Do I have a chance at becoming a professional violinist?
I'm a senior in high school, and am going to college next year, but I won't be majoring in music. I want to be a violinist in a professional orchestra someday, and I'm wondering if there's much chance of that ever happening.
I've played violin for about 11 years, and right now I'm working on the third movement of Bach's Concerto in A minor. I'm playing in two youth orchestras, and I'm the concertmaster of one of them. I'm going to join a chamber group very soon. I practice about 2 hours per day.
Please give me your honest opinion! Thanks for reading!
If you're not going to major in music during your undergrad years, where would you intend to get professional training in violin performance? Are you hoping that you'd directly audition to an MM program once you finish your bachelor's in some other subject? What's that other subject (i.e., how demanding) and how many hours a day would you expect to devote to practice during your undergrad years, and what musical opportunities are available to you as a non-major, including availability of a great teacher?
Based on your self description, I think you are very unlikely to be competitive for a professional orchestra job, especially if you're not going to major in violin performance. And honestly if you did say that you wanted to major in performance, I would advise against it. You are very far behind.
To answer Mary's question on why the OP is still at Bach A Minor after 11 years, I think it has a lot to do with study skills, mentality, and the teacher. I also agree with Mary Ellen that your chances of becoming a professional orchestral player are tiny, though it would be helpful to know where you live so we can give more relevant information. If you take private lessons during your undergrad degree and make good progress with what practice time you have, you may have a little hope.
Perhaps think about those you would be competing against for those coveted orchestral positions.
Trust me when I say that you don't want to be a professional orchestral musician.
The other reason I ask about "why 11 years of playing and only Bach A minor" is I'm wondering if those factors are also going to be a holdback in becoming a more competent amateur, not just a barrier to becoming a pro.
What Sean says is largely true, but I won't 100% agree due to differences in regional circumstances. Even I find the amount of time serious music students spend on practice to be quite insane, unless your workload is humongous.
Re "go to youtube and look up Juilliard pre-college senior recitals" - I just did that. It seems they only take female violinists. ;-)
I don't think so. I guess there's just more females going for it.
Ease up, please! She’s not asking to be a professional classical soloist.
Note that the OP says they're a senior and seems to indicate that they've chosen a college, which means it's probably too late to decide to apply as a double major. Furthermore, a quick Google search indicates which college the OP has chosen -- a fine academic institution, but it's someplace that does not offer a violin performance program, located in a city that, to my knowledge, does not have a full-time professional symphony. (An acquaintance of mine is a violinist in that symphony, and commutes in for approximately one concert a month, and AFAIK many of the other violinists are in that same situation, which may mean relatively few high-quality private violin teachers there.) Moreover, I don't believe there's another university in that city that offers BM degrees, which also limits instructor options.
If what Lydia said about where the OP is going to college is true, then what the OP needs to do is go there, knock her primary major out of the park, and audition for whatever orchestra they might have, try to practice an hour a day and find a way to get a lesson every few weeks.
"Maybe it’s different these days, but I have friends who didn’t excel until late due to lack of teachers or money, or other circumstances. Some of them ended up at good music schools, and teach or conduct along with playing professionally. There’s always a need for good music teachers, conductors, second violins, and violists (sacrilege!)"
Another option could be non-classical violin. Elena, do you have interest in other genres? Non-classical violin is not nearly as technically demanding as classical violin, and lower-level players can easily get a career in it. I do agree that 2nd violinists in pro orchestras are just about as proficient as 1st violinists. However, it may still be possible for 2nd-rate violists (depends on level) to get good jobs in regions where good violists are scarce. Competition really varies from region to region. I think there's a lot of region-specific factors here. I would like to know where the OP is from and a bit about the regional violin circumstances in that area, so I can better assess the situation.
"I do agree that 2nd violinists in pro orchestras are just about as proficient as 1st violinists."
The OP (who appears to live in the US and intends to attend college in the US) has said they want to be "a violinist in a professional orchestra". That doesn't suggest that what they want to do is go play in a rock band (or some other non-classical genre). It's like telling someone who is asking "can I be a neurosurgeon" that they might consider a career as a veterinary tech instead.
Thanks for pointing it all out. I did refer to other countries outside of Canada and the US. How do you know Elena comes from the US? Are you inferring by the statement "senior in high school" that she's from the US? I'm thinking it could apply to other countries as well. I don't see any other evidence of that in her post. I kind of threw the non-classical idea out there, just in case it might attract some interest because I had the idea that OP might be passionate about another genre of music, which she might not know would work well on the violin and give opportunities.
