During the past years, we have seen a very sharp increase in prices for musicians to play with a wind band. Being a march, procession, concert or whatever is needed. I have also noticed that the price has risen considerably for the inexperienced and newcomers, leading to those with more experience and more ability in music playing, rightly so, increasing their price. The only problem is this, to what extent can we do so. In my opinion, we should start by analysing our skills, being true to ourselves and judging our capabilities.
Let us take a march for example. When asking for the price you have to evaluate yourself by asking these questions:
- Do you play all the notes, in all the registries of the given marches?
- Do you play all the rhythms correctly?
- You don’t get lost when playing something completely new?
- Are you able to count for yourself any bar rests?
- Do you go in after some rests without the need to wait if the others are playing too?
- If your section gets lost, are you able to go in and get the band back in place?
If you answered all of these questions with a yes then you are fully entitled to ask for a price that is equal to the top end. If not, you should take off at least 5 euros for each question you have answered with a “no”. For example, a good trumpeter that ticks all the questions, for a march of 3 hrs will ask between 40 and 50 Euros. Let’s say you have answered all with a no and taking 50 as the price for maximum quality then you should be more than happy to receive 20 Euro worth of fee. In all fairness, 20 euros is 6.67 euros an hour which is almost 2 euros an hour more than the full-time minimum wage.
The most important thing about this is that we must evaluate our own abilities and be true to ourselves. We cannot pretend to be paid for something we are not capable of doing. We need to grow in experience, and we need to continue practising and studying, to unlock more of these items.
Another issue that is more dangerous than knowing what price to ask is giving a price unknowingly of the value of the person that you engage the services. Last year we saw stupid amounts being forked out without any idea what are the abilities of the person, causing mayhem and this situation we are discussing now.
On the other hand, we also need to educate ourselves and understand that band clubs are not a well of wishes, but a voluntary organisation which has limited resources and if we dry up the well, then we surely not going to have anything else to drink.
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