Concert Violinist: Job Duties, Outlook and Salary Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a concert violinist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and experience necessary to find out if this is the career for you.

Concert violinists are skilled performers with a great deal of training and experience. They work solo or with orchestras and concerts. They can attain their training and education in a variety of ways.

Essential Information

Concert violinists are players who are featured in concerts or other performances. Becoming one of these elite musicians requires a great deal of training, education, practice and experience, due to a highly competitive field. Violinists can find formal training in numerous ways, including through programs at colleges, universities and arts conservatories.

Required Education Varies (undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates and diplomas available)
Other Requirements Extensive experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% (all musicians and singers)
Average Hourly Wage (2015)* $33.62 (all musicians and singers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

Concert violinists are expected to be highly skilled musicians and have a solid foundation in music theory. They have gained practical experience through prior performance and formal education. Concert violinists may hold a variety of positions, including:

  • Section member
  • Concertmaster
  • Soloist
  • Guest performer

Concert violinists who are section members often sign seasonal contracts with orchestras and are expected to attend rehearsals, maintain and improve their skills, learn new music and perform at concerts and events. Orchestras may also employ violinists as concertmasters, and their responsibilities could include leading the string section, acting as lead violin and being a liaison between the strings and other sections. Concert violinists may appear with a wide variety of musical groups and required to perform music in different styles.

Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), musicians such as concert violinists face stiff competition since there are more professionals joining the field each year than there are available positions (www.bls.gov). Competition for full-time positions is expected to be particularly rough, and concert violinists may choose to supplement their income by teaching or performing other jobs. Job opportunities for musicians and singers are predicted to grow 3% from 2014 to 2024, a below-average rate, due to potential funding problems with performance companies.

Some groups allow concert violinists to work a tenured track, providing additional job stability. New concert violinists may find more employment opportunities with small-scale, local performing groups than they do in large entertainment hubs and may choose to participate in competitions to enhance their job opportunities.

Salary Information

The BLS reports an average hourly wage for musicians and singers of $33.62 as of May 2015. This field has a large amount of pay disparity. Figures from the BLS in 2015 show the lowest ten percent bringing in $9.20 or less an hour and the top ten percent bringing in $68.98 or more per hour. Several factors, including geographic location, the performer's ability and the type of position held, may affect the amount a concert violinist is paid. Performing arts companies employed the largest percentage of musicians and singers, over 16%, and averaged a slightly higher average rate of $37 per hour, as indicated by BLS data from 2015.

Concert violinists can learn their skills through programs at colleges, universities or conservatories. The job growth outlook is below average, and the field is very competitive. The average hourly salary in 2015 was around $34.


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