hi everyone,

my bass player and i are going to play for an hour at a baby shower. how much would you suggest we charge? (we are both 17 years old)

thanks in advance.
There are 51 comments, leave a comment.
my advice is don't charge very much.  playing for one hour is a short period of time, and presumably a small crowd, that is not making a profit.  

my guess is that being 17, you may not be particularly experienced and that you have probably been asked because you know or are related to someone involved. (if you don't know the people, and have been asked because you are very good and have a reputation, that that might make a difference).  

i don't know which country you live in, but i would say no more than about usd 80 each, probably less.
at least $150 a head, so ask them for $300.  if you are already gigging around and playing pro gigs, then ask for more.  

always ask for your high number first, if they balk, you can say $100 a head and that will sound like a good deal to them.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

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by the way, never be embarrassed to ask for what you're worth. so many musicians are embarrassed or something to ask for big money.  it's like talking to a girl- if you see one you like, talk to her, the worst that can happen is she won't talk back.  same with asking for money. if they say no way, then ask them what they had budgeted.

i'm not assuming you have a problem with this, but it's good info for anyone.
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
and don't forget to have a business card in case someone asks to book you.  always be looking ahead to the next gig!
not knowing more specifics, i'd go with g's advise.  but, i would ask first what their budget was to see if you're even in the ball park before naming your price. if someone calls me and wants to hire our 6 peice dance band for bar band price (and it's not a charity event), it's not even worth continuing the discussion because you'll spend more time justifying your cost and they won't hire you anyway.

my opinion of asking $150 and coming down to a $100 makes you look like a car salesman (and i say that after spending the last three weeks dealing with car dealerships...i ended up going with a saturn since you don't have to deal with negotiation).

i think it's better to say up front that our normal price is $150 but we'll do it for $100 (or $80 or whatever) then to say it's $150 and then start negotiating back and forth on price.  the first scenario leads to better goodwill between buy and seller and leads to better chance for repeat business or referral.

just my opinion though.  everybody's situation is different.
i'd say given your age, the highest i'd try to go is $100 per person. i mean, it all depends where you live...but i'm a professional where i live and $100 an hour (per person) for a regular society gig is a great price here. people play regularly for much lower.

i mean, it's not a wedding. what g said in his second paragraph holds true here.
stop going on about age, i am sick to death of people being so ageist!  okay most people won't have as much experience at a young age but if your shit hot, charge a shit hot price.  depends how good you are not how old you are, billy strayhorn was teaching at berkley at 16 i think
typo!  he was teaching at 16, people at berkley go on about this all the time.  he was also writing for a professional musical at 19.  scott la farro the bass player was playing with bill evans at a very young age.  i really don't think age has anything to do with it, if you can play well and do the job then you should get paid the money you're worth.  i totally agree with scot, ask for more and then if thats rejected you can bargain.  just make sure you don't go for anything less that you are worth.
you're right, if "jazz guy" is the next coming of bill evans or keith jarrett, he should hold out for at least $150 !  :-)

let's be realistic, we're not talking a 5 star hotel lounge gig or a high society wedding at the most exclusive country club in town...it's a baby shower!

jazz guy, it really comes down to your decision...do you want to hold out for a top dollar figure, or do you want to do it for less for the experience and exposure.
lol, you're right larry, it does come down to what jazz guy wants, but it doesn't have anything to do with age.
i dunno...i think age matters.  i'm 48 so i charge 48 bucks.  maybe they should charge $17 a piece :)
dr. whack, you are way undercharging.  i'm 48 too, and i charge at least $96.
also, how large of a baby shower is it, and where is it being held?  i'm just curious...i've never heard of a baby shower having a hired jazz duo before.
it's a pretty small event, and it's at the woman's house. she says theres not enough room for drums so that's why its just a duo.

i ended up asking $150 total.
i think you made the right choice jazz guy.
i do not charge a penny less for a one hour gig than i do for a three hour gig.  and i think that is fairly standard.  so what ever you would normally charge for a regular gig is what you would charge for this one hour job.
for example this is how wedding processions are billed.  even though you may only play for fifteen minutes you still  charge a full gig price.  
i bill $150 to play the bridal march and the wedding march.  this totals about ten minutes of playing time maximimum.  if they want me to play some music while people are being seated increasing my playing time to maybe a half hour i charge the same amount.  for the coctail hour where i play one and half hours i charge $150.  most times when i play clubs for three hours i am lucky if i can get $150.  so basically i charge the same amount whether you book me for ten minutes or for three hours.
i generally charge a certain amount for the first hour, and then a little less for each additional.  also, don't forget to double your rate if you ever get called by some large corporation :o)
other jobs on that particular day (even if the gig is only 2 or 3 sets), so that i am able to give my very best effort to the musical performance!

consequently, i expect to be be paid for a full day's work.

anything less is an insult.
wouldn't the price greatly vary based on location?
haha, and another word of advice that i just thought of.  watch out for the words "we can't pay you, but you'll get a lot of exposure".  once in a great while, that is actually the case and can turn into a good thing.  most of the time, though, it's just people being cheap.  i got called for a gig once, and they used those exact words.  my reply was, "well, are you paying the caterers?"...."uh...well, yeah"...."ok, that's what i thought.  sorry, you'll have to get someone else".  just be cautious of people who try to take advantage of your abilities.

