How much should I charge?
Hi, it's been a while since I last posted here.
I have a gig coming up and don't know how much I should charge. My violin teacher's friend asked my teacher to come and play but since he (my teacher) has a concert to attend he naturally can't come. Thus he asked me to replace him.
I will be playing some light music for 15 + 30 minutes (with a break in between when there is an award ceremony). It's a job event for a company at a quite nice hotel. The person who asked me to play is an employee at the company
I'm a non-professional teenager who has only gotten asked to play at gigs by acquainted and such. The employee asked me directly "what do you usually charge for a gig?" I've never been asked this and didn't expect a question like this so I'm quite dumbfounded. It has always been the organisers who decide how much they pay me (sometimes no money but a gift instead). It's also the first time I'm playing at such a formal event.
I already know that I'm going to charge slightly more, because I'm supposed to attend the same concert as my teacher (a concert I really looked forward to) but have to miss half of the thing because of this gig. I thought about charging 40€ but, as I said, I'm not sure.
My mom suggested me letting them decide how much money I should be given because it might be more than what I would suggest.
Please excuse my horrible English...
It's going to be difficult for anyone to answer this not knowing where you are (country and city) and what the local rates might be. Also, is there are reason you can't simply ask the person who got you the job (your violin teacher's friend) what you should charge?
I live in Finland, the gig is in the centre of the capital.
Back in the days in my country, an English lesson with a private teacher would cost you 1 kg of pork meet. With no relevant parameters, I would translate this into price of 1 set of Pirastro string of your choice.
ask your teacher what a reasonable rate would be
Oh, I had assumed your teacher's friend was a violinist who had passed on the job to your teacher, who had passed it on to you. But he/she is the employer. So, I agree with Irene. (Wait for it): Ask your teacher!
Normally I'd say charge what you think is fair and stick to it, but since you're filling in for someone else, you should ask your teacher.
Ask a professional musician or the musicians union (assuming there is one) what "scale" is for a single performance. You might be surprised how little they pay considering all the preparation required in addition to the time spent performing.
I was 15 in 1950 when an internationally known professional dance troup came to town and hired me to play a cello solo accompanying their prima dancer's solo. They paid me $5 (covered one rehearsal and the gig). At the time, my father, a medical doctor and leader of the pathology branch at a government lab was earning $10,000 a year (2,000 hours) or $5/hour. Of course I was on stage (off to the side, but visible) only a few minutes, but I had to get there and home again. Later that year I played violin solo for a square dance and got $5 for something over an hour of work.
By all means ask your teacher but I think your price is too low. I would recommend at least 75 euros. It is a fancy corporate event and they are probably already spending more than that on the centerpieces. It is over an hour of work, by the time you wait around listening to probably what will be a boring awards ceremony.
About 10 years ago I was called on occasionally as a cellist to stand in for a frequently absent bass guitarist in a local barn dance band. My job was to improvise a strong rhythmic bass line from the sheet music the violinist was playing from, not an onerous task.
E50 sounds fine. Spend some of it up front ... on business cards.
Find out what others in your area charge. Don't shortchange yourself. I did photography for a dance company in Minneapolis. They paid me $10 for each photo they used. One day, another photographer was at one of the shows. The director of the company explained that the other photographer was like me, just shooting photos for fun and experience. Well, before one show a friend of mine was there substituting for that photographer. "I only do this for the money," he said. "Money?" I replied. "What money?" Well, it seems he was getting $1,000 for his time. I'd been duped. I never went back. So learn from my experience.
It's a job event for a company at a quite nice hotel...…
1. Ask your teacher what a fair fee for a student to charge would be.
What is the minimum hourly wage in Finland? Can't be less than that. Performance time + reasonable setup time + transit cost + non performing time where you are required to hang around. That's your bottom line IMO. Then find out what the average pro orchestra player gets paid, and you are somewhere in between, perhaps on the low end given that you don't (I assume) paying union dues. Agree in advance on how long you are expected to remain onsite, over that it becomes overtime unless it is your choice to hang around.
All this tough talk is predicated on the assumption that you will be providing professional-quality service.
That's why the OP needs to ask her teacher what a fair fee for her would be. He knows how well she plays. Close to professional level playing = close to professional level fee. Otherwise....should be otherwise.
Right, so Im from Finland but I have never been in such a situation. However, your teacher has deemed you capable of replacing her, so you must be really good. Im assuming it is a firm and not a non-profit organization or such. And if it is a big firm 40 e sounds too little. I cannot think your teacher would do the gig for 40 euros.
Like many others said, obviously in this situation, just ask your teacher!
I asked my accompanist today about this, she suggested 200€ and said that a pro like my teacher (whom she is a friend of) would probably charge 400€... I have a lesson tomorrow with my teacher, will ask him then. Thank you for your answers!
Lilian, I'd probably start out by asking what the normal pay rate is for such events where you live and work, and then negotiate from there.
Unlikely she's lousy as her teacher would not want his judgment or teaching skill questioned by recommending a incompetent player... He's got something at stake here.
Have a think about how much tax you may have to pay on your fee (someone else mentioned that, I believe), and also your travelling and other outgoing expenses, which may be tax-deductible. All these things will influence the size of your fee.
E400 for "15-30 minutes" seems pretty steep even for your teacher. Unless maybe your teacher's name is Pekka Kuusisto or such ... that's US$1000 an hour.
I asked my accompanist today about this, she suggested 200€...………..
It is normal for gig musicians to charge by the hour.
Yes it's normal to charge by the hour, but also to arrange up-front how many hours it will be (thus a total fee), and what happens if the amount they need you to play suddenly becomes shorter or longer (shorter is more common at corporate events, in my experience, because speeches, awards, and stuff like that always run much longer than expected). Remember that every gig is an opportunity not only to make money, but to build one's reputation and to improve as a player and business(wo)man.
If somebody on your street sells their house for a really low price then it brings down the value of your house. In the same way, if a musician does a job for free or a low price then that will have an affect on other musician's wages and what people expect to pay. We should all keep our prices at a decent level for the sake of all of us.
Another way to look at the charging problem is to think of your music playing/teaching as your prime source of income, and figure out your hourly rate accordingly. In the UK, where I live, government economists reckon that the average living wage is about £27K per annum. If you are self-employed, allowing yourself 8 weeks holiday a year and teaching private pupils for 20 hours a week, then this works out at £30/hr. This is about the rate that many private teachers charge in my area.
SO, how much are you gonna charge....?
I went with 80€ after discussing with my teacher and some friends.
That seems fair. $50 for the gig and $50 for the inconvenience of getting dressed up and driving there.
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