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Wedding And Funeral Fees?

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I realise that RSCM / ISM publish recommended rates, but I would be interested to know how much people actually do receive / charge.

 

My own situation is this.....................

 

Town centre church

 

Funerals £65.00

 

Weddings £80.00

 

Wedding with video £120.00

 

The choir receives £50.00 - usually £5.00 each

 

Bellringers £12 each

 

 

NS

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Guest drd

I've tried to price myself out of the market. It looks as though I might do it - but in practice no-one would want to pay the fee I would demand. (Except for playing for nothing, wherever, at a funeral if the deceased is a regular in the congregation - my only concession to the religious fanatics.)

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I realise that RSCM / ISM publish recommended rates, but I would be interested to know how much people actually do receive / charge.

 

The ISM does not publish recommended rates; it is no longer allowed to do so under the terms of the Competition Act. It does though publish a Fees Survey 2006 (an appendix of their Organists' Guide to Employment) which is available to all from their website.

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Guest Barry Williams

The RSCM publishes suggested fees but to members only.

 

My view is that the Competition Act goes nowhere near any of this, but attempts to engage meangingfully with the relevant Government Department have met with the bland response that only litigation could decide the issue.

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Lee Blick
The RSCM publishes suggested fees but to members only.

 

Why is that? Not everyone is a member of the RSCM.

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This summer the organist of our RC cathedral asked me to play for wedding while he was on holiday and offered me a fee of £50. Since it was straightforward music (apart from that wretched* Pachelbel canon which will never work properly on an organ) I agreed. When the cheque arrived I was slightly amused to see that it was drawn on the organist's own bank account. I wouldn't mind betting he was paid a lot more than the amount he passed on to me. Next time I might ask one of the clergy!

 

* Wretched when played on the organ, that is.

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The ISM does not publish recommended rates; it is no longer allowed to do so under the terms of the Competition Act. It does though publish a Fees Survey 2006 (an appendix of their Organists' Guide to Employment) which is available to all from their website.

 

 

I beg to differ.....................quote from RSCM website..............................

 

 

 

"RSCM recommended rates for remuneration of church musicians

 

For many years, the RSCM has published recommended minimum rates for salaries, hourly rates, and fees for church musicians. The rates are no more than a starting point for discussion between the minister or incumbent, the church’s committee or council, and the church musician or musicians. As we have indicated above, every situation is different and has to be negotiated.

 

Copies of these rates are available to affiliates and individual members of the RSCM on request. They can be sent by post or by e-mail in pdf format. Please contact 01722 424848, or e-mail enquiries@rscm.com.

 

These rates are not available to non-members."

 

 

I received a copy very recently from RSCM, as a PDF

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Guest Barry Williams

Thank you for pointing this out.

 

I found this Website with slightly different information on it:

 

http://www.rscm-oxford.org.uk/salaryscalesites.htm

 

The RSCM information is only available to members and affiliates.

 

I wonder how persuasive this is to parochial church councils. As the official body any recommendation or even suggestion from the RSCM ought to carry considerable weight, yet is it clear that many organists are still seriously underpaid, notwithstanding the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.

 

In the past I have pointed out the cost of taking organ, singing and conducting lessons, as well as the charges for sitting diplomas and, of course, paying for organ practice. These are often non tax deductible expenses that are essential for the apsiring non-professional church musician and it these on whom the majority of churches rely.

 

Barry Williams

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The RSCM publishes suggested fees but to members only.

 

My view is that the Competition Act goes nowhere near any of this, but attempts to engage meangingfully with the relevant Government Department have met with the bland response that only litigation could decide the issue.

Only the other day I received a questionnaire from the Musicians' Union asking for specific information relating to commissions for composing, arranging, and music copying. It is only after seeing the ISM survey relating to organist's salaries and fees that the MU thing makes sense. The MU are still promulgating rates for rehearsal and audition pianists which I find very useful as "markers" (currently £32 per hour).

 

Are all salary scales under threat from the new laws? I was reading about the C of E clergy scales recently. Presumably many professional bodies provide, at the least, some guidance relating to fees. The MU agreements with various organisations eg West End and provincial theatres always specify "these are MINIMUM rates" so don't preclude any musician being paid more, although in practice this is happening less and less; maybe the fact that these agreements are produced jointly by the producers' representatives and the Union make them legally different from a promulgated rate.

