April 2010

Society's Take on Hiring Musicians

April 26, 2010 15:29

 I am primarily a music teacher.  Recently I got together with some of my music friends to form a quartet to do weddings and such for some on the side money.  I performed in weddings throughout high school and college, but usually it was at a rate someone else had already set.  So, since I'm in charge of my quartet, this is the first time I've really had to assert and market my skills as a performer (not in a teaching capacity).

As I deal with the emails and phone calls from potential clients, I've really found it fascinating to experience all the different ways non-musicians "view" musicians.  First of all, even though having live music at your event instantly adds quality, no one wants to pay for it.  Some people border on shock when they hear it takes more than $50 to hire four professional musicians to play for an hour.  Is this really so hard to fathom?  I don't know anything about ice sculpting, but I would definitely expect to pay a goodly amount if I wanted one at a party.

Another mentality that I frequently come across is the idea that musicians must audition for the part of playing in the wedding.  I've talked to people who have almost bristled when they heard that they would have to pay to get a live demo as opposed to just listening to the free samples we have online.

Since this quartet is by no means my primary source of income and I only take on clients that pay for the rate I ask, this is by no means an embittered rant; it is mostly just musings.  I just don't get why it is that for every other professional involved in a wedding, from the planner to the caterer to the owner of the venue being used, it is very clearly understood common sense that you pay for time you occupy out of their day.  Except for musicians.  For some reason we are the exception that makes the rule.  How did this come about?

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