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Proposed Musician Categories and Compensation

There is a wide range of experience, ability and education among local musicians; such a wide range that the categories already seem inadequate. But I wanted to make an attempt at creating a fair and reasonable set of definitions, to make compensation a little more predicatable at future (funded) festivals.


  • Volunteer: includes those who would otherwise be included in one of the paid categories of musician, but have decided to waive the compensation offered.

  • Professional: includes those who
    • Work full time as a musician OR
    • Have a PhD or DMA in music, regardless of employment

  • Semi-Professional: includes those who
    • Are employed on a regular basis as church musicians, in pit orchestras, as accompanists for NYSSMA soloists, etc. OR
    • Have, or are working on a masters degree in music, regardless of employment

  • Student: includes students up to and including those with Bachelor's degrees in music, but not employed as musicians on a regular basis.

  • Amateur: includes anyone who wants to be in this category.

  • Mentor: includes music teachers who bring in and support student performance at a festival. For example, a teacher who brings in students to perform in an ensemble where the teacher has prepared the students with outside rehearsals etc., regardless of whether or not the teacher is part of the ensemble. This would also include someone who serves as accompanist for a student. This is strongly encouraged.


  • Professional: $50 per half-hour per musician
  • Mentor: $50 per half-hour. One mentor per half hour segment.
  • Semi-Professional: $25 per half-hour per musician up to $100 per half-hour for a group
  • Students and Amateurs: no compensation, except for the experience.