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Guest Barry Williams

The purpose of the law in these matters is to ensure a free market. None of this has been tested. It is clumsy and confusing legislation deriving from Europe.

 

Organisations are at liberty to fix salary scales. Indeed, it is difficult to see how they could function without. Fees are another matter. Organists get caught between the two because they receive a salary for Sunday etc services and fees for weddings. These are complex matters, but, put shortly, the best arrangement is for the church to charge the organist out and be responsible for paying him or her. I know of one full time organist whose wedding fees are paid into church coffers on the grounds that he is paid for doing a full time job and it is up to his employer what they ask him to do and what they charge other for his services.

 

There is much work to do on the fees issue and I expect that Robert Leach and I will be writing at length about it again elsewhere.

 

Barry Williams

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....It is clumsy and confusing legislation deriving from Europe.

 

Nothing new there then! :(

 

There is much work to do on the fees issue and I expect that Robert Leach and I will be writing at length about it again elsewhere.

 

Barry Williams

 

We'll look forward to it, Barry. It is certainly something that I think many of us feel needs addressing.

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QUOTE(wolsey @ Oct 8 2007, 08:08 PM) *

The ISM does not publish recommended rates; it is no longer allowed to do so under the terms of the Competition Act. It does though publish a Fees Survey 2006 (an appendix of their Organists' Guide to Employment) which is available to all from their website.

 

I beg to differ.....................quote from RSCM website..............................

"RSCM recommended rates for remuneration of church musicians

 

I was referring to the ISM - not the RSCM...

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QUOTE(wolsey @ Oct 8 2007, 08:08 PM) *

The ISM does not publish recommended rates; it is no longer allowed to do so under the terms of the Competition Act. It does though publish a Fees Survey 2006 (an appendix of their Organists' Guide to Employment) which is available to all from their website.

I was referring to the ISM - not the RSCM...

 

 

 

 

 

I was under the impression that the Rates quoted by RSCM were from The Organist's Guide to Employment? and that that publication was a joint venture between RSCM and ISM? - Perhaps things have changed.

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As nobody else has actually answered the orginal question, that is to say how much people actually charge rather than blithering on about what the RSCM/ISM rates are or are not, I will jump into the fray and give my charges accordingly.

 

Weddings:

 

Standard wedding services no special music and no consultation = £75.00

Catholic Nuptial Masses = £90.00

Weddings where there is more complicated music and a short consultation = £110.00

Weddings where there is a significant amount of music and rehearsal etc = £250.00

Weddings where a chamber type instrument has to be supplied = as above, but add £75.00

Weddings in places where an organ has to be supplied (3 man Wyvern) as above but add £400.00

 

I do not charge seperately for video cameras as it is pretty near unworkable retrospectively, and generally really causes offence. I have given up explaining the performing rights rubbish to people who don't want to hear. A discount could be arranged if there are no video cameras in sight (never actually happens, EVER)

 

Funerals

 

Cremation Service £45.00 (more or less decided upon by a quorum of organists, in consultation with funeral directors)

Church Funeral £50.00

Extensive funeral with special music/soloists £80+

Funerals where instruments have to be supplied = as per weddings.

 

Choirs

 

I would not expect any choir member (adult) to receive less than £35.00 for turning up to sing at a wedding.

Child choir members should receive at least £15.00

 

I hope that is a help to the poster of the original question.

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As nobody else has actually answered the orginal question, that is to say how much people actually charge rather than blithering on about what the RSCM/ISM rates are or are not, I will jump into the fray and give my charges accordingly.

 

Weddings:

 

Standard wedding services no special music and no consultation = £75.00

Catholic Nuptial Masses = £90.00

Weddings where there is more complicated music and a short consultation = £110.00

Weddings where there is a significant amount of music and rehearsal etc = £250.00

Weddings where a chamber type instrument has to be supplied = as above, but add £75.00

Weddings in places where an organ has to be supplied (3 man Wyvern) as above but add £400.00

 

I do not charge seperately for video cameras as it is pretty near unworkable retrospectively, and generally really causes offence. I have given up explaining the performing rights rubbish to people who don't want to hear. A discount could be arranged if there are no video cameras in sight (never actually happens, EVER)

 

Funerals

 

Cremation Service £45.00 (more or less decided upon by a quorum of organists, in consultation with funeral directors)

Church Funeral £50.00

Extensive funeral with special music/soloists £80+

Funerals where instruments have to be supplied = as per weddings.

