Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Brian Powell

Second Committee Member

Scott Flavin

Third Committee Member

Margaret A. Donaghue

Fourth Committee Member

Gary Wood


This study measures the job satisfaction of professional orchestral musicians in the United States. The research focuses on those who hold additional non-performance roles within their organizations, whether paid or unpaid, and how these additional roles relate to job satisfaction. The paper also assesses the level of interest orchestral musicians have in taking on these added roles within their organizations. An anonymous, online survey was sent to personnel managers of U.S. orchestras and 560 individual responses were recorded. In addition to other trends within the data, string musicians were the only instrument group with below-average job and role satisfaction. Musicians with additional employment outside the orchestra also reported lower job and role satisfaction than those who were exclusive employees of their organizations. The musicians holding internal unpaid non-performance roles reported above-average job and role satisfaction though, perhaps surprisingly, those with paid non-performance roles reported lower levels than those who solely perform. Most musicians expressed limited willingness to take on these extra roles, though they were more interested as younger or newer employees, or for paid roles in general. Recommendations are made based on the results of the survey, and suggestions for future research are presented.


Job satisfaction; orchestral musicians; non-performance roles