There is no art without economics. Music, just as with the other arts, requires monetary support. This includes funding for obvious things like supplies (instruments and repairs, scores, paper, rehearsal space), education, and training costs. It also includes less obvious things such as some degree of financial comfort — without, for example, the stability of a warm home and food, a person is less likely to be able to devote time and energy towards making music because their attention is focused on fulfilling more basic needs. (This idea comes from Abraham Maslow’s 1943 article “A Theory of Human Motivation.”)

maslows_hierarchy_of_needs
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We have to fulfill the lowest layers of the pyramid first before we turn our attention to the highest ones; music creation would be in the top indigo section.

 

Music and economics

We’ve discussed several ways in class that classical musicians make a living historically, what makes musicians employable, and where the monetary support for music making comes from:

  • Patronage system, until end of 18th century. This is the employment system in play during the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. Examples of composers employed by the Catholic Church or the aristocracy (the two groups of patrons) include Pérotin, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philip Telemann, and Joseph Haydn. Musicians were expected to fulfill a lot of tasks as part of their positions, including composing, performing, conducting, teaching, organizing, and managing other musicians.
  • Transition to free economy during the late Classical and Romantic periods. Music making was shaped by the taste of the public (the emerging middle class) who could buy tickets to performances and purchase sheet music to play music in their own homes. For musicians of this time period (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a good example), there was never any guarantee of payment for their work; they had to hope their artistic innovations were well-received and tailored their music to do so.
  • Musicians in the 19th century often received multiple revenue streams: publishing, conducting, private teaching, and commissioning fees — Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Gustav Mahler. Others toured extensively for performances: Niccolo Paganini, Clara Schumann.
  • More rarely, composers would earning a living wage from a single job (particularly teaching): Frédéric François Chopin teaching piano to private students in Paris (based on his strong reputation as a good pianist performing in salons) and Arnold Schoenberg at the Music Academy in Berlin. Or they might not earn a living at all (Franz Schubert).

For much of the 20th century, in contrast, there was a trend towards specialization, meaning training for and becoming employed for one particular kind of skill, such as orchestral performance or being a conductor. We saw this with the story of Abbie Conant’s career with the Münich Philharmonic — her professional life was framed by the specialized career trajectory for which she had assiduously studied and prepared her entire life.

This 2012 article (dorris-the-audition) describes the process of preparing for orchestral auditions: how much time it takes, what a player does to prepare, how they earn a living while trying to win a job, what happens after they win a job, how few jobs there are, and how much money orchestral musicians make. It is an easy read and features Mike Tetrault, an orchestral percussionist. Read it before continuing with this blog post.

Supply and demand

orchestral-musician-jane-little
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Center: Jane Little (1929-2016), who played bass in the orchestra for 71 years.

(Did you read the article mentioned in the previous paragraph before continuing here?)

Musicians in the top US orchestras earn around $100,000 per year (depending on where the orchestra is located; players in Alabama earn less than those in Chicago, for example), and that shows how valuable and rare high quality orchestral playing skills are. There are very few top orchestras, however, and there are only 20 orchestras in the US whose average salaries are over $55,000 per year.

Demand for these jobs is high. There are 117 symphony orchestras in the US. That means there are approximately 11,700 orchestral job positions in the US, assuming each orchestra has 100 players, which is an over-estimate. But that’s not the same as saying there are 11,700 job openings there are every year, because once someone wins a good orchestral job, they hold onto it for 30-40 years. For flute players, for example, there were only 4 job openings in the US all of 2015-16.

There are approximately 60 college-level music schools or conservatories in the US, and they typically train musicians to enter a specialized career trajectory towards being an orchestral player or opera singer. Each one will graduate a class of around 150 students each year — that’s 9,000 students every year.

Add all those graduating students to the musicians who haven’t won an orchestral job yet (say, 8,975 from every previous year) plus international musicians…

Uh-oh.

Earning money

Although college-level music education usually funnels students towards a single career track (orchestral playing), most classical musicians don’t earn a living from only playing in orchestras. The typical modern musician’s career is a prime example of the gig economy: cobbling together a living wage from several small revenue streams, none of which is sufficient on its own, none of which provides benefits like health insurance or retirement savings, and none of which is guaranteed to continue.