Thank you everyone for your replies!
Honestly, I wouldn't tackle that kind of repertoire outside of formal instruction, at your stage. Learn these things badly and you are going to have a heck of a time learning them properly when you're actually ready for them; your brain will remember the bad way. These are important works; it's really better not to learn them incorrectly now.
The above information is extremely helpful in giving you region-appropriate advice. In your case, I would say that Mary Ellen and Lydia are 100% correct. When I said "2nd-rate players may have hope", I assumed that it may be possible depending on where you live. Looking at your location, it's not really a possibility. Your reason for reaching a lowish level falls into my reason of "study skills". What will you study at St. John's next year? Depending on personal circumstances, you can try and find time to play violin. Your chances of becoming a pro orchestra player are, unfortunately, tiny. Also, would a public-school teaching degree interest you (e.g BME)? If you really want to play well, please find a good teacher, and try your absolute best whatever it takes (not necessarily 4 hours minimum of practice per day depending on your personal mentality, workload size and study skills). If you're playing overly difficult repertoire just for fun and if you're just a hobbyist only wanting to enjoy yourselves, it can be okay. If you're going the serious study route, I agree with Lydia on not trying such difficult repertoire so early.
OP, you will have more time to study the violin itself by NOT being in a pro orchestra than you would if you WERE in a pro orchestra. Once people are pros, they pretty much spend all their time just preparing fresh orchestral music every week, rather than focusing on improving their own playing. They're not really "studying" music as much as they are trying to prepare new orchestra repertoire in time for the next concert, and oftentimes many players actually LOSE technical proficiency after they've joined an orchestra since they're not able to spend any time/energy focusing on themselves.
Lydia is exactly right on every point. I particularly agree with her advice not to try learning Mendelssohn or Mozart on your own. You will inevitably learn such pieces with major errors which will be nearly impossible to fix later.
Eric Williams wrote:
Fascinatingly, the very first person's bio on that page is a violinist who has a full-time day job as a scientist at Sandia:
I would bet that nearly all SFSO rehearsals are at night.
He performed the Beethoven concerto with the Caltech-Occidental orchestra back in the day...
I think it depends on how successful you are as a teacher, and how much money you want to make. More hours teaching means more income. More hours teaching also means fewer hours to do anything else, whether it's performing, practicing on your own, spending time with your family, enjoying other hobbies, etc. Your teacher's life-experience is pretty typical, I think.
"Some professionals think they are "above" playing in an unpaid orchestra, or are afraid that it will affect their reputation if they do so."
I'd suggest getting some tutor experience in which you assist ensembles or people unable to study with professionals for life reasons if you're interested in teaching, and also observe some lessons. It can be good practice. I'm just curious. What about orchestra/ensemble work in the film/TV industry? Depending on the music, the music is classical in style, though not technically considered classical when looking at when it was written. You could also play in an amateur orchestra (not earning anything) while working other jobs if scheduling permits.
Recording work (film/TV) is, if anything, perhaps harder to break into than professional orchestras. Those people not only have to be able to play at a very high level, they have to be able to sightread at a very high level. It is not a backup plan.
Though at least in the cities i've lived in, many private teachers also hold union membership (to take advantage of the insurance deals, get gig notices, etc.), even if they don't perform professionally other than perhaps some weddings, and some of those teachers do play in community orchestras. I've also run into some number of players in community orchestras who are union freelancers but who also play with one or more community groups in order to learn more repertoire (if they're young) or to play 1st violin for a change rather than 2nd (or vice versa).
@Mary or Lydia, I don’t know why playing for movies requires excellent sight-reading skills, could someone explain?
Thanks for telling us about film/TV work. Why is it even harder to get into film/TV work than professional orchestras? I'm thinking that the film/TV industry is growing due to technological advances, though recorded music and non-orchestral instruments are commonly used instead of orchestral ones.
It's because there's often basically no rehearsal opportunity in a recording situation, or any ability to prepare in advance. You sit down. You get the music. Then they record. The first take might effectively be the "rehearsal" but it's still expected to be near-perfect. It takes a particular set of skills to be able to do that. (Look up Bruce Dukov, if you want a good example of a successful studio violinist.)
To answer both Will and Ella:
Thank you all for the wonderful replies. I hope this is okay, but why don't studio musicians not get the parts to practice at home in advance?
