New research by Making Music reveals the varied nature of roles and engagements by amateur music groups of professional musicians.
98% of respondents to an online survey engaged professional musicians, 8% of those only a conductor and/or accompanist.
Other types of musicians engaged include soloists (87%), individual orchestral musicians, whole instrumental ensembles, orchestral or section leaders, choristers, workshop leaders and composers.
Contracts also varied from regular annual engagements to one-off fees, most frequently for a rehearsal-plus-concert day; and anything in between.
Rates paid overwhelmingly reflect an amateur music group’s financial scope, which generally has little flexibility. High fee requests by professionals, therefore, tend to lead to a change of programme, rather than an increased offer by a group.
The term ‘professional’ itself reflects a breadth of situations perhaps not normally assumed in its definition. As well as the professional musician earning a full- or part-time living from music, it can encompass:
- a professionally trained musician now with a different day job – either within music (e.g. music teacher) or the music industry (e.g. publishing) or completely outside (accountant)
- an amateur musician who is in demand as a player/singer/conductor
- a recent music college graduate or pre-college student seeking to build up experience.
This breadth of understanding is reflected, therefore, in the enormous range of fees paid to ‘professional’ musicians, and explains why all of the ranges, for all roles, start at zero.
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