  • Concerts — Musicians may be paid by a venue or concert series for their appearance, they may take home ticket sales, or their performance may be organized by a management company. A concert payment for a musician can range from $0 to $4,000, but most concert performances pay $100-750 per player. This also includes many orchestral jobs outside of the top orchestras, which are paid “per service” rather than a salary (around $40 per rehearsal and $150 per performance).
  • Commissions — Composers charge commission fees when someone asks them to write a work. Rates depend on the length of the piece (longer = more expensive), the number of musicians (more musicians = more expensive), and how famous the composer is (more famous = more expensive). The commission fee may range from $2,000 to $100,000, depending on these factors. Often, groups of performers will form a consortium to commission a work and divide cost among all members, so that no single player has to bear the weight of the entire expensive commission themselves.
  • Teaching private lessons — A musician recruits students to take individual lessons (in performance, conducting, or composition), finds space to teach in, prepares lessons for each student’s individual needs and desires, keeps students and parents happy, and organizes performance opportunities for their students. The cost of a one-hour lesson varies based on geography and teacher: $15 (in Texas and the Midwest), $60-75 (typical in NYC), $225 (for lessons with the most famous teachers in NYC).
  • Teaching in community music schools — All the work of recruitment and infrastructure (and sometimes curriculum) is taken care of by the school rather than the teacher, but the teacher earns less per hour (usually around $25-30 per hour; even if the students pay $70, much of it goes to the school itself). There are several such schools in NYC: Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Lucy Moses School at the Kaufman Center, Bloomingdale School of Music, Third Street Music School, and Turtle Bay Music School.
  • Teaching primary education — This includes band directors, orchestra directors, and choir directors in elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Teaching secondary education — Most college and university instructors teach at more than one campus, and most positions are adjunct (hired just for that class or semester with no guarantee of being rehired).

It takes a lot of these activities to add up to a living wage, and booking one gig doesn’t guarantee that there will be more work in the future. Many musicians work “day jobs” that allow them to practice, rehearse, and gig at night: dog walker, yoga instructor, grant writer, administrative assistant, baby sitter, paralegal, plumber, or insurance salesman. Sometimes these day jobs take over, and a musician stops being a musician entirely.

Rejection. Massive amounts of rejection.

The sheer number of musicians working today, in contrast with the small number of jobs, prizes, fellowships, grants, and competitions available, means that rejection is an enormous part of every musician’s life. Somewhere between practicing, going to concerts, listening to music, making music, and supporting oneself economically, musicians also apply for competitions, commissions, festivals, and jobs as they arise, hoping to move their careers forward, meet new people, and pursue new opportunities.

Jennifer Jolley, who by all accounts is a successful composer (she is professor at Ohio Wesleyan University and is commissioned regularly by respectable organizations) posts every rejection letter she has received for composition competitions, commission projects, and other prizes on her blog, “Why Compose When You Can Blog?” She’s up to 94 so far.

My own statistics:

  • Number of graduate and doctoral music schools I auditioned for and didn’t get in: 5
  • Number of competitions I’ve applied for and didn’t win: 4
  • Number of summer festivals I applied for and didn’t get in: 4
  • Number of grants I’ve applied for to fund my performances that I didn’t get: 12
  • Number of grants I’ve applied for at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music to support its programming (one of my day jobs) that I didn’t get: 120
  • Number of teaching and arts administration positions I’ve applied for and didn’t get: 85
  • Number of times I’ve played a concert in which we had more people on stage than we had in the audience: more than I can count

 

Final thoughts

better-person-better-musicianThis all seems pretty bleak, and in some ways it is. Our economic system doesn’t allow for everyone who has musical skill or desire to pursue it professionally or to be fully compensated for their skill. The economic realities of how music is made places limits on what kind of music gets made or is widely heard.

On top of that, the majority of people who train at the college level do not become professional musicians, but in no way does that mean they’ve failed. It’s often the very skills that made them good musicians — being good listeners, working well with others as a part of a team, learning to manage their time well, appreciation for other cultures and viewpoints — that make former musicians successful in their post-musical careers.

-Dr. J.

