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Organist Fees

The Organ Music Society of Sydney does not currently recommend minimum fees, however members may wish to consult the Society of Organists Inc (Victoria) 2012 schedule below.

Sydney organists must note that fees are higher in Sydney than in Melbourne owing to the higher cost of living in Sydney. As a guide, the Music Teachers' Association of NSW recommends a minimum hourly rate of $72 for private instrumental lessons in 2012 whereas the Victorian Music Teachers' Association recommends only $62.

The following 2012 information is reprinted with the approval of the Council of the Society of Organists (Victoria) Inc. and it is stressed that it is recommended as a guide for negotiation to qualified, experienced and competent organist/musician members of the SOV at all levels.

Please note that the word negotiation is important, particularly with respect to those who may have less experience and perhaps no professional qualification. This information is also available on the SOV website at:


What to pay Organists/Directors of Music

The sordid subject of coin (to coin a phrase) is one that has vexed organists/directors of music and church leaders alike. It would appear that there is no rule of thumb when negotiating fees. In cases where there is a tradition of music in a church, negotiating a reasonable salary is a relatively easy process. However, in many more cases where music is almost seen as an afterthought, the concept of paying a decent fee to a musician is galling to some people. At least one person has said to me when I told him my fee for playing at a wedding, "Well, you're only practising. Why do you expect to be paid?"

However, as a general rule, most church leaders realise that, if they want to have a decent standard of music in the church, they are going to have to pay a decent fee, and it's also fair to say that the more experienced/qualified the musician, the more he/she should expect to be paid.

To that end, the Society hereby provides a suggested schedule of fees (below) to assist in the determining of a suitable salary. It may also be very helpful for the musician to complete an Hours Worksheet to accurately determine the number of hours to negotiate. The American Guild of Organists has a Schedule of Fees which may be useful for comparison. Incidentally, the Australian Bureau of Statistics Average Weekly Wage as at November 2011 is $1,333.40, which equates to $69,336.80 p.a.

Note that this schedule is suggested only and is currently under review by the society (2012). SOV Webmaster


Organist with ability and experience - one weekly service, no choir

52 weeks including 4 weeks paid annual leave

Sick leave negotiated

$200 p.w.

$10,400 p.a.

Organist with ability and experience

One weekly service and choir rehearsal

[accompaniment under choir director]

52 weeks including 4 weeks paid annual leave

Sick leave negotiated

$250 p.w.

$13,000 p.a.

Organist and Choir Director qualified and experienced

One service and one full choir rehearsal

52 weeks including 4 weeks paid annual leave

Sick leave negotiated

$300 p.w.

$15,600 p.a.

Additional Services not included as part of Salary Package

such as for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, extra Easter and Christmas Day services when music is required

Organist only - per service


Organist and Choir Director with choir - per service


Weddings and Funerals - not included in salary package

$250 - $300


Locum / Deputy Organist Sunday only - travelling time included within 30 kms of home


Locum / Deputy Organist and Choir Director

No rehearsal


With one short rehearsal


With one full rehearsal


FEES and SALARY PACKAGES - to be indexed by CPI annually.