Getting It Together: Your Career Package
The focus of this chapter is your complete career package. Maybe you'll be the next Yo-Yo Ma or Renée Fleming, or maybe you'll be one of the vast majority of professional musicians who do not make their living solely from performing. Unless you win a full-time position with a top orchestra, your performance work, especially as an emerging artist, will most likely be part-time. As you're developing your career, you'll still need to put food on the table, pay rent, and take care of yourself, body and soul. How do musicians pull it all together?
Careers come in two basic flavors: traditional and entrepreneurial. Traditional music career opportunities are ready-made jobs for which auditions are held (with orchestras, opera companies, etc.), as well as long-term ensemble residencies at universities. These coveted “traditional” opportunities are relatively few in relation to the applicant pool, so competition is high.
Here are a few sobering statistics. According to the National Association of Schools
of Music, for the 2002–03 school year, there were over 97,000 students enrolled in
music degree programs at the 500+ reporting colleges, universities, and conserva-
tories in the United States. That year there were over 16,000 music degrees granted
at these schools. Think about it: 16,000 skilled musicians entering the work force
every year. And for those graduates pursuing orchestral careers, according to the
American Federation of Musicians, the total number of full-time (or equivalent) po-
sitions in major and regional orchestras in the United States is only about 4,500.
Audition announcements for positions in the Boston Symphony Orchestra draw