News from the (TA) Field: Pay Rates For Teaching Artists
Meet Josh Robinson, another Bartol Teaching Artist Ambassador, writing on the conversation around pay rates for teaching artists:
I grew up around the music business, playing pots, pans, and eventually drums in the basement in my hometown of Woodstock, NY. Early musical influences include hanging around the Woodstock Recording Studio for sessions, sitting in on “Blues Break”, my father’s weekly radio show, and getting to sound check Levon Helm’s drum set while my father worked as a sound engineer for “The Band” with whom he toured the U.S and Japan. My music is filled with the instruments and rhythms of Latin, Brazilian, and Afro-Caribbean music.
I am currently a member of “Alo Brasil”, a 14 piece Philadelphia based Samba group, and “ The Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra” a group that blends drumming traditions from Cuba, Brazil, Africa, and India. I have worked with a variety of populations of children and adults as a teaching artist using percussion as a tool for teaching aspects of communication,self-expression, teamwork, creativity, leadership, discipline, and cultural awareness through music and instrument making. I am devoted to my work with grieving children through organizations like T.A.P.S. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), The Moyer Foundation, and NAGC (National Alliance For Grieving Children).
At the National Conference for Community Art Education, I attended the working group exploring teaching artist pay which addressed the realities of teaching artist pay rates from both the organization and teaching artist perspective. We had a candid and transparent discussion about pay rates, amount of hours, cost of living, sustainability, expectations, and possibilities for regulating or generating a model or guide that could be a universal reference for all working in the field. We talked about the amount of hours/programs required to make a decent living as a teaching artist. We discussed the trends around the country based on data and research provided form several sources and did comparisons. I was impressed by both “sides” arriving at an agreement for the need/value of consistency and setting up a guide or guidelines for organizations and teaching artists around the country to utilize.
Note: This working group has been hard at work developing a prototype for the TA Payrate Calculator. Stay tuned for updates.
You can learn more about teaching artist pay rates in Philadelphia here.