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The personal views of a Catholic parish organist

June 10, 2013

Organist fees revisited

evelyn @ 12:01 pm

Bruce Fletcher has left a link on the Irish Organist Fees post which I think deserves to be aired more widely:

A survey on fees by the ISM

The compilers of this 2012 survey didn’t say what denominations the 400 respondents were, or whether they had included those – mainly Catholic – who play for nothing on Sundays. Possibly they did, as the regular weekly service rate was lower than the weddings and funerals figures, while the latter were closer to my own experience.

My main grouse about lack of fees for Sundays is not so much financial, though that is important. It is that the what’s given for nothing is valued at nothing effect is brought into play. As I’ve said before, the ‘wee lady who plays at Mass’ every Sunday without a fee is considered inferior to the paid Church of Scotland organist up the road, although doing the same job, if not a more difficult one. Sadly, she herself believes this, too, and can be unnecessarily humble. ‘I’m not a real organist’, she will say. Yes you are, dear, of course you are. You are doing a terrific job, though no-one will appreciate it except another organist.

Respect, though not necessarily fees, will come if one is a paid organist outside of church, as I am with my funeral parlour job. Such respect isn’t always welcome, though.  A previous parish priest once had the cheek to refer to me as a professional organist, when for years he had not paid me a sou. My reply was rather sharp.

Anyway, thanks for the info, Bruce.

1 Comment

  1. Hi, I’m unclear about what you mean by saying that the weekly rate is lower than that of a wedding and a funeral… This is to be expected, no?

    Comment by Paul — July 20, 2013 @ 10:23 am

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