Being asked to rehearse outside of normally scheduled hours, a WWYD thread
  • The music director I am working with in my position as accompanist just asked if I could rehearse with some of our featured instrumentalists after Sunday services. Our usual practice time is Wednesday evening, I usually arrive by 5:00 and we're done by 8pm. I don't have to be there until 6 but since it isn't problematic for me to arrive earlier, I'm there if only to get settled, warm up, etc. Now, I know it's summer and since the choir is out of session things are a bit more, shall we say, flexible in terms of who does what at any given time and when they can do it. Even though I do have some extra time right now this will not be true when summer is over.

    I don't want this to become a habit. And once the fall comes I will be very swamped with assisting the big community choir along with all of my other music gigs. But I don't want to be seen as selfish with my time either. As it is my husband and I are both musicians and he has weekend gigs too, things are stressful enough around here making sure everything is coordinated and we both get to where we need to be sometimes.

    I need to take another look at my contract, but I'm pretty sure it didn't say anything about extra time. Oh, and I am also giving my time as a violinist freely in this job, even though it's not what I was hired for. I make $400 before taxes a month doing this, people. I love God, I love music, I don't want to be taken advantage of. Help?!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,987
    I would be totally agreeable to the extra time, if you can make it, but renegotiate your pay rate. If you're doing two things beyond your contract, make it $600 maybe.

    Or, if you really don't have the time, say that you don't mind helping out this way during the summer, but you'll have to stop the week before Labor Day or whatever.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I just started the job, so negotiating extra pay is out of the question for now. :( I was also asked to come in on Wednesday mornings to accommodate the extra people but I declined to do that because I really don't want to hire a babysitter or bring my kids with me. I'm definitely agreeable to making more money, but again I can't really do that at the moment. During my interview it was basically here's when you'll play,and whatever practicing and preparation you do in your own time and working with the music director. The director emails me multiple times a day sometimes, and now there's a stream of all these extra requests. The choir returns after Labor Day, so hopefully there will be enough focus on that to stop the extra stuff from creeping in. Sigh. I just dislike the feeling of being told one thing and then "Oh by the way can you do this?" It shouldn't be too difficult...I need to stop being so much of a "yes" person. :-/
  • JPike1028
    Posts: 95
    Since you arrive an hour early as it is, why not offer that time to the instrumentalist if they want to rehearse with you?
    Thanked by 1kenstb
  • I was asked to accommodate the soloists' schedules. Forgot to add that my family usually attends Mass at 12:30 on Sundays, and we aren't interested in changing that so no, I will not be able to stay later. Problem solved, at least for now...But it doesn't address the root of the problem :-/
  • afaic, work is work, you should be able to charge the "extra" hours to your director. Our parish moved to a timesheet that has a table for masses and rehearsals. I would simply have to tick a box to realize the value of my "extra" time. Some people can afford to do stuff for free. Not me; I is po.
  • A useful management technique is to send back an automatic email response, in your case telling the person that you want to give your fullest attention to them but you are very busy and take your work at the church and at home very seriously, so you confine your time spent emailing responses to after 8:30 in the evening on weekdays, after things have settled down and you have time to concentrate.

    IF you do this...and handle telephone calls the same way, they will suddenly stand back and respect you for acting as a professional.

    You simply MUST respond that you need to think about any additional duties they ask you to do and explain that you share responsibility with your husband in earning an income and as a result you cannot take on additional work unless you are paid to do it and that you are sure that they will understand.

    It is not fair to the people that will follow you if you let these people run you ragged and do not pay you for your time...and set a precedent.

    Do exactly what Continuosbass suggests and be sure to share the timesheet information you keep yourself with the DM AND the pastor....and with people who ask you to do things unpaid..."Would you like me to check with Father/DM to see if this can be added to my workload? Possibly they might have additional money set aside for this or would be willing to take me off other work I am assigned and pay me to do this instead."

    People who don't get it that you are talented and get paid for your talent will be surprised and, once again, begin to respect you.

    [Carl would be a very good person to step in here and say a few words....he is a real pro at this.]
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • Okay, well I sent the email and explained things I think pretty well. I put most of the emphasis on our usual Mass attendance time and why we must go at that time. Saturdays are almost always OUT, especially during orchestra season. I did ask that the soloists meet early on Wednesdays, we will see what the director says. I was even nice and offered to meet with the one soloist next Mon or Tues evening if she can't make it on Wednesday. My main idea was to keep the idea of extra rehearsals on Sundays out of the question.

    I reviewed my contract and here is what it says under responsibilities:

    -Attend scheduled choir rehearsals
    -Accompanist will spend as much time as necessary to prepare selected instrumental music for each worship service and will practice with the choir to meet those ends
    -Provide musical accompaniment to Sunday morning services, as assigned
    -Play prelude and postlude at each service

    This is vague wording, and I still don't think it includes accompanying other instrumentalists on MY instrument outside of usual scheduled times, but MAYBE I am wrong??

    I think the timesheet idea is fantastic, and I need to do that immediately. I'm already pouring several hours into practicing daily at home, as my contract tells me to. Apparently I'm still in my 90 day probationary period, so I feel slightly more pressure to do whatever I'm asked to, even if it is unreasonable.

    The music director is a lovely, kind, and wonderful person, but also quite anxious about things sometimes. I know she is under a lot of stress with the big choir event coming up during Christmas, and I don't want her to feel any more stressed. I think getting things under control with the emailing and everything else might help the stress level on both ends.

    Thanks again everyone :-)



  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 979
    You don't want to just deliver to the letter of the contract - that brands you as uncooperative. But define a level you can live with, then stick to your guns. But whatever you decide, be transparent with what you're doing, how that relates to the agreement is, and what your limits are. It sounds like they're testing your limits, and will continue until you show them what the limits are. Like adolescents do.

    A useful trick for the emails: just start slowing down your responses to a comfortable level. You have a life, after all, and email can only intrude so much. And it's really hard for another person to have an overactive conversation if you slow the pace. It also reinforces that you don't have infinite time to give to this job.

    And ... the 90 day period is also for YOU to make sure you're comfortable!
  • Ugh, gonna need some ice for my burn. I was reminded that their usual service schedule is 11am not 10am like it is during the summer, so my argument for attending 12:30 mass just fell apart. Truth be told it is so difficult for us to attend Mass regularly because we are musicians. We will go on Saturdays when we do not have a concert or other event, but even then it becomes a situation of "OMG we don't have to be anywhere let's stay home and order a pizza!" And if we did have a Saturday gig we're too tired to go before 12:30 Mass on Sunday and now with me taking this job it's not going to happen at all. My husband kindly offered to at least take the kids even if I can't be there on Sundays, and they do attend the school there so it isn't like they are deprived of any church time....Blah. Sigh. :-(
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,987
    Just as a general thing, I think that when negotiating it's better to leave personal/ family needs out of the conversation and stick with what you are offering the employer. If a full timer needs a raise, it's because s/he is due for one, and has made xyz improvements to the program; it's not because s/he wants to make a down payment on a house.

    If you're being asked to do much more than originally required, they should pay.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen francis