 

Some questions to get the conversation started:

  • What, if anything, surprised you in the article on orchestral auditions (dorris-the-audition)? Are there other careers that have similarly rigorous interview and preparation requirements?
  • How does the range of things that comprise a classical music career help you reexamine your own professional options?
  • What kinds of skills do you think a modern classical musician needs in addition to being a good player on their instrument or a skillful composer?

97 thoughts on “How to make a living as a classical musician (Online Class Discussion #8)

  1. I think a simple skill that an modern classical musician would need is to just be very energetic. A lot of musicians will play the music well but wont physically show their passion i feel like this will make the music hit people harder in the audience.

    Like

    1. I like to see the way performers incorporate each elements of music in a way that it give the piece more meaning to it. I like to see the consideration of them to the point where they gotta put a side there personal life and feeling etc to perform a piece just the way a composer would want them to💤. This roughly mean them not having their personal life affect business or music to be performed

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Personally, I like to see the performer passionate about what they are performing. From my recent visit to a classical music concert, I saw three performances and the one that captured my interest was the performer that was so absorbed in her piece, it was as if the musical piece and her, the performer was one. Her body language and facial expressions went perfectly with the piece. It aslo depicks to us viewers the intensity of the piece.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. When it comes to performers I like to see passion behind the music he or she is playing and just see a bad performance to collect some money. If it’s more than money and the perfromer feeds off of the crowds enegery that’s what’s needed to be seen.

      Like

    4. I like to see both the performer’s passion for what they are performing and the interaction between the performers (if there is more than one). Having just gone to a classical music performance, I truly enjoyed the camaraderie among the musicians. They would glance over at each other from time to time and displayed the same amount of passion for their playing. It was easy to tell that they all shared an interest and love for the pieces they were playing and the art of performing as a whole. Every musician on stage looked to be having a great amount of fun, which was refreshing to see. When listening to a recorded piece of music, one tends to lose a bit of the human element of actually playing, while watching live performers returns and enforces the human element of making music, which is something I really enjoy.

      Like

    5. what I like to see from performers is enthusiasm, I like to see that they enjoy and are happy with their career I don’t like seeing performances of people that seem miserable and upset. As well as body language, they way they carry themselves throughout the performance.

      Like

  2. A modern musician must have creativity which will allow their music to be unique compare to other musician and help them to reinvigorate music in a new way potentially allowing the musician to receive clients and income. Although having a good skills in both composing and instruments are key feature that makes a good musician a creative musician allows for them to break away from current trends and help to find new audience that might appreciate their music and helps them to benefit from it by focusing more attention on new technique such as the use of new instruments or forms which will prevent the music from being stale as the musician will play new music,.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Music is all around us and is involved in everything we do daily. It affects our lives by being influential, sets our mood, can be therapeutic and many others.

      Like

    2. Yes I do think the career of a musician is important in our society because its important to understand where the roots of music came from and its an important topic we must know. Without musicians, classical music would be gone, and it would be a forgotten language that no one would understand. Everyone would forget how to read the music and how to compose like old times.

      Like

    3. The career of a musician is important to our society. As the Online discussion explained, there’s a supply and demand concept to it. The people always want new music to be released and come out faster. So since the demand for new music is high there needs to be musicians to fulfill this need. Music affects our way of life because it allows us to change our moods, and listen to it in the background while doing other work.

      Like

    4. yes, I think the career of a musician is important in our society because there are the one who share information what is going on in our society/country.

      Like

    1. I think that classical music is still well known despite the introduction of new popular music. Classical music is mostly known for their traditional value and is regarded as high end music in society. Those that played by Beethoven, Mozart, and Hayden requires advance skills and many will watch the performance either out of curiosity or wanting to see musician test their skills in the piece. Despite the advancement of time Classical music is still here to stay and are well known to the public.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! You are right about the classical music is till well known right now. Just like Beethoven, Mozart, and Hayden they don’t needs in addition to being a good player on their instrument or a skillful composer.

        Like

    2. no matter what genre there is there is always from for improvement. but answering this question direct yes classical music can also catch up with the times of streaming and new modern things to operate with what they plan on doing.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I think their is room for improvement!!! You barely hear on the radio any classical music all you hear is like hip hop , trap etc. I think if it was publicized more younger adults would be different, music that is publicized now has such vulgar language.

