November 14, 2008
Vol. VIII, No. 14
"Organists as Economic Impact Zones"
With the continuing developments in the financial world, I thought I would try to consider the situation through the filter of a church organist's perspective. However, not being active in the field I ended up with more questions than answers. Maybe some of you can provide answers to these questions:
- Have people turned increasingly to the church in this difficult time?
- Are people able to keep on giving monetarily to the church?
- Do churches have an increased burden due to the economic problems?
- Will the boom in organ building subside as churches re-focus on maintenance?
- Will maintenance expenditures also subside?
- Will we see organ companies going out of business?
- Will we see churches going out of business?
- Is there a re-focus on community?
I look forward to hearing about your first-hand experiences. On the bright side, musicians know more about surviving "poor" and stretching a dollar than most people. We're also more often familiar with cobbling together a livelihood from several small jobs or "scrounging" as we used to say growing up
One tip I can give is something that BACHorgan.com community member Peter Stapleton always advocated: the idea of non-cash compensation. While it may be hard to approach church authorities about salary concerns during these times, perhaps consider ways that the church can compensate you other than money. The day may come when you are more interested in bartering for room and board than receiving cash.
This makes me think of something I read in The New Bach Reader edited by Christoph Wolff. It was a list of Bach's annual compensation when he was a court organist. In addition to cash, Bach received 18 bushels of wheat, 12 bushels of barley, four cords of high-quality wood and 30 pails of beer. Seems like a good deal. To try your own text search in The New Bach Reader, click this link:
A colleague of mine went through a loss in the family and talked about how useful it was to have some mundane, routine work to perform to get through their rough time. Similarly, as musicians, we can take advantage of our practice routines to keep moving forward and lean on that structure to take our minds off of stressful thoughts.
Finally, I'd like to recommend the work of a client of mine, Judith West. Judith has a show on cable access and a regular spot on 1010WINS radio in the New York area. Her show is Getting Your Money's Worth and her website is:
The focus of her message is getting value for your money and suggesting ways to improve the quality of your life. The one-minute videos are quick and informative however the longer-form interviews have much to offer as well. With a wide variety of topics, there is something for everyone.
That's it for now. Y'all be careful out there!
Susan Burkhalter has been very good about regularly posting to her blog "ORGANISTS' NEWS." Her latest entry begins with comments on Albert Schweitzer and takes off from there. Visit Sue's blog and leave a comment on your way out.
Betsy Baumgardner. Organist - Vocalist - Teacher – Performer.
See what's new. There's always time for a chuckle or two!
Please visit the Community Links page and refer us to your favorite website! While there you can view the latest submissions.
Click this link to read comments and offer your own:
Have a great week!
Have an Opinion on this Topic?
If you would like to share your opinion or see what others have to say, please click here.
Weekly Rampage Archives: Click here for Back Issues.