awesome Dorian Fugue in their test. The requirements for service organist are quite a bit less stringent.

FOR LEADERS IN THE PROFESSION, organists of superior ability and accomplishment who direct or participate in a comprehensive range of musical activity in church, synagogue, school, or public venue; who perform in solo recital and in concert; and who are called upon to demonstrate a variety of keyboard skills at a high level of competence, as well as a broad knowledge of music theory, history, and literature.

1. Perform organ literature of advanced difficulty.
2. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of organ repertoire.
3. Know and apply authentic performance practice.
4. Understand organ tonal design.
5. Apply authentic and effective registration.
6. Understand the mechanics and maintenance of the organ.


SECTION 1 – Tests at the Organ
F1. Candidates will select either Group I or Group II in its entirety,
and be prepared to play all or any portion of all the compositions in
that group. The candidate may play the repertoire in any order.

GROUP I
J.S. Bach: Fugue in D Minor (“Dorian”), BWV 538 (any edition).
César Franck: Fantaisie in A (Durand, Dover, or any edition).
Johannes Matthias Michel: Swing Five (Erhalt uns, Herr) from Organ, Timbrel,
and Dance/Three Jazz Organ Preludes (Concordia 97-6805).

GROUP II
Georg Muffat: Toccata III (Doblinger or any edition).
Max Reger: Toccata (#11) and Fugue (#12) from Orgelstücke, Op. 80 (any
edition).
Jehan Alain: Intermezzo (Leduc).
F2. Play a passage of organ music at sight.
F3. Play at sight a passage of music in open score on four staves
employing C clefs (soprano, alto, and tenor) and bass clef.
F4. Arrange at sight for the organ the piano accompaniment of
a vocal score (which itself may be a reduction of an original accompaniment
for orchestra).
F5. Transpose a passage of music, not more than a major third
in either direction.
F6. Improvise a short piece (approximately two minutes in duration)
in ternary form on a given theme. The candidate will supply a recognizable
contrasting motif for the middle section. Clarity of form and structure
will be expected.

SECTION 2 – Paperwork Tests
First Session (31⁄2 hours allowed)
F7. Counterpoint: Candidates should be prepared to analyze examples,
respond to questions, and write brief examples of counterpoint in
16th-century style. Original note values will be used.
F8. Fugue: Candidates should be prepared to analyze examples,
respond to questions, and write brief examples of 18th-century fugal
composition.
F9. Essay: Write an essay on one of three given topics
concerning the life and music of Franz Liszt.
Second Session (31⁄2 hours allowed)
F10. Ear Tests:
(A) Write down from dictation a short passage in four parts, for which the key and time signature will be announced and the tonic chord played.
(B) Write down from dictation a short passage of twopart counterpoint, for which the key (but not the time signature) will be stated and the tonic chord played. Test A will be played five times, Test B four
times. One minute maximum is allowed between each playing.
F11. Orchestration: Demonstrate knowledge of the capabilities
of orchestral instruments, the craft of orchestration, and the historical stylistic use of the orchestra through responses to questions, analysis of examples, the transcription of a brief passage for orchestra or ensemble, and/or the reduction of an orchestral score for performance on the organ.
F12. Composition: Write a composition for unaccompanied
voices on a given text. The length will be specified. Imaginative use of the tools of composition will be expected.
7. Accompany with flexibility and musicianship.
8. Sight-read open scores including lines in C clefs.
9. Transpose.
10. Improvise.
11. Compose and arrange.
12. Demonstrate practical knowledge of orchestration.
13. Have a broad knowledge of music history and literature.
14. Be able to write in contrapuntal forms of both 16th and 18th century styles, and to analyze examples.
15. Transcribe from dictation.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1610251 - 02/01/11 12:53 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
I had a job playing in a church band some years ago and it was a very small church without a lot of resources. However, because we did a weekly rehearsal of the songs to be performed for each service, plus a monthly Sunday evening concert, he made sure the band was paid.

Here is a link to a church musician's newsletter that lists jobs, forums, pay scales, etc. Check this out to get some more info. Good luck.

http://www.church-musician-jobs.com/churchmusiciannewsletter.html

katt

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#1610657 - 02/01/11 07:58 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
blueston Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 273
Loc: MA, USA
I can tell you what our church pays for Substitute Organists/Pianists on Sundays when the Music Director is on vacation- $125. Usually we look for an organist but we also accept pianists too if that's all that is available.

Now that's on a Sunday when there is no Choir. If we were to pay for someone to also Direct the Choir (which rarely happens) it would be something like $200-250.

But if it's a permanent position that's a whole different story. Our Music Director gets paid about $30k but that's to also direct Choirs (Adult and Youth). If Choir directing wasn't part of the job I would think it would be a fraction of that like maybe $10k year (ballpark +-$5k) depending on how much is involved (how much new music is required every week, extra events etc).

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#1610659 - 02/01/11 08:04 PM Re: pay rates for church pianist? [Re: Jeffrey Preston]
J_D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/10/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Texas, USA
It depends quite a bit on what the church can afford. Attendance, membership and financial standing come into play. (no pun intended)
_________________________
J.D.
Hailun 178

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