Attention All Organists: a way to improve your playing… Guaranteed!

Would you like a surefire way to improve your organ playing? Check out this repost from The Organ Is Praise. I wholeheartedly endorse what the author has to say. This is good stuff! I will even go so far as to offer a 100% money back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you!!!

I have a suggestion that will greatly help your playing: Forgive someone!

Yes, forgive someone. In fact, forgive everyone! Forgive the ward members who talk over your preludes, the church leaders that have openly censured you from the pulpit, the people who have sent you hate mail, the people who can barely play who were chosen for special meetings over you and the people who chose them, the visiting authority who walked into your practice time and spent the next 15 minutes yelling at you, the student who didn’t practice and everyone else who has ever trespassed against you. Forgive them all, no matter how great or small or silly the insult, and do it now.

All of the things in the previous paragraph have happened to me and, quite frankly, they hurt at time they occurred. Some of them hurt for years afterwards.  One day, however, I woke up and realized that I was carrying too much baggage around. I went to the Lord and told him that this was over. It didn’t matter how much I hurt or how justified I thought I was in how I felt. It was time to end the hurt and move on.

Why do I say that this will help your playing? It is because, as church musicians, we must have the Spirit of the Lord with us as we serve others. Bitterness is spiritual poison. It keeps the Spirit away and finally destroys the soul.

Why am I talking about this? It’s because, in my many years of church service, I’ve met too many great organists who, due to pride or offense taken, have hung an “out of order” sign around their necks and stopped serving. The number of people I have met who have made that choice is, unfortunately, way more than one or two. Service to the Lord and his church are the hallmarks of a great LDS organist. Without it, we are no longer great.

Just before I met my dear wife another young man was actively courting her. She wanted nothing more to do with him after he told her that he had deliberately flunked a class because the professor had offended him. She realized that he did not understand that by this behavior he was only hurting himself.

So, please – forgive someone today! You’ll be glad you did. Also, please forgive yourself.

Thanks, Harold!

What’s an Organist Worth?

Upon receiving notice of my successful completion of the AGO Service Playing Exam earlier this year, I learned that in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling to which I am entitled every time I place the initials SPC after my name, I am also now justified in asking for an increase in pay for my organistic endeavors.

Wow! An increase in pay for going to church and playing the organ. Sweet!

Of course, since I play for my LDS ward, a church which has no paid ministry—including organists, unless of course you count the fab five—even doubling my pay will leave my income pretty much where it is now. But still it made me feel good to think that out there in the world somewhere, someone would be willing to part with their hard-earned money just to hear me do what I’ve been doing for free for the past seven years.

Check this out…Maybe you’ll see that your musical contributions are worth more than you knew:

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Salary Guide for Musicians
Employed by Religious Institutions

Worship Service
• Single service (organist only or director only, no separate rehearsal) $100-$225
• Additional services (organist or director only) not requiring additional preparation $50-$125
• Rehearsal fees range from $25-$100/hour, depending on whether the substitute is organist only, director only, or organist-director combination and the preparation required

Funerals
• Service fees are $100-$225 (service only)
• Rehearsals $25-$100/hour, depending on the difficulty of the music and the participation of choirs, soloists, or instrumentalists.

Weddings
• Service fees are $100-$350 (service only)
• Wedding rehearsal with bridal party is $50-$100/hour.
• Additional rehearsals are $30-$50/hour.

Miscellaneous
• The charge for contracting singers/instrumentalists is $15-$35/person hired.
• The current, federally approved business standard mileage rate for reimbursement of business travel is charged if visits to church for practice, rehearsal, and service exceed 20 miles per round trip.

From Salary Guide for Musicians Employed by Religious Institutions

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