Bassoon, oboe, clarinet or flute? which instrument to get in a symphony orchestra?

Hi there, I’m working to get in a music school this year, but I’m twenty now and I’ve never played an instrument. I have done a little research on these instruments, but I want to learn that which one has more chance to get me in a local symphony orchestra after a 4 years of practice in school? I heard bassoon may have a little more chance due to its rarity but I don’t know how easy to master it. I appreciate all comments, thanx.

Okay folks … answer this one!


  1. If this person is in Ontario, I’d actually say clarinet. There is a drought of them.

  2. Let’s see, instruments one might master in four years without experience of any kind…possibly the auto-harp? Street/crank organ (monkeys are optional, as I understand it, but you have to wear the hat)? Song flute? Kazoo?

  3. Yep, Tim, my thoughts exactly!

    Sadly some people do think they could master an instrument in that amount of time. Or they think they already have because they were in high school band. I’m used to hearing it all at this point!

  4. they will not get into a professional orchestra in this lifetime if they are starting their first musical training at 20. period.

  5. I’m never willing to make a statement quite like that Gabrielle. There are exceptions to nearly every “rule”. I know someone who started VERY late, and she now plays professionally. Really! But she worked, very, very hard.

  6. sorry, that’s my audition frustration speaking. after all the years of hard work i’ve put in, the idea of someone starting so late and then just waltzing right in and taking my spot bothers me. i, too have known some successful late starters, and of course it also depends on your definition of professional. maybe they are not likely to play in the philadelphia orchestra, but there are lots of smaller orchestras out there, some that even hire a mix of professionals and community members. though i must say, it would help if they’d had at least some musical training, ie could play piano a little or read music. i think it mostly bothers me because the person sounds a little clueless about how much work it takes to become a professional musician.

  7. I understand, Gabrielle! It’s a tough biz, and it IS frustrating … no doubt about that. It’s also much more difficult now than it was when I was starting out. You have my compassion, to be sure.

    And yes, I think the person is clueless. But of course I was clueless when I started out too. Go figure! 🙂

    Hang in there!