Meri’s Musical Musings

How much should you charge for accompanying?

Posted on: June 18, 2016

Sometimes advanced student pianists are approached by a friend or fellow classmate to play the piano part for a piece, and are offered money to do it. The advanced student, however, is often shocked at the difficulty of their friend’s or classmates piano parts, sometimes to the point which the piano student gives up on the idea of accompanying for good or the friend or classmate has to hire a professional accompanist at the last minute, because they cannot sight read it or it takes too much time to practice outside of their other pieces.

Generally, I feel that there should be an approximately inverse relationship between how well a pianist can sight read difficult to very difficult piano parts (eg: Sibelius or Tchaikovsky violin concerto reductions, or Malcolm Arnold’s Sonatina for clarinet and piano) and their experience to how much time they need to practice to make it perfect. Student pianists who already happen to be good sight readers with moderate-level accompaniments and can sight read at tempo or near tempo with only a few mistakes that still need a modest amount of practice should be charging probably around $25-30 in most areas, while an experienced accompanist who can play just about anything at first sight reasonably should be getting around $75-$80/h, and some command $125-$150 or more depending on the cost of living and how far in advance the request was for accompaniment. If an accompanist has incredible sight reading skills, it means that they can take jobs if they happen to be available on a week’s notice or even on 24 hours notice or less (which my husband had to do at least once, and one of the pieces was quite difficult), and charge substantially more for it, double to triple the normal rate than if they had at least two weeks to a month’s notice. In this case it was for an audition in a music program after high school, because the student’s original accompanist couldn’t play one of the parts well enough. (the student got in with substantial music scholarships!)

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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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