so make sure to bring warm clothing and matches.
i should leave this alone, but...

by analogy - i have a small carpentry job to do in my backyard, let's say i want to build a playhouse for my kids.  i can either get a professional, who will charge me large amounts of money, but comes with some sort of guarantee that the job will be professionally done.  

alternatively, i can get my 17 year old cousin to do it - he's keen, and i expect that he'll do it for much less.  it might be a disaster, but i trust he'll do his best, and it will all probably be just fine.  anyway, the kids won't really mind if the job is a little rough, as long as i make sure it is safe.

my 17 year old cousin consults "learncarpentry.com" and decides that he ought to charge me the same rate as a professional carpenter would charge for a whole day, even though the job only takes an hour.

has it occurred to you that he really doesn't want to build your stupid playhouse and that the reason he's trying to overcharge you is to discourage you from taking advantage of him (as you have done so many times in the past)?

well, that was fun ... lol
but i won't be obliged to get a professional if my cousin refuses - i can just make the kids do without, on the basis that it is too expensive.  by analogy, i think i'll just create a playlist on my ipod for the baby shower...
an ipod costs well over a hundred dollars, and if you are legally downloading mp3s at a buck each then an hours worth of music will cost you around $20.

the price of the ipod combined with the (low quality) mp3s is significantly more than what you were going to pay your cousin.

and now you want to make your children suffer after you went and promised them a nice new playhouse!

why don't you just buy your kids a prefab doghouse and tell them it's the latest fashion in playhouses?

no wonder everybody in your family is mad at you ...

< g >
i think you're on the wrong angle here - you're talking about fixed overheads - that's like saying that i ought to pay you for the cost of your guitar or piano, which is part of your cost of doing business, and not one to be passed directly onto the client.

perhaps the problem with my cop out was that i ought to be paying royalties and subscription, as bars and clubs do, for the right to play music publicly (but this may not apply to a baby shower).

anyway, even i'm losing the point here, and in deference to the useful advice i've obtained from you in the past 7, i'll let this one go.  my point was the mcjobs point - if you pay peanuts, you get teenagers, and the "mates rates" point (as we say in australia) - if you do a job for your friend or relative, you don't charge full rate.  my assessment of the original post (reading between the lines) was that both of these principles applied.  

i don't advocate underpaying musicians generally - money from gigs was my major source of income for quite a few years.
this thread reminds me of a jack-in-the-box commercial where jack is at some type of fast food convention and runs into a vendor who is offereing his services as a chicken nugget taste-tester for $25,000 per test.  intrigued, jack goes up to the man and asks him hom many takers he expects at such a high price, and the tester responds something like "it only takes one!"
7 your break down of before the downbeat and after the encore is awesome!  i am copying that and am going to include that with some contracts for the buyers perusal.  i once told a club owner who complimented my playing as she paid me.  
"you are not paying me for my playing... you are paying me for setting up and packing up all this equipment"   she gave me the strangest look.
7 is exactly right with his breakdown of the labor involved before you hit one note.  this is the music biz and i love it.  it may sound crazy but i enjoy every part of it.  however, now that i'm older i enjoy rolling more compact equipment to gigs instead of humping a b3 up stairs for one niters.

which is of course, the same justification for doctors, lawyers and all sorts of highly trained professionals to command a goodly price for their services (not even counting the tons of dollars that it costs to get that kind education and then pay back all those loans - and in many musicians' cases, the number of bohemian years spent starving so that we could completely dedicate our miserable lives to our art).
which means that if you don't have a lifetime of experience, you don't get to charge the big bucks?
which means if you don't have a lifetime of experience, you probably suck and don't deserve the big bucks.
so if i'm 17, and my bass player and i are going to play at a baby shower for about an hour, how much should we charge?
i'd be getting lucky that night!!!

i can't think of anything more excruciatingly boring than a baby shower.  i think they should be banned.
but if the babies are too young to stand up, the showers can be a lot of fun
you are absolutely right, 7!

playing for a bunch of girls, and only girls, is priceless!

lol and double lol !!!
not if i'm 17 and the girls are in their 30's and 40's
well, if you need a last minute sub... lemme know
haha how old are you, jwv76?
just for those of you who've never been to a baby shower, the guest of honor is pregnant and can't drink alcohol, therefore nobody drinks alcohol.  really lame games are usually played and gifts like blankets and diapers and baby carriers are opened.
sorry guys, not really much of an opportunity to pick up chicks.

now, a bachelorette party might be a nice gig for you...
i'm sure 7 was drunk when he made that post -- look at the time stamp.  
baby showers are the opposite of horny-making...  love the ironic sense of humor, though, 7...
wedding singer, now there's a gig.  as long as they let you play piano too.

i love it when you talk dirty like that.
oh i don't know.  my favorite place to try to pick up chicks is at wakes and funerals so i would for one would understand if some guy had figured out an angle for showers.
but 7, i'll be 18 by the time that shower comes around

double jackpot!!!!!!
looks like jazz guy has been thrown to the cougars!  ;-)
anyway, jazz guy, let us know what happened with that gig and what have you learn...

musicaly and socialy...
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