I have the same question as Ella, I wondered why musicians can’t get the sheet music to practice in advance, before the recording. I’m curious as to whether the reasons have anything to do with copyright and trade secrets (i.e. no parts of the movie should be released before it finished and gets distributed, including the soundtracks, etc.)
Hi Mary, thank you very much for this interesting and eye-opening aspect of orchestral jobs in filming. I thought that they could just attach a total score and send via one single email to every musician ... obviously things aren’t as simple as that.
It's very interesting to hear about recording for films! I had never thought of how the music in films gets recorded.
i know 3 violinists who are some of the most in demand musicians in hollywood for film work (solo violin in dunkirk, batman vs superman, etc...). One graduated from Colburn, one from Berklee, the other actually gave up violin for a few years in her mid to late teens!
Thanks! I've looked at Tanglewood (and others) and I know I'm not ready for them.
Hey Elena - I'm an adult returner here (amateur). I actually wrote a long post, but decided to keep it simpler:
Typical audition requirements for a credible BM program in violin performance are: the first or last movement of a major concerto (Bach a minor is not a major concerto), one movement or two contrasting movements of unaccompanied Bach, and a showpiece.
Adults in community orchestras are there because they want to be there (as opposed to it being mandated by their parents), but you'll encounter a wide range of skill and dedication. Not everyone practices the music (or does it prior to pre-performance panic), and not everyone that practices will be at a technical level that allows them to master the music. That's especially true if the orchestra tends to play music that's ambitious for people's skill level.
To add to Mary Ellen's comments:
I tell even my very best students, those for whom conservatory admission is a realistic aspiration, that they should only go into professional music if they can't imagine themselves being happy doing anything else in life.
Elena - you do not have to do something for work (professionally) to make it a priority in your life. If it is a priority, you will ensure that you have time to play.
"Indiana asks for the first movement of a major concerto (with cadenza if it has one) and two contrasting movements of the Bach S&Ps. That is no small feat with the Bach alone."
THere is also one thing that wasn't mentioned if I'm not mistaken. Going to music school does not necessarily mean you major in performance! There are lots of other fun programs like theory, composition, musicology, etc... You can still benefit from private lessons and maybe even some sort of ensemble but the admission requirements will be much less demanding!
Alright - then I'm certainly not ready for any of these schools (which, to be honest, is what I expected).
Elena, never forget that there are many more musicians in amateur orchestras and other ensembles enjoying making music and bringing that enjoyment to others than there are professionals.
Everyone has made excellent points here. Do keep in mind that you're inclined to do whatever it takes to do what you love. In other words, if you're passionate about something, you'll most likely find the time for it.
And for further comparison, the type of repertoire that Mary Ellen's top high schoolers are studying, is what my teacher's middle-school students are playing -- and they are, for the most part, not aiming for music careers.
The real question is why we keep having these threads. Why are online strangers a better source than your teacher? Why people always ask online instead of talking about it with their instructor that likely has known them for years?
Not all students have a teacher who is all that knowledgeable themselves about what is required to make it in professional music. These questions don't bewilder me as much as the "what should I play next" questions.
That question, I think, comes from teachers who leaves the choice of the next repertoire semi-open-ended. I've asked that question myself. :-)
I'm fine with the what do I play next question so long as you're an adult who is not pursuing a professional orchestral position.
”Why are online strangers a better source than your teacher? ”
Also, not all teachers are willing to have the tough, often disappointing discussion with their students about how slim the odds really are.
I’ve just come back to this and wow! And we blame the current generation for not trying!?!?
Any teacher who can't have that conversation should not be teaching anyone who aspires to go pro.
Since you have a teacher, why are you trying to learn Mendelssohn on your own?
I went to college at 15. It's not really that big a deal socially. And the OP's choice of college is, AFAIK, the opposite of a party school. :-)
"If a player doesn't have the chops necessary to enter a professional orchestra fairly soon after finishing their training (which may be 10 years after high school graduation, assuming a DMA and such"
Paul, OP's teacher is a Suzuki teacher who seems to mostly work with younger kids. I bet she's really good at what she does but she's almost certainly not prepping kids from start to finish for music careers--not in Boston, where there are so many big deal teachers to be had. But there are really good teachers who chicken out of that conversation too. I remember a guy at Duke who was decent but not great. My teacher (who didn't work with him) thought it unfortunate that his teacher didn't give him the straight scoop about his chances to win an orchestra gig...or maybe he was told and didn't listen. He'd probably met people who weren't as solid who had won professional jobs once upon a time and let their skills lapse. As Lydia points out, the standards keep going up. Anyway, he took his Paganini on the road for a couple of years, failed to get any jobs, and decided that he hated teaching Suzuki and living on 15k a year while auditioning on a borrowed instrument. He went and got an MBA (because he went to Duke and did a double major) and sailed off into banking, never to look back. One could argue that he will never have to wonder what could have been. One could also argue that this experience soured for him what could have been a lovely lifelong hobby.
