How much is a musician worth?

How much is a musician worth?

Dear Poppa Chris

I am an instrumental music teacher, teaching drums a few nights a week at the local music school as well as a few kids at home .........

I have just been asked to teach at the local school and have found that the pay is a lot less than expected about $30 per hour less tax etc .... it seems to be a take it or leave it situation ........ where do I go to find an award rate for the work that we do? Why does it all seem like a dog eat dog situation?

Mike B

Lavi Lakes Vic.

Dear Mike

It is a sad and disgusting state of affairs that many schools that supposedly provide a safe, nurturing environment for growing students" deliver near obscene contempt for visiting instrumental teachers by paying a rate that was last called a basic award around 1988.

Let me lay this on the line ...... for you, the students and the people that pay musicians wages generally .......



This is an award that factors in your experience, qualifications and talent as a musician. As in every industry, there is the fly-by-night "do it on the cheap" bullshit artist that makes it hard for everyone else in their respective trade ....... bad plumbers, dodgy builders and shit for brains music teachers; unqualified and egocentric ....... these wannabe's usually get whatever money and run .... leaving the kids in the lurch with a few photocopies and a slap on the back as they take off for their next tour of Hoppers Crossing!

The way a school pays the award rate of $54 p.h. is best left to a discussion between yourself and the music co-ordinator of the school, whether it be teaching in groups or an extra dollar or two for single students, the bottom line being a healthy environment for both student AND teacher as well as the music department being vibrant and in the black.

As far as it all being a dog-eat-dog situation, the music industry AND the music teaching industry will always be that way as long as fellow musicians are willing to sell each other out for $20 either through less than award teaching positions or doing the diabolical door- take gig.

Maybe to answer your question, I need to ask some questions myself ...............

1) Why does the doortake gig mean that a band essentially pays to play. With no money for petrol, rehearsals, sticks or strings?

2) Why is it that being paid $10 less than award is commonplace in the music industry, yet in the building or airline industry, this would normally mean a walk-off or state-wide strike?

3) Why is it that reception bands getting $80 per band member means there has been no increase in music wages since 1986?

4) Why did one of Australia's finest drummers recently have to pay $3 for a small bottle of water at a melbourne jazz venue where his band attracted nearly two hundred people? Do mechanics pay for water in a workshop or for the special detergent that cleans their hands?

5) Therefore, If the government and building industry is policing safe work place environments as law ..... why not in a jazz venue in a lane paying GUTTER rates?

6) The American Musician's Union was an employment agency for musicians at one time; Why has the Australian Musician's Union delegated this function to Centrelink?

7) Why do some booking agencies charge a wedding couple $1000 for music, then only pay the band $400?

8) Why do mafioso style business tactics determine that the brand name of the equipment is booked before the name or talent of the musician?

9) When will musicians reclaim a sense of musical community through common adversity creating respective originality?

10) Why am I so naive?

........ Hey Mike! .... hope this helps! ...... whatever happens remember ....... a teacher has the power to change people's lives ...... this in itself deserves an award!