How much $ is needed to have a great music program in my parish?
On average in the U.S.A. a great music program will cost about $150,000 yearly.
That includes the full-time salary and benefits of a dedicated director who will program seasons, select pieces always on the sacred Scripture of the Mass being planned, transpose or arrange music for the needs of the day, engrave and prepare scores, run rehearsals, do archiving, find singers, inspire them and help them in their day-to-day challenges with facing the music and getting along with each other, provide interpretive guidance, create cohesion among the singers, find subs with short notice and play the organ. The work of a skilled musician is akin to that of an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer, it requires tens of thousands of hours of training and on-the-job experience to handle the many challenges of good music-making. After all, isn't real beauty what we want to give back to God?
Such a program would have at least 4 professional singers, or singing instrumentalists, who can read music fluently and have clear voices, even if not operatic-sounding. They come, get scores, sight-read during rehearsal, nuance and bring beauty into their interpretation and sing the Mass.