Are you one of the 54% of Americans who plays a musical instrument?

Are you thinking about making a living off of it?

Zayn Malik playing the triangle GIF

If you said YES, then you may want to consider becoming an orchestral musician!

What Do Orchestral Musicians Do?

Orchestral musicians do much more than what you see on stage.

Flaticon Icon This includes:

  • Becoming an expert on their chosen instrument(s)

  • Become comfortable with sight reading

  • Spending hours alone practicing

  • Rehearsing with their orchestra

  • Performing in various settings (concert halls, outdoor venues, schools, online, etc.)

  • Contributing to the education of future musicians (like you!)

    One man band dancing in circles while performing

Skills Needed

To become a successful orchestral musician, you need to develop/have the ability to:

🎶 Play an orchestral instrument (sometimes more than one) with a high degree of effectiveness 📯

🎶 Read sheet music

🎶 Play in many musical styles (classical, jazz, film, operatic, etc.)

🎶 Work alone in practice settings

🎶 Work with others in rehearsals

🎶 Have a strong growth mindset

Bugs Bunny (from Looney Tunes) siting at a piano. He looks back and grins.


Cory wants to be an orchestral musician. Which qualities/skills will help them succeed? Select all that apply.

Musicians as Teachers

Orchestral musicians contribute to the education of future musicians in two major ways:

Marg Simpson asking a music teacher if Lisa Simpson (who is holding a saxophone) could one day be a professional.

1) In partnership with their orchestra

  • Creating online tutorial videos

  • Participating in youth concerts

  • Acting as youth orchestra coaches

  • Running masterclasses

2) Private tutor

  • 1-on-1 teaching on specific instrument(s)

  • Can be online or in-person

Flaticon Icon

The Perks and The Prices

Every career (even the coolest ones) have perks as well as a price you pay for those perks.

Good vs. Evil Kermit with text: Dream Job/Cost and Competition

The Perks

  • Fulfill your dream of playing your instrument for a living

  • Not a boring 9-5 office job

  • Potential to travel with the orchestra

  • A good pension

  • Weeks off

  • Solid salary (Average $88,595 CAD or $78,618 USD )

The Prices

  • Expensive cost of instrument(s), upkeep, and private lessons

  • Very competitive field

  • Work during evenings, weekends, and holidays

  • Typically have to live in more urban/expensive areas

Take Action

If you think you'd like to be an orchestral musician:

An orchestra perforning together


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte