With the right amount of skill you can get a job playing the violin, but like with other art forms, opportunities are competitive and earning a stable income as a violinist can be challenging. The key is to match your level of expertise with an open role that suits your strengths, being proactive and, in many instances, you must be good at marketing yourself on social media in order to succeed.

Learn about different career paths that may be open to you, including what’s required to determine what violinist jobs might be right for you.

How Do I Get a Job as a Violinist?

No matter the paid gig, you can expect to audition for the role. Oftentimes, you’ll also be required to share a Curriculum Vitae (CV) that highlights your educational background and previous experience as an advanced violinist. If you don’t have a four-year degree in music, you will need to have apprenticed with a renowned musician in order to qualify for competitive opportunities, like playing in a well-funded orchestra or being a soloist. In addition to their bachelor’s, many violinists going against you for jobs are likely to have a postgraduate degree in music. In comparison, many freelance violin jobs are more about what you’ve proven capable of rather than your educational background.

Market Your Skills as a Freelance Violinist

Freelance violin opportunities are nearly unlimited, however you will need an entrepreneurial spirit to market yourself and your skills while being motivated to seek out work. Organizational skills are also a must in order to write a business plan, track expenses and ensure you’re able to pay your bills. Freelance violinists can expect to book wedding, anniversary and corporate parties, among other experiences.

Having a network of friends and peers you know from school and gigging to help spread the news of your availability can go a long way in building a freelance career. This is key since you’re ultimately responsible for meeting other musicians, checking classifieds and being on social media to pitch your skills as a violinist and spread your music to help book gigs.

Unlock your Entrepreneurial Spirit With Advice from The OK Factor

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New-classical crossover duo The OK Factor features cellist Olivia Diercks and violinist Karla Colahan. The Minneapolis-based duo have played a variety of venues across the United States and Sweden. Recently coming into their own, in the video the duo shares helpful advice to freelancers looking to build careers.

How to Become a Violin Teacher

Music teachers are always in demand. To teach K-12 and conduct school orchestras, a bachelor’s degree with a music-related major is required. If you wish to teach in a public school system, you will also need a teaching license. A firm grounding in music theory is critical to developing young players, as they need to learn how to read and interpret sheet music and treble clef.

If you have a degree in music and are unsure about becoming a full-time teacher, you can always start with booking private lessons to see how you do one-on-one with beginning, intermediate and college players. This can also be a way to build up a reputation and customer base while figuring out future aspirations.

If you have a bachelor’s but don’t have a teaching degree and think that may be a path for you, look into pedagogy courses, teaching certificate programs at your local or city college, and check out local online groups that can help you grow and find jobs.

Playing in Chamber and Small Ensemble Orchestras

If you think you have what it takes to be in an orchestra but lack experience, playing in a chamber or small ensemble orchestra may be your best option to work your way up. By performing with a string quartet, chamber orchestra or jazz ensemble, you will gain relevant experience to add to your CV, plus the networking opportunities could help shape your future within the industry.

Joining an Orchestra is Competitive

Playing in an orchestra is what many classically trained violinists strive for. To pursue this as your career, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in music or an impressive apprenticeship, an extensive CV and you must be precise and perfect in auditions. Many of your peers will have graduate degrees and razor-sharp audition skills you will need to rival in order to beat them for a seat.

Well-funded orchestra jobs, especially those in major metropolitan areas, are highly competitive as they are full-time and come with benefits such as paid time off, medical and dental insurance, and a 401(k).

Carving Out a Soloist Career

We don’t want to discourage anyone from chasing a soloist career, but we think it’s important to note it’s incredibly difficult to pursue this as a legitimate full-time career. However, the elite performers who make it get to enjoy total control of their play style, schedule, and even who they get to work with. It’s exciting and truly rewarding for elite performers.

To achieve this level, you should have a well-rounded CV that demonstrates your pedigree and backs up your master-level skills.

Other Violin Job Opportunities

From film and television to live touring, opportunities are out there for those who are highly skilled, motivated and eager to work. In addition to the roles outline above, other violinist and violin-adjacent jobs may include:

  • Composer, including for TV and film
  • Sound engineer
  • Jingle writer
  • Music arranger
  • Artist manager
  • Tour manager
  • A&R coordinator
  • Podcast producer

Many of the opportunities listed above are very competitive, especially the ones in film and TV, but with the growing popularity of streaming, there is more entertainment than ever to consume. This has led to a plethora of new job opportunities that weren’t available, even just a few years ago.

How in Demand Are Violinists?

There are many great things about being a violinist — the emotion your music evokes and how you can communicate beyond language barriers — but one of the best is that the instrument is a classic and good players are always in demand. While the popularity of every instrument grows and wanes, opportunities abound.

Freelance, teaching and chamber and small ensemble roles are consistently in abundance, but job prospects start to narrow if looking to join a large orchestra or becoming a soloist.

Make CodaBow Your Go-To Violin Resource

Learn more about violin jobs with our guide to becoming a professional player. We also offer other helpful resources in our Learning Center.

To try one of our award-winning carbon fiber bows for yourself, visit your local CodaBow dealer or request an in-home trial. We have violin bows for all play style aspirations, and each is nearly indestructible and rivals the quality of Pernambuco wood bows.

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