      Like

  3. Every classical musician is a very special person, although most of their lives have been far away from us, but they left the music has been circulated so far, from time to time staged in various performances, Won the Philharmonic applause and moved. Of course, in daily life, we can often find classical music distribution of the charm of music. I think the classical musician is very good already, they did the job well done. most of them don’t needs in addition to being a good player on their instrument or a skillful composer.

    Like

    1. Of course the previous classical musicians were much more talented and excellent artists, which I believe has paved a way for today’s musicians. Everyone has their own strengths and are better at some things than others so it is hard to truly say that one is better than the other. Just think, if the old time classical musicians were exceptional at what they did, I’m sure they won’t possibly be able to use certain types of technology that musicians have today and vice versa.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe the skills needed a good composer would still need is the abilty to hear the small details in the older music that inspirers him or her and use that to create their own ideas and not have it be a copy of another piece. Also try and bring it back to the time period of the piece of music their playing to keep that classical feel

    Like

  5. Is there any original modern classical musicians or all of them inspired by those that came way before them?

    Like

  6. Well from the article the thing that surprised me the most is that the way that spots in the orchestra were filled in amazed me. It also amazed me that alot of people are graduating from music schools. In all honesty I would’ve never thought that music schools would be filled with so many students. This article made me realize a lot and learn a lot of new things. This article changed my mind about everything. In the beginning of the class, i really thought classical music was dead and no one actually played it and orchestras were extinct. Now seeing this article its opening my eyes to the fact that orchestras are not dead but they are very very competitive towards who get to play with them. Being in an orchestra or being in a music career based opportunity is like winning the lottery actually. Theres a lot of people that want that spot, and its very difficult to get in. But its crazy how many of these people have the determination to actually audition for this even if they know that the outcomes would be bad.
    To audition I think the person who is auditioning for the orchestra needs to have patience, lots and lots of positivity and to be able to give the best performance of their lives. You need to have patience for when you get in and they ask you to do alot of pieces, positivity to understand that its ok even if you didn’t get into the orchestra and to be able to give the best performance of their life, since giving you’re all can show what you ‘re skills and what you are about. From this article I can reexamine my professional career in a sense that not everything in life is easy and all you can do is try to succeed and try to fulfill everything that you want to be. That although you couldnt make it onto the top that doesn’t mean you should give up. These musicians have been trying for years and they still wont give up, and thats the determination that you need to succeed in life.

    why are the orchestras a small amount in number? why couldnt their be more to help other people have jobs in that category as well?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s necessary that musician must go music school.even though you might know something from what you composed,going to school can broaden their minds and give them more idea to incorporate in their piece or even to improve their piece.

        Like

  7. the section for Supply and Demand caught my attention and also the earning money section too. these two topics really touched me due to the fact that the to get an orchestra job is really very rarer and once you get it you may have it for 30-40 years that was a surprising fact and the fact that the job earning of money will vary from city to city depending on how popular the orchestra is.

    Like

    1. I would try for a flute position because I used to play the flute and also because I think that it sounds beautiful when played with violins.

      Like

    2. I would take on the role of the piano since the instrument is unique to the orchestra and it doesn’t consist of an ensemble with only one player taking on the role of a piano player. There are even occasion that an orchestra consist of no piano player on what type of pieces they’re playing which makes the position of piano player rare.

      Like

    3. I would try out for a pianist position. The piano sounds so elegant and graceful. The piano sounds not only great with an orchestra, but on its own as well. I think the one instrument that can encompass a whole orchestra by itself. One of my favorite pieces is Joe Hisaishi’s One Summer’s Day; theres a version he plays with only a piano and one with an orchestra. If anyone is interested to hear it check out the links:

      久石讓 Joe Hisaishi – Departures / One Summer’s Day (piece starts at 8:41)

      久石讓 Joe hisaishi Live – One Summer’s Day (from Spirited Away)

      Like

  8. Some kinds of skills that a modern classical composer needs is the ability to practice and have ear training. I feel that they would also need a determination drive to be great. I was surprised at the supply and demand section of the discussion. I didn’t know that there were very few top orchestras in the US and the amount of money they made was surprising.

    Like

    1. I was surprised by the supply and demand section as well. I knew being a classical musician isn’t a easy path considering how less people are listening to it these days, but who knew how scarce the job openings there were.

