Cole's Music Band Instruments sales repairs lessons
Written by Simon Cole
If you play in one of these you may find that the harder you work and the better you do your job the less you will be paid.
I can't think of any other job or management strategy that work this way. Every rehearsal or concert pays a set fee. If you show up and sight read the music you receive the same fee as the players who spend hours practicing. In terms of an hourly rate the sight readers are being paid easily 10x as much.
Orchestras rely on the the pride and professional integrity of the prepared players to carry the less prepared. The reality is is that a per service orchestra will not have the budget to make having the job attractive enough that everyone will prepare.
I have played in orchestras where this issue has been handled well, sadly when this is not the case it precipitates a downward spiral in both moral and the performance level of the orchestra.
One of the way to address this is to just pay the better players more.This can be done with the basic salary or be engaging them as soloists, the solo fee becomes a bonus of sorts. Conversely if the week players are rewarded ( this almost always means it's political) this sends a message to the orchestra that quality and performance is not what will be rewarded and so practicing is a waste of time. As much as musicians love music this can wear down an orchestra over time.