Pay systems for church musicians
Date: June 29, 2009
This could potentially be a hot-button issue...
For those of you who rely on paid musicians, I'd like to ask for your input on a situation I will soon be facing.
To be as discrete as possible, I have recently taken over at a large church, just at the time that new budgets are coming out. This church has just taken a severe blow to its income and has experienced recent layoffs, and I have been given a heads-up that I should expect some very uncomfortable cuts in my own budget, specifically in the area of accompanists and cantors. Traditionally these have been paid positions, and the church very much wants them to continue to be so, but the practicality is that I am about to announce to them some unpleasant and unavoidable changes in the way they are paid. There is a pretty solid culture of expectation here about how musicians get compensated, and I'm not expecting they will be sympathetic to the financial dilemma the church is in.
I'm sure I'm not the only director dealing with this. I'd like to ask some specific questions from the rest of you:
- How do you pay your musicians: monthly salary, hourly, or per worship service?
- If not monthly, is there a difference in how musicians are compensated for services vs. rehearsals?
- How are you helping/addressing your musicians if your budget for paid positions has been cut?
I'm not looking to learn how much you pay your musicians, but rather the system you use, and if you're having to reinvent your system during the econimic downturn. I'd be particularly interested in your answer if you run a church music program in or around the Denver Metro area.
Many thanks for your input as I negotiate this potential minefied.
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