If I had a student who was working on the Bach a minor, and I found out that that student was teaching him or herself Mendelssohn, we would be having a serious conversation.
Scott, I've noticed a DMA listed for many younger pros in the local freeway philharmonics, who are joining the Suzuki faculty of the local community music programs, and so forth. My guess is that these folks got a DMA not because they are hoping for university teaching jobs, but because they needed more years of training -- some of them also list an artist's certificate in addition to the BM/MM/DMA, for instance, which also suggests extension of the training years -- and that's the easiest way to do it while being able to earn a stipend. (This is true of the DMA candidates that I know personally, as well.) Do you think that's mostly a regional phenomenon?
OP is in the Boston area and is going to a well known great-book -type private college... that says to me she is economically well off and in an area with many good teachers. She is 16 and has been playing for 11 years. She has a teacher but is teaching herself advanced rep.
"My guess is that these folks got a DMA not because they are hoping for university teaching jobs, but because they needed more years of training -- some of them also list an artist's certificate in addition to the BM/MM/DMA, for instance, which also suggests extension of the training years -- and that's the easiest way to do it while being able to earn a stipend. (This is true of the DMA candidates that I know personally, as well.) Do you think that's mostly a regional phenomenon?"
Is the OP the type to seek and follow good advice? She’s here... she had the guts to ask a very tough question, and the courage to suffer the answers she’s gotten here.
Jane, I agree the comments here, when it comes to teenagers, are harsh and discouraging (but well intended). What is interesting is the generous pass some (not all ) are willing to give teachers. I once raised the issue of minimum teaching qualification for private teachers and got really hammered : )
"Also, I really dislike the disparaging and discouraging commentary I read on V.com, that make out like the violin is only reserved for some secret elite class. It’s prompted me to quit reading here quite often but then am drawn back by funny videos by luthiers and the like. "
One might argue that, at least in the US, the sheer expense of playing the violin, especially serious pre-professional training, effectively make high levels of accomplishment something reserved for the upper middle class. This has become especially true now that public-school music programs are increasingly stripped of their funding, or eliminated altogether, thus severely harming a route by which actual middle-class and less-privileged children normally begin to play a string instrument. To some degree, private organizations modeled on things like El Sistema have tried to fill the gap, but these programs only reach a very small percentage of the children in the US. While there are scholarships for the less-privileged, and some teachers may teach lessons at reduced fees for talented kids who can't otherwise afford lessons, these efforts only reach a small percentage of the students who would otherwise be capable of high levels of accomplishment.
Hi, I think it is not easy even for average violin performance graduate to find a position in orchestra or to be signed in recording company. In my country (Italia) many students graduated from conservatory also faced with the problem of finding a relevant job in field of music, even those students who graduated from well-known Santa Cecilia or G.Verdi, many of them still struggling in making their lives in providing private lessons, but that not help much, because there are fewer people learning instrument than before, also there are too many conservatories, those people especially young kids who want to learn violin will go to local conservatories, and as a result of low birth rate, for a private teacher it is hard to get sufficient students. There are some conservatories provide violin courses for adults, but in Italy it is very different from US because today not so many adults interested in violin, either classical music. I’ve been in conservatory for nine years and got a diploma, but then after 19 I altered my mind and went to one of top universities in my country, once semi-professional even professional career has become a hobby, which makes me feel relieved...
Jane, if you want the OP to pursue a nearly impossible career choice and waste many years doing so, feel free.
Again, thank you to everyone for your replies!
Some community orchestras concentrate exclusively on raising money for charity, which actually can be very satisfying.
I suggest someone who is pursuing violin (or other artistic skill) lackadaisically should be termed a "dilettante" rather than an "amateur". "Amateurs" in centuries gone by were often of a very high standard indeed, but they were usually upper-class (even royalty) so they had the time and wherewithal to study to the highest level with the best teachers.
No, you. cannot become a professional symphony violinist when you are in your late teens playing Bach A minor.
There is a difference between being harsh and being honest.
