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How Much Would You Pay For An Accompanist?


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#1 aspiringmusicteacher

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 17:37

I have a Grade 3 pupil who has his exam on the Recorder coming up this session. My old Piano teacher, who is definitely the best person for the job, charges £75 for his services. This will pay for:

2 sessions of practice with himself and my pupil at his home;
Travelling to the exam centre, which will be in Bromley (he lives in Dulwich);
Playing as an accompanist in his exam.

Does this seem reasonable to you? I think it does, but my pupil's parent says it is a bit too much for her, which I can of course understand. I have offered to pay half for her which she seems happy with but I was wondering what other people thought?

Is it a bit steep do you think? How much do you know people charge (bearing in mind my teacher studied at the RAM under York-Bowen and has been teaching and accompanying for 30 years)?

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#2 aspiringmusicteacher

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 18:20

QUOTE(dcmbarton @ Oct 7 2007, 07:15 PM) View Post

I don't actually think that's very much. The travelling each way is going to be between 30-45 minutes I'm guessing, and the actual exam is likely to take 20-30 to include being on time and playing for it. That already adds up to around 2 hours of work just for that. For me, that in itself would come to £42. I don't know how long the rehearsals are, but again, say they are half an hour each, for me I'd then add another £21, which would make it up to £63. In this instance I don't suppose that he'd need to spend time practicing the pieces, otherwise I'd have included for that too. It's easy to see how it mounts up. I think that what makes it sound steep, is the paying for it all in one go.

I accompany all my pupils, and don't, at the moment charge any extra, so I haven't really had to deal with it. When I did my Grade 8 flute, we paid the accompanist £60, that was to include about an hour and a half's practice at his house, travelling to and from the centre (possibly another hour) and the exam itself. This was about 6 years ago, and he was a friend, so he probably charged less as well.

It's what you get for paying for professional services.

David


Thanks for your reply David. I think you're right, it's the paying for it all in one go that is the scary thing. My accompanist did offer to reduce his costs to £60 - £65 but to be honest, he is worth far more than that and he needs to make a living too! So I insisted he stay on the £75, even though it would be more convenient for my parent, because he simply shouldn't have to compensate on his rate.

I was just wondering what other people thought as it's the first time I have needed an accompanist. If I could play for him myself I would but I don't feel it is the responsible thing to do, I'm only of Grade 5 standard on the Piano myself, and even then I've never accompanied before. Far better to get a professional who knows what he's doing! happy.gif

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#3 boogiecat

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 18:26

Depending on the grade, on a sliding scale, these are for the exam plus one rehearsal.

£20 for Grade 1

£34 for Grade 5

£50 for Grade 8

If it is just for 1 person, I will add travel expenses too, if there is a group at the centre then I don't bother. Asides from the actual time spent with the student there, there is practise time certainly with the higher grades this can be a couple of hours or more.

For grade 3, this seems a little steep, £25 per half hour - The 2 practise sessions might be nice, but you could prob get away with just 1 if you are definitely going to go with this teacher. For a relatively low grade, I wouldn't find the finest accompanist, the examiners don't care how amazing the accompanist is as a performer, it will be all about the student.
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#4 dwrglas-y-gwynt

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 18:30

QUOTE(aspiringmusicteacher @ Oct 7 2007, 06:37 PM) View Post

I have a Grade 3 pupil who has his exam on the Recorder coming up this session. My old Piano teacher, who is definitely the best person for the job, charges £75 for his services.


Hi There,
I can only reply from very limited experience. Normally I take Jazz exams (on Sax), so I use the CD for accomp. However, back in March I did Grade 5 (Classical) on Alto Sax and hence needed a pianist. For the same level of service you describe I payed about £50 (the pianist/teacher normally charges £26/hr for lessons, she is well thought of and very capable !). So, in conclusion, yes I do think £75 is a bit steep !

Hope that helps -D-

P.S. I guess you don't feel like doing it yourself ? note.gif
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#5 BerkshireMum

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 18:32

As a parent, I would feel that was too much for grade 3 recorder accompaniment. By the time you are at grade 7 or 8, the accompaniments are much more difficult and you are paying much more for the exam, so you are willing to pay for a good accompanist.

At grade 3 anyone of around grade 7 standard on piano should be able to cope fine with the accompaniment - I accompanied for my own children up to grade 5 with no problem for clarinet and violin. You don't really need the world's best pianist for the early grades, and a good young pianist around grade 7 or 8 would be glad of the experience to accompany and charge much less.

Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
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#6 aspiringmusicteacher

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 18:46

Thank you everyone, this has certainly given me a lot to think about. His exam is coming up really soon and I do need to sort an accompanist as soon as poss. I do wish I was of sufficient standard to accompany him but I'm not, even though I'm working towards being better so I won't have this problem in the future.

