FAQ College and graduate
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a performer and want to keep playing in the orchestra. But I also have an interest in learning about the administrative side of things. How can I begin?
Get involved with committees and non-performance activities that the orchestra does so that you can learn how these aspects of the orchestra work. Look into taking the League’s “Essentials of Orchestra Management ” seminar offered each January in NYC. Read through the Career Profiles to learn how other professional musicians have become involved with the behind the scenes work of orchestras.
Is n MBA or Arts Administration degree required for a management position with an orchestra?
Depends on the position. If you aspire to be the executive director of the orchestra, either of these degrees will provide important learning in the areas of finance, management, and business processes. But many managers gain experience on the job and then add a course or two as needed. Advanced degrees always add to your learning but are not a requirement for working in an orchestra. Read through the Career Profiles section to learn about the backgrounds of people working in the field.
I want to work for an orchestra but don’t know what I would be good at or what the best job would be for me. What can I do to learn more about the different jobs available with orchestras?
If your in school, get involved with the operations of your school ensembles; seek internships with your local orchestra during the year or during the summer (click here for available Internship postings with orchestras). Apply for the League’s Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar held in NYC each January. And ask yourself a few questions about your work skills and interests. Here are a few to get you started: Are you good with details? Are you able to use technology creatively? Are you a good problem solver? Can you think and react on your feet? Are you able to juggle multiple projects at the same time? Are you a good public speaker? Do you work effectively with a wide range of people? Are you able to organize complex events? Once you have your list, read through the Job descriptions and Career Profiles and see what areas of orchestra management match your skills and interests. Then, sign up for an Informational Interview so that you can speak with someone working for an orchestra who has the job(s) you are interested in pursuing.
I’m about to graduate and looking into jobs with different orchestras. Thinking about my career,is it better to work for a large orchestra or a smaller one?
Orchestras are like other businesses in that the smaller the budget, the smaller the number of staff, the larger the budget, the larger the number of staff. (See sample Orchestra Organizational charts). With a small organization, staff can be from 2 to 10 people which usually means that you’ll be involved with many different aspects of running the organization, have a range of responsibilities and projects, and work closely with the musicians and the community. Within a larger organization and larger staff, your job is usually more specialized and your projects and work will have more depth and focus. Depending on the specific job responsibilities, interaction with other department and staff will be limited as most of your work will be contained within your department. For future job opportunities, both types of organizations have their benefits. Read through the Career Profiles to see the variety of jobs and opportunities that people working in the field have had and read through their career path and advice section and see what sounds right for you.
How can I find out about job opportunities in orchestras?
The League maintains a job posting board for its members (To join the League, click here). Individual orchestra websites also post open positions (For a list of orchestras by state, click here ). Also, there are a number of search firms that assist orchestras in filling open more senior level positions (Click here for the League's Business Partner Directory and select the list of executive search firms).
If you know the city or area you’d like to work in, check the classifieds in local newspapers. Job websites such as Monster.com and Idealist.org can also be good sources for available positions. Also, check with your alma mater Careers center. And if you know which orchestra you’d like to work for and you don’t see any open positions, contact their HR office and ask about internship, summer, and volunteer opportunities. Your enthusiasm for working for the orchestra may lead to something!