Music is Life

Should Church Musicians Be Paid?

Even though I think it’s hilarious that this is even a question I can understand why it’s an issue for many churches. I’ve come to the conclusion that these sorts of thoughts derive from a lack of education, people simply don’t know how to value the arts.

I was surprised to see many articles on Google regarding this and there are good arguments to be had on both sides. Author Joshua Weiss has a short but great list of criteria (see article here) that helps answer this question: Are the musicians truly professional? Do you value them and their time/skill? Can the church afford them? Are there alternatives?

In my personal experience I played for a particular church for many years without pay but was grateful to do it. I never really thought about getting paid until I was finishing up my MFA. At that point in life I just could no longer afford to perform for free anymore. I gave them a year’s advance notice that I would need to start getting paid or else I would have to leave, not as a threat, but simply to earn a living elsewhere. Sad to say they let me go. Even though I felt disappointed I was glad. You see, it had become a burden in many ways: the time, the travel, dealing with toxic behavior from some of the other band members, and the feeling of “carrying” the whole band. If I wasn’t there the worship was mediocre at best. It’s a flattering notion but a burdensome one as well. One of the things Weiss alludes to is people getting “ground up in the church machine” which “leads to burnout or a calloused view of church and Christianity.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, this is exactly how I felt. It didn’t even feel right to lead worship for FREE, my heart simply had no more joy.

At this point in life I see things not necessarily as right vs. wrong but more in the vein of beneficial vs. destructive. Applied to this case the question turns from “is it right/wrong to pay church musicians” to “is it beneficial/destructive to pay church musicians”. The answer becomes much easier to answer now. Most Christian churches today strongly rely on music as part of their ministry. I can’t see how paying skilled musicians a fair and reasonable amount for this vital aspect can be destructive. In my case the church wasn’t wrong for not paying me but that turned out to be non-beneficial for them. If this story is true of me I’m sure it’s true for thousands of other people and churches across the states.

Best Dance Floor Routine of All Time!

It’s not often that a gymnast comes into my studio asking for a specialized mix for her routine but when Sophina DeJesus from UCLA walked in I obliged. Little did I know how big her routine would get! I’ve even read that her routine might be the greatest of all time, crazy! Check it out.

and the original performance here:

I love seeing my clients putting their talents to work. Great job, Sophina!