You can have a career in a symphony without playing an instrument

You can have a career in a symphony without playing an instrument

There are many fascinating careers available behind the scenes of an orchestra that don’t require you to have musical talent. For example, you can make a six figure salary as an orchestra manager. The orchestra manager is an assistant role to the orchestra director. The job involves negotiating with the musical union in order to get the best deal for the orchestra.

You would also arrange concert tours and be the go to person if any problems arise such as damaged or lost instruments, replacing musicians when they leave the orchestra. You would be in charge of administrative employees. In a nutshell the orchestra manager is responsible for everything running smoothly, you need excellent people skills, a head for business and the ability to think outside of the box.

The hours can be unsociable and it can be a high pressured position. A degree in music, business and administration would be useful and any previous experience in this type of role or an internship will help you to get a foot in the door.

There are many different career choices in orchestra administration, from executive director, chief executive officer, assistant director, general manager, coordinator’s and box office representatives. Other important positions include stage managers and crews and personnel managers.

You may find that your role puts you in charge of public relations or you may find that you are involved in the financial side of things, dealing with subscriptions, fundraising and ticket prices. You may consider a role that is involved in finding direction of the orchestra and increasing publicity, sorting out venues and events for the orchestra to play at. Salaries for smaller orchestra units will provide a smaller salary than some of the bigger orchestras, but the experience you gain will be beneficial in the long run and open up career opportunities. Internship programmes are available through the American Symphony Orchestra League although the Local Arts council may also be able to link you with orchestras. It can be hard to get an opening position as these types of jobs come up rarely, so brush up your CV to gain any extra experience that you can.

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