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High school piano accompanist
#2365805 12/26/14 02:51 PM
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Hello everyone!

I am applying to jobs as accompanist and I have been seeing some as accompanist in high school mainly with choirs. For me what is a big surprise is that we are talking about full time jobs! I have some questions about this (general)
1 - is the salary enough to cover live living expenses
2 - does it offer good work consociational like our own room to practice
3 - how is a normal daily schedule

I'm sorry if the questions may seem silly but in my country I worked with a lot of choirs but there is no full time jobs just doing that.

Thank you!

Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2365812 12/26/14 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MiguelSousa
Hello everyone!

I am applying to jobs as accompanist and I have been seeing some as accompanist in high school mainly with choirs. For me what is a big surprise is that we are talking about full time jobs! I have some questions about this (general)
1 - is the salary enough to cover live living expenses
2 - does it offer good work consociational like our own room to practice
3 - how is a normal daily schedule

I'm sorry if the questions may seem silly but in my country I worked with a lot of choirs but there is no full time jobs just doing that.

Thank you!


Miquel - We have absolutely no idea about what specific jobs you are talking about. Salary level, practice facilities and daily schedules will differ from position to position.

In any case, you should put together a realistic, basic monthly budget for your potential living expenses (rent, food/toiletries, transportation, medical and auto insurance, and miscellaneous expenses) - which will help you determine whether or not you would be able to live on a given salary. Remember that employers will usually withhold a percentage of your gross monthly paycheck for federal and other taxes - so your basic monthly living expenses must be covered by the net amount you actually receive in cash each month. This will vary from employer to employer depending on whether you are considered a full or part time employee, or an independent contractor.


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2365821 12/26/14 03:33 PM
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Carey is absolutely right, and I would add that there are really great jobs out there and really awful jobs, so do use the application/interview/audition process to find out all the answers to your questions from the employer in detail before you agree to work there.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366059 12/27/14 09:09 AM
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Thank you for your help!

I just want a general idea. For example, in my school we have staff accompanist and I can describe their job : they have their own office, usually their job work is more concentrated during afternoons (of course we have recitals, juries and other activities ). I would like to have a perspective of a accompanist that works in a high school.

Thank you

Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366113 12/27/14 02:14 PM
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I have a hard time seeing how a high school accompanist would get full-time work. I would guess they would be used mainly for choir rehearsals and maybe play in February for the solo and ensemble competitions. Is there a specific job posting you are looking at?

Even staff accompanists at universities don't always get their own office. The first one I went to lost his office because they needed more practice rooms and the accompanist at the second one could use the choral library room that was also used by the choral GAs. They always had their rehearsals in practice rooms.


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366129 12/27/14 03:08 PM
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https://kckps.tedk12.com/hire/viewjob.aspx?jobid=3340

This is one of the Jobs that is full time as high school accompanist.

Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366137 12/27/14 03:30 PM
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"up to 40 hours" = 0-40 hours, most likely not full time.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

Working on:
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony no. 7
Tommy (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366149 12/27/14 03:53 PM
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One school in Texas contacted me and was for a full time job to start next semester. I only can start in August though..

Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366152 12/27/14 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MiguelSousa
https://kckps.tedk12.com/hire/viewjob.aspx?jobid=3340

This is one of the Jobs that is full time as high school accompanist.
Miquel - Just curious. How experienced are you at reading an "open score?" Also - have you personally ever sung in or accompanied a choral group? It is a completely different ball game than accompanying vocal or instrumental soloists or playing in a chamber ensemble.


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366167 12/27/14 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by MiguelSousa
One school in Texas contacted me and was for a full time job to start next semester. I only can start in August though..
Well it's good that whey were interested !!!!!! smile


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366169 12/27/14 04:34 PM
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I have done both and I've conducted choir in sections. I've also improvised and coached singers in different styles.
I'm aware of what the job is asking. I've done a lot of that work before I started my mAster. The only thing is that no in my current school can give me informations about how is the work in this environment. Not only that, but I have to have specific job characteristics since I'm foreigner.

Re: High school piano accompanist
hreichgott #2366177 12/27/14 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by hreichgott
"up to 40 hours" = 0-40 hours, most likely not full time.


It clearly states on the bottom of the job description "full-time".


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366214 12/27/14 06:51 PM
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These are all appropriate questions for a job interview, and the responses will vary widely. Salary could range anywhere from $15/hour to $40k per year. Some will give you dedicated practice space, some won't, and some of those practice spaces could be very small rooms with terrible upright pianos. Other places might give you a decent space with a regularly maintained grand.

The daily schedule will also vary, but in any school, expect to work plenty of odd evenings and weekends, as that's when performances are typically scheduled.

Originally Posted by MiguelSousa

1 - is the salary enough to cover live living expenses
2 - does it offer good work consociational like our own room to practice
3 - how is a normal daily schedule


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: High school piano accompanist
BruceD #2366215 12/27/14 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by hreichgott
"up to 40 hours" = 0-40 hours, most likely not full time.


It clearly states on the bottom of the job description "full-time".


That just means it will be more than 20 hours per week. In the US, less than 20 hours is considered part time and does not include benefits. Above 20 hours is considered full time and the employer must provide basic benefits.

The position Miguel posted is an hourly wage (I would guess between $15-20 per hour), with a schedule around 30 hours per week while school is in session. Since the position is hourly, you get $0 during holiday and summer breaks.

It is also highly unlikely that the school will pay for personal practice time or provide you with dedicated rehearsal/practice space.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366240 12/27/14 07:58 PM
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Some questions to ask at your interview:

1) How many sites and/or schools? If there are more than one site, would your time and mileage be covered for traveling between sites?

2) Is there a stipend for rehearsals/performances and festivals?

3) If you're salaried (meaning not paid by the hour), how many extra hours of rehearsal per week are expected?

4) Ask about "adjunct duties." These might be something as lame as chaperoning kids on field trips. These have to be spelled out precisely in your contract, and schools can't just dump extra duties on you that you are NOT paid to do. I had a nice long talk with the HR about this when I taught choir.

This is the part of the job description that would raise some concern: "Provide other non-musical assistance to the High School Choral Director as directed." You better iron this out before you accept the job.


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Re: High school piano accompanist
AZNpiano #2366248 12/27/14 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[...]
This is the part of the job description that would raise some concern: "Provide other non-musical assistance to the High School Choral Director as directed." You better iron this out before you accept the job.


And let's hope that that doesn't entail ironing his shorts!

But I agree that the "non-musical assistance" would have to be clearly delineated, as much as possible, otherwise it could involve all sorts of (potential) oddities that would have to be carried out because "it's in the contract" - sort of.


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366492 12/28/14 03:53 PM
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That's a great help!
In the first approach the interested employer does, is it okay to ask the number of hours and what is the rate?

Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366502 12/28/14 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MiguelSousa
In the first approach the interested employer does, is it okay to ask the number of hours and what is the rate?
Definitely !!!!!!! thumb


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Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366838 12/29/14 02:44 PM
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Oh my goodness, yes. Ask a million questions. You have every right to ask every question you want. Get all the information you need from them before you agree to work there.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

Working on:
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony no. 7
Tommy (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
Re: High school piano accompanist
MiguelSousa #2366866 12/29/14 03:28 PM
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Find out where your responsibilities lie in case you get sick or for reason cannot play.

I don't quite get the 'job - are you playing just to accomp the school gleeclub?

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