I have a lot to sort out, clearly! Maybe this time I'll pay half as I suggested and then next time I'll convince him to lower his rate.

Thanks everyone, especially to Berkshire Mum, as your opinion on this as a mother is exactly the same as what my parent feels, quite understandably! I'll know better for next time! rolleyes.gif
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#7 hero

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 19:09

I do a lot of accompanying for exams, and charge just like BoogieCat on a scale, which include one rehearsal as well as playing at the exam. If the candidate requires another rehearsal, then I charge at my teaching rate. If I have to travel to a centre, I charge extra for this depending on the distance and the number of candidates.

It is vital to have a good accompanist who will be able to follow the candidate if he/she makes mistakes... In one of the exams I helped recently, a Grade 6 violinist skipped a whole line of music!!!
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#8 jojo

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 19:30

QUOTE(boogiecat @ Oct 7 2007, 07:26 PM) View Post

Depending on the grade, on a sliding scale, these are for the exam plus one rehearsal.

£20 for Grade 1

£34 for Grade 5

£50 for Grade 8


that's the sort of price I don't mind paying
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#9 sbpiano

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 19:34

For what it's worth I think that £75 is an awful lot to accompany a G3 exam. I have done quite a lot of accompanying,but wouldn't feel comportable charging this much at this level.
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#10 Guest: petrat_*

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 19:52

That is a very high fee for a grade three exam. I would ask the local rep to reccomend someone who will be there on the day accompanying other exams. You should not need much more than a short run through if your pupil is used to playing with the piano accomp already. Are you sure that you really cannot play at this level?
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#11 aspiringmusicteacher

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 20:24

QUOTE(petrat @ Oct 7 2007, 08:52 PM) View Post

That is a very high fee for a grade three exam. I would ask the local rep to reccomend someone who will be there on the day accompanying other exams. You should not need much more than a short run through if your pupil is used to playing with the piano accomp already. Are you sure that you really cannot play at this level?


I wish I could, but the truth is I haven't played in so long I wouldn't feel like it is the responsible thing to do. Piano isn't my first study instrument, and I have only just started playing again in the last six months. I'm keen to accompany exams in the near future but I don't think I'm ready yet, hence why I'm looking for an accompanist. I did think it was too high too but I can see the arguments for and against...

I suppose it is because it's my first pupil that I'm not as prepared for this as perhaps other teachers are; I know of teachers who categorically say they do not ever play for exams and they have their own accompanist, but I was in such a rush to find one so my pupil can meet them and get used to them. My pupil has aspergers and he gets very stressed when meeting new people (his first lesson with me was the same), so the idea was that I arranged 2 practice sessions with him and my accompanist so that they are not just another face in the exam, they are there as someone who knows him and supports him.

Does this all make sense?
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#12 Dugazon

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 20:25

That's a tricky one. Although I can understand that £75 is very much money for some people (also for myself!), I am heading into a similar direction like David here:

It is not the point how difficult the grade is you are accompaning (or just indirectly, i.e. if more practice time is needed), but how much time is involved.

If the hourly fee of the pianist is £25, 3 hours are covered, and this isn't much for practising/rehearsal, travelling AND accompaning, not even at a lower grade - the more since this accompanist offers two practice sessions, and he probably won't sit there with a stopwatch. I can't see anything steep about it considering what he offers ...

Of course you might find someone who charges a lower hourly fee, then you might be able to get the price down to something like 45 to 60£, but then again £25/h for an experienced accompanist isn't really much. Experience is important, especially in accompanying. A good accompanist will catch a student, even if it gets wobbly, while an inexperienced one (who can be a brilliant solo pianist!) will not always manage to do so.

Maybe you could bring him down to one practice session if that is comfortable enough for the student, that would definitely bring the price down. I know pianists who are only willing to do one rehearsal anyway, but it is as well down to the student how much practice with the accompanist they think they need.
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#13 nic

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 20:30

Aspringmusicteacher -

I would advise against offering to pay half the accompanist's fees. Firstly, it is not your responsibility Secondly, the parent willl come to expect it every exam. Once you build up a decent number of students you will be considerably out of pocket (in my teaching practise it would equate to over $1500 a year!)
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#14 Dugazon

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 20:33

Well said, nic ...

What you could do to help in this particular case: Offer instalments. Even if the pianist wants his money straightaway, you could pay him fully and then the parent pays you three or four (or more, depending on their needs) instalments ...
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#15 Melody Amour

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 20:39

Nic and Mezzo, you beat me to it. I was thinking the same as you guys as I rad aspiringteacher's post. If you do it for one pupil, all the rest will expect it.
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