Post # 1
I just feel like getting all this out here, because I feel so frustrated about it.
I’m the church’s main pianist when it comes to funerals and weddings. The problem is that I never get paid for what I do in the church. Funerals aren’t really an issues, and I don’t mind playing those for free. However, I go to several weddings a year, sometimes i get called 1-2 hours before the wedding starts, just to play piano
When I arrive, I start getting requests for songs that aren’t standard for a wedding in our church, and they think it’s rude that I don’t play whatever song they asked. Seriously, if you want a specific song are you wedding, you should call before hand and tell the pianist the music you want to play. Obviously, these people that I deal with on a constant basis don’t know anything about music in the wedding. They just assume that I show up, and I play for free. And by the end of the mass when they make thank you speeches, I don’t even get a mention. I always have the option of NOT showing up, but then I feel bad that their wedding would be musicless.
Am I just being a crazy bitch, or is this ridiculously stupid?
Post # 3
I’m sorry! I can definitely understand your frustration – and no, you’re not being crazy.
May the Church represents to these brides that they would have access to a pianist, without talking to you? Otherwise I can’t understand how someone just assumes that you would show up without talking to you.
And even though they may not say thank you in the speech, I’m SURE they appreciate it. i mean, just think of what it would be like without you…
Post # 4
In my meeting with our church to pick the date, I was given a packet of info that clearly stated the price of the organist ($100), along with her contact information. I recommend that you talk with the administrator of your church to find out what their process is with arranging things with the bride and groom, and ask if your information can be given to them at this first meeting. Good luck!
Post # 5
- Wedding: May 2010 - The Pierre Hotel
That IS frustrating! I would suggest talking to the church to find out how they are representing your services. I.e. if it’s implied that "Of course she’ll show up, and she knows how to play EVERYTHING!" maybe there needs to be better representation of the time and effort you put in, so people can be more appreciative. Good luck!
Post # 6
That’s nuts! Do you think you could talk to someone at the church and see if you could charge for your services? We are paying $250 (!!!) for our organist, and he comes standard with the church. I’m surprised that you don’t get paid, because most of the churches I’ve looked at charge a fee for their musicians.
Post # 7
Wow that is crazy! I would say you should insist on being paid by the Bride and Groom or the Church for your services. We were told right off the bat the fee for the music coordinator/organist ($125) and we also had a meeting with her to determine what is appropriate music and what she can play. She is also proofing our program before we print and coming to rehearsal to show our guitarist the ropes of the sound system.
It sounds to me like you’re being taken advantage of. You should say something!
Post # 8
That sounds really frustrating! We have a church pianist but I never would have thought of just assuming she would play for us. Actually, my three little cousins are pretty good at playing the piano. I thought it would be really cute to have them play so that they could be a part of the wedding, and I don’t mind if it’s not perfect.
Post # 9
I’m a pianist too — not professional or anything, but I completely sympathize with what you’re going through! In college, people who sang or played the flute sometimes used to ask me to accompany them for recitals or competitions. I’d ask how long I had to learn the music, and they’d say “well, it’s in 3 days …” Uh, no way can I learn a 6-page Bach cantata that fast! I’m sure a professional accompaniest could, but I wasn’t a pro (which is why they asked me, they didn’t want to pay). Where did people get the idea that playing the piano is easy and not worth paying for?
I agree that the church is putting you in a weird situation. I think you should tell them that you are happy to play for funerals at the last minute, but since so many brides have gotten upset when you don’t know their special music, from now on you need to be notified at least 4 weeks in advance (or however long you feel comfortable with) when you’ll be asked to play a wedding, and the bride and groom will need to get in touch with you at that time to discuss the music. You could print up a flier for the church to hand out with other information about weddings, explaining your “no last-minute requests” policy to brides and grooms and giving them your contact info so they can get in touch.
Post # 10
Does your church have a wedding coordinator or contact person? I would talk to them. Your services should definately be compensated, especially if the couple are not members of the church and are paying to use it.