It strikes me that what many of these questions (from a long parade of teenagers on v.com) have in common, is a lack of practical understanding of what a young adult's life looks like, topped off by a lack of knowledge of what the lives of different sorts of professional musicians look like.
I actually agree with Ms. Goree in this-only get into music if you can't imagine yourself doing anything else. There's no "successful career" warranty even if you are really good, as most auditioners are really good+++ as well. I see it more as a "calling" than a career-a way of life, rich or poor.
At school the advice I was given by the principal when I was seriously considering going to music college was that it was and always will be an uncertain career, and I'd be better off considering science in view my deep interest in the sciences, keeping music as a hobby. There are plenty of amateur orchestras around who would be glad of me as a cellist, he pointed out.
A lot of built-in mechanism is already there that would make it impossible for a 18-year mediocre violinist to somehow get admitted into a top music school. There are so many who are ever ready to tell our children, in a thousand different ways, that they are not good enough. Do we need to join that chorus?
I'll add +1 to the "better to be a happy amateur" point of view.
"I actually agree with Ms. Goree in this-only get into music if you can't imagine yourself doing anything else. "
"You don't go into music because you can't imagine anything else. You go into it because you love the repertoire, you love the lifestyle, you love performing, and you're good at it."
David, the problem is not those kids getting rejected from a top music school. The problem is those kids getting into a fourth-rate music school, and passing up a first-rate academic institution in order to chase an unlikely dream.
"A lot of built-in mechanism is already there that would make it impossible for a 18-year mediocre violinist to somehow get admitted into a top music school. There are so many who are ever ready to tell our children, in a thousand different ways, that they are not good enough. Do we need to join that chorus?"
I still agree with the "being happy" part. Sorry it was omitted. Some people can't be "helped into common sense", and it's not my job to force them see things the way I do.
I think Lydia's earlier point about helping students manage the transition from high school to self-managed continual learning and lifelong musical satisfaction is profound--and I agree that in an ideal world it would be an essential part of the student-teacher dialogue from early high school on. I didn't know adult amateurs when I was in middle school and high school. I did know a lot of professional violinists of varying caliber. It really didn't occur to me that there were other possibilities and for me, giving up on the idea of playing professionally was tantamount to saying that I'd stop learning and improving once I left home. It seems so obvious in hindsight that there are better options, especially for the strong student who loves music--but I think I would have really benefited from a mindset adjustment. How many people ask kids what their hobbies will be when they grow up?
If your inclination right now is to practice very hard and play the violin, then just turn on the steam and see where it takes you. If you have been playing since age five, you likely have a good foundation, and a program of consistent and focused practice over time can do quite a lot, especially if you come to the table with talent. Find the best teacher possible, and yes, set some big goals. That is how we find ourselves. If it doesn't land you where expected, it will still likely give you the needed perspective and knowledge to find your next step. Being a professional orchestral musician is not the only path forward for a violinist, there are other ways to incorporate music into your life and even into your profession. Getting good at playing the violin is never a bad idea!
“the problem is not those kids getting rejected from a top music school. The problem is those kids getting into a fourth-rate music school, and passing up a first-rate academic institution in order to chase an unlikely dream.”
The issue Lydia mentions is compounded by "fourth-rate music schools" accepting students whom they know they clearly will not be able to propel into any kind of reasonable career after four years, but taking them simply because they can pay the tuition.
I'll point out that this thread exists specifically because the OP asked for career advice.
"The issue Lydia mentions is compounded by "fourth-rate music schools" accepting students whom they know they clearly will not be able to propel into any kind of reasonable career after four years, but taking them simply because they can pay the tuition."
"My point is perhaps we can focus on advices on violin playing and leave career choices to their parents and teachers."
Lydia and Mary Ellen, you are quite right. I forgot the original question : ) My bad!
Side question: what Ivy League universities (and other elite institutions outside of these, like MIT, Caltex, Stanford and below) consider playing musical instruments to be a strong advantage in admission into their non-academic postgrad research programs? Genuinely wondered , since this doesn’t mean that much among universities in Australia where I live.
Universities pump out plenty of non-competitive STEM graduates too. Question -- what does it mean when you have a STEM graduate and you look at their transcript and you see a GPA of 3.0? It means they got a C for every A. Now look more closely. Don't be surprised if the A's are in humanities "core" courses and the C's are in math.
