Tipping Musicians

A pianist, or strolling musician, should be tipped $1 for each special request of music.  You may also want to tip a musician a minimum of $1 as you leave the restaurant even if they did not play a special request for you.

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2 Responses to Tipping Musicians

  1. Bunny snowden says:

    Sorry, for some reason I misread this – that you were only addressing piano players or strolling musicians – both of whom are usually paid SOMETHING by the restaurant. I still think a few dollars tip is required, plus $1 per request played. I feel I should disclose I have worked in restaurant management previously.

    However, when there is a solo artist or duo or trio – basically anything other than a lounge pianist or mariachi-type group, you might be surprised how often the musicians’ tips are their only source of income for the night – or the venue may pay a very low fee, even as low as $25 or $50 for the whole night, telling the musicians they can receive tips. The venue brings them in to attract more diners. Because of this situation, I feel they should be tipped more generously.

  2. Bunny snowden says:

    Knowing that many musicians are dependent upon tips for income and are often not paid by the venue, I would say a $1 tip is not sufficient or acceptable – and even less so if the musician plays a special request. When you are in a restaurant or club where you do not pay an entrance fee, the appropriate amount to tip is the amount you would have paid to see the artist in concert, with $3 or $4 as an absolute minimum. If you find the musician worthy of a $20 entrance fee, you should feel good about putting $20 in the tip jar, or $10 or $8, etc. as you feel fit. If the music was not something you would pay to see, simply tip $3 or $4 politely as a gesture for their service and work.

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