      Like

  9. Do you guys buy music or download them for free? How do you think this affects a musicians income? Do you like to go concerts and support your favorite musician or would you rather listen to music at home?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I support musicians by going to concerts and I use pandora I believe they get paid a very small percentage from apps like pandora.

      Like

  10. Other then orchestral auditions, preparing to become a singer in Korea is very hard. Once you are picked at an audition, you become a trainee. However, that does not guarantee you become a singer from that point on. There are countless days of dance practice along with vocal training. Physical training is also part of the trainee’s job to keep themselves fit. This will go on everyday until the entertainment group decides to debut you. Looking and reading about how harsh musicians work in order to achieve their goals made me realize I haven’t pushed myself hard enough. I think a modern classical musician would need more patience because they may fail and get rejected but they should never give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If you were at an orchestra as listener, do you think there would still be flaws in the music you hear? For example, the quality of the sound in the concert hall, the sound of instruments?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I believe that if classical music is focused more on and promoted more by society then the music industry and more people in society would fund more artist in classical music. Do you think that it is fair that our economic growth doesn’t support all of our young upcoming classical music artist?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, I do think it is very fair however I feel that there a lot more important jobs that we need for economic growth that aren’t just just for pleasure and will bring in more money. Are economy isn’t doing well as is

      Like

  13. I never really realized how much work musicians have to go through just too make enough money to live off of. I wonder how people manage working two jobs? Or if its enjoyable?

    Like

  14. Personally I admire those who are artists and never give up on their dreams. Being an artist is not something easy, especially for musicians. There is a lot of competition and at the same time many people dislike or reject different types of music. In addition some people don’t take musicians seriously they don’t even think is a job but, it is and I respect those who make music because is one of the universal languages of the world!!!!!.

    Like

  15. Discipline, practice listening, love, thoughtfulness, humility,honesty and patience are part also of any professional path. I believe music is like any serious profession who requires strength and tenacity. I think In every professional path you need this type of qualities in order to get where you want in life music is basically an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mattewx47 when I talk about this things I’m referring to any professional career not just professional musicians.

        Like

          1. Love is passion, you have to love what you do have passion for it. It’s not just about the money you have to love your career or at least like it.

            Like

            1. I see, so what do you call a professional whose only motivation for doing his job is money? Is he not a true professional? Furthermore, should passion for the true professional’s work be the only necessary gain to satisfy the need for happiness?

              Like

          2. i think love plays a huge role in any profession. if you truly love what you are doing, no matter what happens throughout the course of that profession you will never view it as a failure. similar to how musicians who go on countless auditions for positions they don’t get do.

            Like

      2. Matthewx47 when I’m talking about this things I’m referring to any professional career not just professional musicians. In any career field you need to have those things.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. besides being a good composer, a modern classical musician must either have extreme luck or lowered expectations.

    Like

  17. The one skill that any who pursues a profession in the arts must have creativity, to think individually and able to consistently create something new out of thin air. Whether it be a musician writing a one of a kind score, a artist painting a magnificent masterpiece, an actor/actress improvising a performance that was not scripted. In my opinion, I think creativity is a must have skill in order to be successful in the arts; to be able to always be coming up with exciting and fresh ideas for their audience to come back for more.

    Like

  18. If the students that are studying music and ultimately making it a career and they see the statistics of how scarce the job openings are and how unstable life may be; why does it not discourage them to continue studying it? If they manage to get a job it might not be a steady position and theres no guarantee that it will last them into retirement; that is one hell of a gamble to put on your life. I don’t think money is a driving factor, could it be fame? Why do you think they still pursue it?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. with all the rejection musicians face, how does one keep from becoming discouraged in their pursuit of a position that they’ve worked so hard to get?

    Like

    1. I believe that many composers that were rejected use the rejection as learning process and learned from there mistakes.

      Like

  20. Other than musicians, i think Politicians also face this kind of rejection. You can say that when a politician is campaigning for whatever position they are running for it is there audition. For example there is only one position for the job of The President of the United States of America. The number of candidates who “audition” for this position far out ways the number of available positions. So similarly to musicians who have day jobs to support them, politicians often take other positions to strengthen there craft by becoming council members, congress people, or even work with the President.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Do you think our society promotes and encourages the performance of classical music, or has it become something of a lost art over time?

