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Job Satisfaction And Orchestra Musicians

  On surveys ranking different professions for job satisfaction ,  the job of orchestra musician has sometimes been ranked  low on the lists .  I'm not sure why , but the profession ,like all others , has its problems .
In American orchestras , only the largest ,most heavily endowed orchestras pay really high salaries , starting from about $ 100.000 a year and  basic pay .  The first year is  probationary , and the music director has the option of  keeping a  musician or not , but after this ,  a player has tenure . 

   Players of principal positions make considerably more , especially the concertmaster, leader of the violins , who has a key position in the orchestra, rather like a quarterback in football .  Benefits in the top orchestras are quite good ,  and  come with no fewer than eight weeks paid vacation , which is not bad at all !   These orchestras include those of New York ,Boston,Chicago,Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles etc .

   The smaller regional orchestras in smaller cities around the country offer considerably less in pay and
benefits , and  in some cases , the musicians are paid  not a weekly salary , but  on what is called per service basis,  which is based on the number of rehearsals and  performances you play .  These musicians often have to do  other freelance work or hold teaching jobs at colleges and universities in order to earn a decent living .

   As in any job , there are  some musicians who  have become bored and apathetic in their jobs ,and have burned out .  But in many ways ,  the job of orchestra musician  can be one of the most rewarding careers any one can have .  You get to  play a wide variety of music by  great composers ,  and  at the conclusion of successful concerts , audiences are wildly enthusiastic .

   Some orchestras tend to perform the same old  familiar works by Beethoven,Brahms, Tchaikovsky ,
Rachmaninov , etc  to the exclusion of new music and  the revival of interesting rarities , because 
many concertgoers want to hear their beloved masterpieces over and over , and this can  lead to
boredom among the musicians at playing the same old pieces over and over , but other orchestras ,
particularly in the major cities , are much more adventurous in their programming .

   But let's face it - there  are far worse  jobs than being an orchestral musician , and  many 
classical musicians in orchestras would not want to do anything else !
Posted: Dec 18 2011, 05:18 PM by the horn | with no comments
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