 

Choirs

 

I would not expect any choir member (adult) to receive less than £35.00 for turning up to sing at a wedding.

Child choir members should receive at least £15.00

 

I hope that is a help to the poster of the original question.

I wondered if anyone else was prepared to say what fees they generally request/receive for weddings and funerals.

 

My ballpark figures (for organ only) would be £80 for a funeral and £100 for a wedding (both including a consultation and, I suppose, personal video cameras; maybe the wedding fee should be £150 if there is a commercial camera crew in attendance). What does the panel think?

 

I haven't seen either ISM or RSCM rates for years. I'm a member of the MU which recommends £86 as a minimum for all "special services" lasting up to 1.5 hours in the London area, with a minimum rehearsal fee of £40, which covers up to another 1.5 hours.

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I wondered if anyone else was prepared to say what fees they generally request/receive for weddings and funerals.

 

My ballpark figures (for organ only) would be £80 for a funeral and £100 for a wedding (both including a consultation and, I suppose, personal video cameras; maybe the wedding fee should be £150 if there is a commercial camera crew in attendance). What does the panel think?

 

I haven't seen either ISM or RSCM rates for years. I'm a member of the MU which recommends £86 as a minimum for all "special services" lasting up to 1.5 hours in the London area, with a minimum rehearsal fee of £40, which covers up to another 1.5 hours.

 

We charge the following:

Larger Church: £50.00 funeral; £60.00 wedding (£120.00 if there is a video)

Smaller Churches: £40.00 funeral; £50.00 wedding (£70.00 if there is a video)

 

The organists arrange the consultations/choice of music for weddings; I do it for funerals. The fees are agreed by both PCCs and organists.

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I usually get £50 for weddings and £40 for funerals, but the minister rarely asks what I charge so sometimes I find the couple/family have been told the wrong amount and there isn't a lot you can do about that. Despite my asking on severals occasions, the minister always forgets to ask whether they are having a video done, so I often don't have any chance to charge more for that.

 

David

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I usually get £50 for weddings and £40 for funerals, but the minister rarely asks what I charge so sometimes I find the couple/family have been told the wrong amount and there isn't a lot you can do about that. Despite my asking on severals occasions, the minister always forgets to ask whether they are having a video done, so I often don't have any chance to charge more for that.

 

David

Those fees are very low, even for Cheltenham. I wouldn't do a wedding to £50. At Charlton Kings its £80 for a wedding, double if there's an official video being made. Its up to the minister to have a form that he fills in with the question as to whether there will be a video printed on his form. I would expect the church to pay me the difference if the vicar forgot to charge the fee, after all its not my fault and I shouldn't lose out.

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Those fees are very low, even for Cheltenham. I wouldn't do a wedding to £50. At Charlton Kings its £80 for a wedding, double if there's an official video being made. Its up to the minister to have a form that he fills in with the question as to whether there will be a video printed on his form. I would expect the church to pay me the difference if the vicar forgot to charge the fee, after all its not my fault and I shouldn't lose out.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I only play in Methodist churches where of course the idea of paying organists is pretty alien anyway :rolleyes:

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Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I only play in Methodist churches where of course the idea of paying organists is pretty alien anyway :rolleyes:

 

Mmmm, I played in a Methodist Church for the best part of 15 years and came up against similar attitudes. Trouble is, when you pull into the BP station and announce that you're a Methodist Church Organist, they don't seem to be interested in giving you the equivalent discount on the petrol you've just pumped into the car's tank!

So, that was always my starting point at Church Council/Finance Committee discussions.

I also found that dealing with the couples directly helped; after all - along side the cars, flowers, cake, not to mention reception and wedding dress, even a high fee (in organist terms) seems relatively insignificant. Next to the Minister's fee and the often relatively low church fee it can seem quite high. It's really all about perspective. If your fee is not included in the church fee, the church looks cheaper, which can be appealing to the Minister/Church Authorities.

 

If you don't live off your fees it's a matter of how much you really want to turn up and do it, call their bluff and see if they can find someone else to have the 'pleasure' and low fee. If you do it as a living then that is surely an argument in itself...

