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Direct them to the dotted line... A Sample Contract for Chapter Music Leaders

Most chapters of the Barbershop Harmony Society have a music director for their chorus.

BHS has provided a SAMPLE contract as a starting point for negotiations and conversations with your music leader. As with any type of contract, it may be appropriate for the chapter and the individual to negotiate amendments and modifications to suit their own circumstances. If either party is in doubt about the suitability of the contract for their particular circumstances, each may seek independent legal advice.  

Please note: Access to this sample contract does not constitute the provision of legal advice from the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Access to the Sample Contract

To access the sample music director contract, please visit our online Document Center: CLICK HERE. The sample contract, "BHS Sample Musical
Director Contract & Letter of Agreement" is located at the bottom of the page, under "Other Tools & Resources."

Considerations and Recommendations

Here are some additional considerations and recommendations for you to consider:

  • The contract should be signed in good faith - If you're looking for loopholes for your chapter leadership to approve or for the director to sign, there is a problem.
  • The contract should be mutually beneficial - Even if your music director has a large amount of experience and is asking for something that would 'break the bank' for your chapter, be strategic about the negotiations and strategy. Your music director who really believes in your chapter, won't expect you to do so. At the same time, ensure that you're respecting the time and talent of your music director.
  • It doesn't have to be complicated! - A contract is primarily meant to create mutual understanding in expectations for both the chapter and the music director. It does not require fancy language or vernacular that could be misinterpreted.
  • Music educators and professional singers expect a contract - Although a contract may feel unusual in our fraternal tradition of barbershop, it is standard practice for most professional musicians. Step up and spell it out.

Words of Caution

Contracts of any kind can be as specific or minimally specific as you desire. The above advice is a sample guide and does not represent hard and fast rules. In our opinion, the best thing you can do is be as clear and specific, anticipating any bump in the road. Most likely, your chapter and your music director are going to grow together; be sure to re-examine your agreement often to make sure it is still fair to everyone.