In my opinion at least the market has plenty of jobs for STEM graduates, competitive or not. STEM and humanities together lay the foundation for a well-functioning society. It’s safer to be a non-competitive STEM graduate than a non-competitive musician. And as I understood from v.com posts, in the sphere of music itself it’s safer to be a non-competitive non-violinist musician than a non-competitive violinist.
I would not say that it's safer to be a non-violinist than a violinist in music, if one is non-competitive. An argument could be made that a weaker player on the violin still has the option of private teaching and weddings, depending on personality and location. It's actually not unheard of for a popular teacher to be a marginal player, and the same is true among wedding musicians. On the other hand there are not too many people who want a tuba at their wedding, and I doubt that the market for tuba lessons is quite as deep as that for violin instruction.
"An exhausting life of lessons" may be an option that makes someone truly Happy-especially when nothing else will.
Also please keep in mind that college plus expenses is an unforgiving $60,000 + a year for certain schools, including many of those “top tier” schools. For a young person, especially one going into the arts, taking student and parent loans for this this makes zero sense. The main ingredients for success are high ability, commitment to practice,a good teacher and also a lot of imagination - the ability to see a different path forward and to make your own work. The 20th century is over. I agree that getting a well paid full-time job with benefits in a orchestra is not possible for almost anyone, simply because those positions are extremely scarce - almost a fiction. Start your own, with a new model - you will need a different kind of education for that. Btw Lindsey Stirling was a BYU film major and argue all you want, she is an extraordinarily successful professional violinist.
Also, I see that Elena actually does have a lot of early experience playing in orchestras. So pursue the opportunities that you find for yourself, but know that being an orchestra musician professionally is usually a part-time, low-pay proposition.
"I doubt that the market for tuba lessons is quite as deep as that for violin instruction."
Flute is very much like violin in that it is an extraordinarily competitive instrument when trying to find an orchestra job, but a popular instrument when one is seeking private students and weddings. In the U.S., I believe there are more military band spots open for flautists than there are for violinists (fun fact: the largest single employer of classical musicians in the United States is the U.S. military).
Mary, that's interesting what you said about the U.S. military being the largest single employer of classical musicians. It could be much the same in the UK from what I've heard. My cello teacher came from a large family of Eastern European musicians who were refugees in the UK early in the last century and had a formative influence on his musicianship. At the outbreak of WW2 he was drafted into the RAF and immediately into the RAF School of Music where he had a first class music education (not just his words). Incidentally, in the military schools of music over here you're taught wind or brass instruments if you play stringed instruments. At the end of the War my cello teacher was head-hunted by the BBC and offered a chair as deputy principal in the cello section of the BBC SO. He turned down the offer and they upgraded it to section principal. He still turned it down! I found out many years later that after several years in a military band/orchestra he was fed up with its regimentation and so turned to freelance, at which he was very successful for the rest of his long life.
"people teaching both violin and cello privately. With perhaps the very very rare exception, they shouldn't."
In my late 'teens my last piano teacher was a college gold medallist in violin, cello and piano. She taught all three and was one of the few in the area who could take a student in any of those instruments to a professional standard.
"In my opinion at least the market has plenty of jobs for STEM graduates..."
Scott, given the millions of H1-B workers in this country how could there not be a severe shortage of STEM jobs? :-)
There are plenty of jobs for STEM graduates, but mostly for engineers, especially software developers. It's hard to get, say, a "biology" job -- you can go from an undergrad bio degree to working as a lab tech, for instance, but those jobs are poorly paid.
Those who talk loudly about the so called shortage of STEM workers and the need for H1B visa are basically following a corporate strategy of creating an over supply of low-wage and high skill labor force.
A military music career will easily pay twice as much if not more (with benefits and a good pension) than the average civilian orchestra player and provide ample time to freelance on the side. The down side, not too many (0 in Canada other than guitar and bass) strings players needed.
*Those who talk loudly about the so-called shortage of stem workers and the need for H1B visa are basically following a corporate strategy of creating an oversupply of low wage and high skilled labour force*
Oh boy, these posts always get a lot of comments!
Many of the kids that are in Juilliard Pre-College won't actually get into Juilliard itself for college -- and a significant percentage of them won't go into music at all. That's why it's a useful comparison -- the pre-college prep kids are good examples of well-trained students. Regardless of whether they go on to Juilliard or to other good (first or second tier) conservatories, those students will be the eventual competitors for jobs -- and some of them will eventually show up in community orchestras and whatnot.
"I don't know how accurate it is for OP to compare herself to Juilliard pre-college kids unless she intends to go to Juilliard. Even in this industry they are exceptional."