What constitutes "part time" or "full time" duties?
  • With a new job posting promoting some adverse responses (and with Admin not having closed the post) it seems opportune to ask the question: What duties are those of part time work, and what are those of full time work in THIS field?

    To get the ball rolling, I'll put these on the table:

    If, in addition to playing the organ, one must direct a choir, is this necessarily (not potentially) full time work?

    If, in addition to directing the choir, one must submit to "other duties assigned by the pastor", is thatnecessarily full time work?

    If, in addition to playing for 17 Masses a weekend, one must "meet periodically with the liturgy committee and other representatives of the parish communities", is this necessarily full time work?

    If, in addition to parish work, one has a school-based component, is this necessarily full time work?

    If, in order to do the work properly (whatever the duties) one is (reasonably) unable to have full time employment elsewhere, is that necessarily full time work?
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    The answers are mostly, "it depends."
    No.
    Need more info (what's the pastor like?)
    Absolutely.
    Almost certainly.
    Depends.

    There used to be a commonly used formula for a Church's choir director/organist's "visible hours" times X = "total hours" worked, but can't recall what the number was.

    Some pastors have trouble wrapping their heads around the research, composing (or at least arranging,) cutting & pasting, practicing accompaniment, setting & copying programs (at least for the choir,) putting the numbers on the hymn board or setting up the projections, keeping the library organized that goes into prep for a choir rehearsal - they think the choir rehearsal IS the prep.
    (My explanation was, "Your sermon lasted 7 minutes - did it take you 7 minutes to write it?)
    That's not even counting keeping up on changes in what the GIRM, or the Lectionary, or the Missal or the national conference of bishops, or the liturgy dept at the local chancery requires of us.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World!)
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 686
    I think firstly what one has to remember is that the employer not the empolyee determines if a position is "full time." If the job reguires 130 hours or more month-to-month than the employer will likely consider the job "full time." If you are only working 100 hours the first month and 80 the next, 60 the next, and some variation of that over the course of several months throughout the year it's not full time.

    If you decide to take an organist job or music director job then you better know what you're getting yourself into. What it really boils down to is "what is your time worth to you and how much of your time are you willing to freely give to the parish?"
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,383
    Bureaucracies tend to have clear definitions - UK governments are like this :-
    a) The normal conditioned working week for civil servants (that is the hours of duty which pay is calculated to cover and, for staff who are eligible for overtime payments, the hours which must be worked before such payments are paid) is 37 hours (excluding meal breaks).
    When I was an academic, for comparable pay, the timed duty of face to face teaching time was about 8*50 minutes per week for 36 weeks of the year. For those 36 weeks we were expected to be around the campus during office hours (researching, preparing, marking, .). Things may be different now,
  • Does "Developing" a program take on the quality of full-time work because there is so much more to do than the contact hours with the students?
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  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    Seems to me much depends on the culture or lack thereof and expectations of the parish, such that “choir” may not be the deciding factor. On one hand there could be a TLM parish with pro octet, in which the singers can show up and sing the propers and whatever SATB.SATB motets CPDL gives for Sexagesima after a 30-minute rehearsal. On the other there could be a place where the choir sings along on the hymns and the psalm refrain, but the cantor really is driving the train, and you just sing whatever OCP suggests. The middle areas with non-professional choirs and no fixed repertory, but a wish for the chant and thoughtfully-selected anthems and hymns each week are much harder, given the recruitment, pedagogy, and headscratching involved to make it work.
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • Gamba,

    I take the point you're making, but are you, therefore, denigrating the double-choir capable musicians?
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 542
    No, just saying it’s rather easier and less time-consuming to perform complicated polyphony with seasoned pros than to begin to perform simpler polyphony with 3 sopranos, 4 retired sopranos, a female tenor, and one bass, none of whom are familiar with Latin or printed music.
  • ope wrong thread. but do agree with the points above
  • Vansensei,

    Is this on the wrong thread?
  • And yes, "developing" a program can be full-time work, especially if you're reviving a choral program as the job description says.
  • PaxTecum
    Posts: 304
    I set my own editions for volunteers and prof. singers alike, so my preparation is the same for both. Rehearsal time is definitely less with a prof. schola vs. volunteers. I have a volunteer choir, some budget for “tolle et lege” singers as needed (especially on Holy days and Sundays which are important feasts), and will be starting a children’s schola soon. And the position is considered part time.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Full-time: You will live and sleep at the church for any practical purposes.
    Part-time: You will be there less than full-time.
    A rule of thumb: The lazier the priest, the more he will minimize your time and effort.
    Thanked by 3Elmar PaxTecum tomjaw
  • Nothing is "necessarily" full time: all work expands to fill the time available.

    I was totally stunned the first time I met a choir director who thought that he had to put sheets into each of the member-folders himself: his choir members really WEREN'T that dumb. Similarly the parish office staff were 100% capable of making 20 copies of any file he send them, and leaving them in the choir room by an agreed time.

    Making all your own arrangements of everything you sing is great. But it's not essential. Choir members have pencils, and are well capable of writing in small modifications that you want.

    Choosing repertoire so complicated that you need to practice of 2 hours per day means you will do some fantastic music. But there's plenty of perfectly worthy music which isn't so complicated, and can be achieved with a good deal less. If you WANT to practise for 2 hours a day, then go for it - but don't expect to it on your employer's dime.

    "Developing" a choir is a totally meaningless phrase. Teaching them to some breathing exercises is development. Learning one new hymn or Mass setting in a different language is development. Two hour group practises, plus 1/2 hour one-to-one vocal tuition for each member is also development. So is getting one new person to join.

    Measurements of success need to be agreed based on what the parish is able and filling to resource. Paid hours is just one of those resources.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    Pax... I am very curious...

    are you an organist? Or, do you hire your accompanist(s)?

    Do you employ the organ for liturgy? If so, do you program pre, inter and post = lude? If yes, what works by what composers would be typical?

    Do you NOT like to program “fantastic music”? Or, is it not expected of you? Or, do you not have the resources to include it in your liturgies? It seems by your comments that it is extraneous.
  • Pax,

    If your general point is that musicians have big egos, and that therefore the fact that they consider their work worthy of full-time remuneration regardless of what they actually do, I'll go part of the way with you.

    SOME musicians have enormous egos.
    These musicians usually identify themselves not by the quality of music they bring to the Mass, but by their resemblance to Moliere's M. Jourdain in The Would-Be Gentleman.

    I think Francis might be responding to an implicit "mediocrity is good" in your arguments. The alternative to Spem in Alium isn't Michael Row your Boat Ashore, but the opposite of striving to give the best to God is striving to NOT give God the best.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    I’m just very curious about what is Pax’s general approach to Liturgical music. If it’s the St. Louis Jesuits, and the like, or a praise band, well, that would be an entirely different situation, but who knows? His/her summation of a ‘music position’ all relies on context which could produce a very myopic view.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • I support whoever the Holy Spirit puts my way. This has included some a couple of organists in the past. But more regularly it's keyboard players, guitarists, flautists, etc.
    Some can read dots, some can't. Almost all have been volunteers: I avoid paid-to-pray situations.

    Personally, I make wordsheets, newsletter inserts, slides, handouts, overheads - whatever is required. I sing. In my current parish, I make suggestions based on what I know the available musician(s) and congregation knows - because that really matters to the current PP. I have unobtrusively retired a LOT of musical drek from the parish repertoire. Some worse than Michael Row - at least the tune in that resolves! Most of you looking in would say we still do a lot of drek - and yeah, I'd agree. But that's not going to change anytime soon, unless the Holy Spirit inspires some musicians who don't pout and refuse to play hymns they consider boring.

    I've sung some fabulous choral music - in secular choirs. But I don't find the attitude which is necessary to bring those pieces to performance standard to be particularly Christian.

    EVERYONE is every job that's not 100% regulated could expand their work to full-time: the janitor could polish the floor and wash the windows weekly etc. The secretary could provide in-person phone answering 9-5 every day, and open the office on Sundays (you know, when most people are actually AT church). Etc.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • But that's not going to change anytime soon, unless the Holy Spirit inspires some musicians who don't pout and refuse to play hymns they consider boring.
    Sounds like they need either a) formation, b) a deeper Faithlife (which would therefore be nourished by that “boring music), c) to be relieved of the burden of music ministry or d) some combination thereof.
    Thanked by 1irishtenor
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    Pax

    How do you know the Holy Spirit “has put musicians in your way?”

    The thorns in my flesh are the musicians and hirelings that the evil one puts in my way. (Those that work against the norms of sacred music.)
  • Sounds like they need either a) formation, b) a deeper Faithlife (which would therefore be nourished by that “boring music), c) to be relieved of the burden of music ministry or d) some combination thereof.


    And if they were "relieved of the burden" - the parish would have no music at all. I'm not seeing that as a good strategy.

    To expect teens and 20-somethings to have the depth of faith-life which older people sometimes have is,generally, totally unreasonable. Faith is a lifetime journey: what nourishes the child is unsuitable for the adult, and vice versa.


  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    To expect teens and 20-somethings to have the depth of faith-life which older people sometimes have is,generally, totally unreasonable. Faith is a lifetime journey: what nourishes the child is unsuitable for the adult, and vice versa.
    this is a false paradigm. Children are small adults, but this kind of thinking turns it upside down… this is quite revealing, Pax.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • francis
    Posts: 10,694
    I've sung some fabulous choral music - in secular choirs. But I don't find the attitude which is necessary to bring those pieces to performance standard to be particularly Christian.
    wow… please extrapolate.
    Thanked by 1LauraKaz
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,298
    Children are much less set in their ways and it's much easier to teach them to love and sing music from our patrimony. If you stretch them in that direction, you might be surprised by how successful it is.
  • It’s my 60-something’s who fought me on Latin at first. My teens and 20-somethings are eager to do renaissance polyphony and chant, and complain if we don’t append the Gloria patri during the communion antiphon.
  • To expect teens and 20-somethings to have the depth of faith-life which older people sometimes have is,generally, totally unreasonable.To expect teens and 20-somethings to have the depth of faith-life which older people sometimes have is,generally, totally unreasonable.
    as I said, sounds like they need formation. And it’s often a dangerous assumption to think that just because someone is older they have a more mature Faithlife. You can go to your deathbed in your eighties with the Faithlife of a 5yo, while a 14yo can become a mystic or martyr.