Monday, November 14, 2022

Why hiring a choir or singing workshop leader can seem so expensive

When people ask me how much I charge to lead a singing workshop they are often surprised by how high my fee is.

It works out as an enormous hourly rate. Here’s why it’s not as expensive as it seems.

I choir leader friend of mine once asked her choir committee for a raise.

Her fee for leading the choir each week hadn’t changed for many years. She had also grown the choir considerably and thought she should be paid accordingly.

One of the committee members objected since that would mean a huge hourly rate.

The member concerned had a job that paid not much more than minimum wage and they couldn’t see how a choir leader’s pay should be so much more.

What they hadn’t understood was that a choir or singing workshop leader works just a few hours each week. Somebody on £10 an hour working a 40-hour week would earn around £400 before deductions. A choir leader being paid £50 an hour for a two-hour session each week would only be earning £100 a week.

Another factor to consider is that a choir or singing workshop leader is not just paid for the hours they’re in the room, working with the singers. Their fee needs to cover preparation time, finding songs, arranging songs, planning warm ups, travel to the venue, and so on.

My fee for a full day of singing is £500. For that I will be teaching for five hours, so it looks like a rate of £100 an hour.

But factor in a one-hour lunch break, that I arrive half an hour before the workshop starts and usually hang around for half an hour afterwards, answering questions and clearing up. Then it becomes seven hours’ work.

Add to that travel time to and from the venue (which can be two hours or more each way), and the hourly rate begins to look the same as a choir leader on £50 an hour. And I’m only running singing days once a month at most.

Next time you ask a choir or singing leader how much they charge, do bear in mind that a simple hourly rate for their face-to-face time doesn’t tell the whole story.

other useful posts

You might also find these older posts interesting:

How much are you worth? PART 1

How much are you worth? PART 2

Why choir leaders aren’t millionaires (even though we charge a lot)

Chris Rowbury


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