    Like

  22. One skill I think a modern classical musician/composer needs in order to stand out amongst the wealth of other musicians performing today is the ability to market and promote oneself. It is easy to get lost within a sea of other musicians and performers also trying to develop a name for themselves, so having a way to differentiate yourself from them is almost critical. As we have read and discussed, it is not at all easy to make a full living off of a musical career by itself. As such, finding a new and unique way to promote the composer and their music, be it through the personality of the composer or through the differentiating aspects of their compositions, is another crucial skill needed in order to be truly successful as a classical musician.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are plenty of young adults who are into classical music. Although it isn’t as big as it used to. It’s a good idea to introduce classical music to kids, because kids are only exposed to that type of music when they’re in class. The rest is pop, or rap usually listened to in the car radio.

      Like

  23. It’s amazing the amount of work and money it takes to be a freelance artist. When it comes to musicians, there seems to be an expectancy of them to be diversely talented. This would be probably be a strength, to accommodate many needs I’m a classical ensemble, however it would require more time, money and dedication. I do not envy their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. After reading this, I was very surprised at how deep you have to be in order to be a musician. As a jazz musician this all applies to me but I always thought of classical musicians as being really full of themselves. I understand that it takes a lot of discipline to play classical music because it isn’t really open to your interpretation, it wants you to play whatever is written perfectly. One of the main skills modern classical composers need today is openness. Classical composers today need to reflect the world we are living in now and not the world from Bachs day. With openness I feel they will better understand our current culture and create new innovative musical works.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. What I focus on is seeing both of the performer’s passion for what they are performing and the good vibe between the performers and the audience. Recently going to a classical music performance, I enjoyed the camaraderie among the musicians. They would go to each other from part to part and just show the same amount of passion for their playing. It was easy to tell that they all loved and showed a good interest on what they are doing. Every musician on stage just by the looks on their faces and feeling their performance, made me realize when you perform your only performing but your living with the vibe you are having, and in this case it’s music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I feel it’s the person. For example J cole. I feel he’s as popular as he is because people sympathize with his life style. Where he grew up, and his attitude towards life, and his music.

      Like

  26. When an individual listens to someones recorded piece of music, a person loses a little a form of playing and just start feeling that piece of music without thinking too much of playing. Sometimes your just hearing the melody of the tempo of the song and switches you to just hearing the song and the play is like your just not really playing it. Feeling what you play could really have an impact on your performance and in your life.

    Like

  27. Was Classical Music just a genre of music that was played in the time because everyone was playing it that time, or was it something that was actually played with love and compassion?

    Like

  28. Take Ed Sheeran for example. He was homeless playing his music. He was lucky enough to have been discovered, and now he’s living a life not many people get to live.

    Like

    1. I truly believe that it does because it is rarely that an employer would take someone who believe to have skill but no experience. Networking aka building connections are the major keys to many successors of today.

      Like

  29. This article affirmed my prior decision to stray away from pursuing a career in music simply through analysis of today’s music industry. Unfortunately, the people who end up living a lavish lifestyle aren’t the extremely talented musicians who have spent the majority of their life honing their skills, and learning everything there is to learn music. The people who live lavish lifestyles are the personalities whom, just coincidentally, have some degree of musical talent, but if you asked them to name at least 5 composers from various eras in music, they wouldn’t have a clue. For example, Sidney “Desiigner” Selby III made one hit dance song called “Panda”. What is the song about? It was inspired by a white BMW X6 having resemblance to a panda. You see where I’m going with this? And the young man, who is my age, is worth over $4 million despite the fact that he just entered the music industry. In essence, society has favoured “entertainers”, not musicians; we’re just calling them musicians. And this trend goes on and on. Nothing against Sandra Bullock, but she was paid over $6 million for her part in “Gravity”. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, an actual astronaut is paid a mere average of around $56,000 annually. Appalling. Even automotive technicians get paid more and the computer does most of their job for them. We live in a world where imitators are placed on a pedestal, because they are “entertainers”, however people who have spent countless years, trying to be the best they can be in a particular field, are given mere scraps by comparison, and it’s a damn shame. If it is so difficult to get into an orchestra, at least provide much greater payment. At least one’s efforts will be justified when the cheque arrives.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I honestly believe that in order to be successful in this art u must have connections. I also feel like while you’re at school you must try to build a network. Join music club try to get internships because music as an major is extremely hard to suddenly become “known” when you have no experience or in some cases many not have that much.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I found this post very interesting what I found I interesting was how a lot of different composers had other jobs aside from being a composer.