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Last post:

 

£130 for weddings (it used to be £85 and then the add on for videos, but no one ever owned up, so we charged everybody the flat one and a half times and they could snap away to their hearts content)

£70 funerals

 

We didn't distinguish between musical and non musical weddings, they always took up roughly the same amount of time and anything the choir was expected to sing either came out of regualr repertoire, or we would wangle it into a service around the time of the wedding.

 

I would select adults who I knew were reliable for weddings, usually two to a part and we paid them £15. If its was a big church wedding (eg from the church rather than the usual rent-a-tourist, never-been-in-church-before crowd), the adults would do it for free and we put the choir part of the fee into the music fund.

 

The children were selected depending on committment and ability, aiming for 12 from about 30, they saw it as a privilege to sing at a wedding. Payment ranged from £10 for the head chorister down to £3 for light blue collars. Weddings not open to probationers.

 

I always dealt with the couple direct and made them physically fill in a form detailing all their requirements, I found this very useful to avoid any potential misunderstandings. I learnt this the hard way when one couple complained about my choice of tune for a hymn. COnversation went along the following lines:

 

"Yes, O Jesus I have promised would be a good choice of hymn. Which tune would you like?"

"Oh, the usual one that everyone sings"

 

Well, the one we sang was always Thornbury, and occasionally Wolvercote if I thought we could carry the congregation. Of course, they wanted the boppy tune and said that no one had sung and that was the tune they had sung in school, blah, blah, blah...

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I can't understand this attitude at all. We constantly complain - justifiably - that by comparison to the florist, the photographer, the dressmaker and Uncle Tom Cobley and all we are paid very little by the church for the skill we bring to our task.

 

How then can we justify not taking as great care to see that we understand what the paying customers wants and that we provide it as would any of the other professions involved?

 

If you don't like what the customer wants, hold your nose and think of the fee, or pass the gig on. Don't take the money and make a virtue of accidentally on purpose or otherwise providing what you want instead of what they want. :rolleyes:

 

btw, my experience is the same as Paul Carr's - £100 might seem like a lot of money to the clergy by comparison with their legally mandated fee (which they don't even get to keep) but to the wedding couple, punch drunk with paying for the real-world-costs-of-supplying-luxury-goods-and-services-in-a-market-that-exists-for-2½-days-a-week-six-months-a-year, it's just fiddling small change.

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To answer the original question: at the Cathedral the fees for weddings and funerals are the same as for any other "extra" service, i.e. £125 each for the duty organist and choir director, doubled if recorded.

At the crematorium where I play, it's £34, however much or how little one plays (usually a hymn or two, occasionally also a short prelude and/or postlude).

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£100 might seem like a lot of money to the clergy by comparison with their legally mandated fee (which they don't even get to keep) but to the wedding couple, punch drunk with paying for the real-world-costs-of-supplying-luxury-goods-and-services-in-a-market-that-exists-for-2½-days-a-week-six-months-a-year, it's just fiddling small change.

Once insurance company is quoting the average cost of a wedding as £20,000 and, from the tales my wife tells (she plays in a string quartet that does weddings) I feel sure this is no exaggeration. When you think of the cost of hiring a string quartet or a DJ, then paying an organist £100 for an hour of his time hardly seems unreasonable.

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I can't understand this attitude at all. We constantly complain - justifiably - that by comparison to the florist, the photographer, the dressmaker and Uncle Tom Cobley and all we are paid very little by the church for the skill we bring to our task.

 

How then can we justify not taking as great care to see that we understand what the paying customers wants and that we provide it as would any of the other professions involved?

 

If you don't like what the customer wants, hold your nose and think of the fee, or pass the gig on. Don't take the money and make a virtue of accidentally on purpose or otherwise providing what you want instead of what they want. :rolleyes:

 

Well, I was young and a little naive at the start and it was some years ago. To be absolutely honest, I didn't even know the dull, boppy tune. We didn't sing it in school, and even in the pentecostal church I used to go to as a child we sang Thornbury!

 

I don't have a problem with the piper calling the tune with the cash, I've stooped as low as 'Stairway to Heaven', some film music by Morricone, and some thrash rock number by a man from a popular beat combo called Bryan Adams.

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