    Like

  32. I think the skills you need to be a successful and better musician all relies on work ethic. the more time and practice you put in the better you will be. its just not only that though you need to bring a different type of energy and character to the table something that separates you from anyone else. a skill that could make a better musician is how you present yourself you act the part how dress the part I think is a saying so presentation is important and confidence is key. if you think youre good so will the people that are listening.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. @creyes50 I believe its more about who know then what you know. I say that because I personally know a bunch of people in various fields who are better clearly then the person ahead of them but sometimes it depends on who you know and that person giving you the chance to see what your about but most people can never even reach that because of the field there trying to succeed in is so saturated

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure some composers enjoy their second jobs– as many of them have jobs which are also in accordance to music and their craft. Some people absolutely love to teach just as much as they like to compose or perform. Even if the other job doesn’t have to do with music, people may land into something which encompasses their other passions. On the other hand, I’m sure its frustrating for some to have to juggle more than one thing, especially if it affects their end goal or compromises their true passion. It also seems unfair that someone can work their whole life devoted to something, and still have to juggle so many different jobs just to make ends meet.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. The thing that surprised me the most in reading this blog post, is the range and average salary within the field. I had an idea of how hard it is to be a musician— work day in day out on perfecting a craft in order to “make it” in a sense. I’ve been to sever orchestral events, and seen many videos, and I’m always blown away by the talent and hard work on display. It’s amazing what humans are capable of, and I have so much respect for anyone who goes for their dreams like that and puts so much time and energy into an art. I had in mind, however, that with all this hard work and endless bettering would come great monetary rewards. It’s obvious that many people aren’t out for the money, its so much more than that which rewards a musician. The fact that many musicians have to hold such a variety of jobs in order to make a living wage is astonishing and bitter to me. Reading about the various positions, uncertainty, and instability that take over a musicians life is saddening. I would say there are very many similarities between the theatre and being a musician. Acting comes along with a lot of rejection, endless audition cycles, instability, etc. One day you have a job, and the next you don’t. In accordance to monetary gains, theatre actors don’t make nearly as much money as one may assume. Still, being a musician and a theatre performer are vey different, and even with theatre there seems to be opportunity for much greater salaries. Most start from the bottom and make their way up, and maybe eventually make it to Broadway or film which often means more money. For orchestral musicians, It was very surprising to me that for some of the top of the top positions, salaries are often not greater than 100,000.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. i believe that music is one of the greatest idea or thing that someone had came up with. without music there is nothing in the world can send message to peope like music do. everymusic has there own meaning such as classical, reggeage hip hop etc.. no matter what kind of music it is, it still does have a message for some of us out there in the world.

    Like

    1. I agree on how music is a great idea to the world. Without music, our whole world would probably be really dull and lifeless. Music has also created the world a better place with their messages behind it. It was heard throughout the world at any time and any year.

      Like

      1. You mentioned that music has created the world a better place with their messages behind it, but does all music do that ?

        Like

  36. Do you think the current state of orchestral musicians and their constant struggle will effect the amount of people who go towards that profession?

    Like

  37. I believe a modern classical musician or any other musicians need to learn how to play any instrument at a very young age and continue practicing in order to be very good at playing any instrument they kept practicing. I also believe in order to be a good player on any instrument, one must have a love playing the instrument. If you don’t have any interest or love in playing the instrument then how can you continue to play it and get any better in the future.

    Like

  38. The surprising fact on the orchestral auditions is the fact that the jobs are scarce and that very few make it to the top to earn 100,000 no matter how hard they try. Another occupation that I know with similar requirements is for dancers. This helps me reexamine my own professional options because I know I have many doors open for me as long as I stay focused. I think a modern day musician needs to show good character and personality because that is what people look for and catch someones attention besides the way they perform.

    Like

  39. As mentioned in the blog post there aren’t many job openings in the musical field, if people know this why do they still choose to go into the music industry knowing its going to be hard to make money?

    Like

Comments are closed.