07. February 2005 · Comments Off on Money! But Are They Happy? · Categories: imported, Ramble

I just read an article talking about musicians’ job satisfaction. It turns out that those higher paid, major orchestra musicians are less content than the lesser paid, regional orchestra players.

Hmm. That implies that the regional orchestra players might be happy. This is a problem, don’t you think? One thing we musicians do best is complain. 😉

Anyway, the study was done quite some time ago, so who knows what the results would be now. But I thought these paragraphs were at least worth pondering:

Not so, according to Josephine S. Pichanick, a doctoral candidate in the organizational behavior program jointly administered by Harvard Business School and the department of psychology. For a study of job satisfaction among professional musicians, Pichanick collected questionnaires from 66 musicians in major and regional symphony orchestras and interviewed 22 players in depth. The major-orchestra musicians studied earn a mean income of $85,000 a year, as compared to $15,000 for regional players. “I predicted that, because major players were so much better compensated and because so much more prestige was involved, they’d be more satisfied overall,” Pichanick says.

Surprisingly, the results showed the opposite. Job satisfaction for players who win a seat in a major symphony orchestra was high early in their tenures, but fell steadily, gradually regressing to the mean. Regional players’ satisfaction began lower, but grew over time. Prestige and good pay, Pichanick found, do not necessarily equal job satisfaction.

Go figure.

Anyway, I know that I honestly do love what I do. I think I like my particular role in the music world because I get such variety. I play opera for a while. I move on to symphony. I get a musical now and then. I get to see a few “stars” sometimes. And I love to teach. I like having the age range of students that I have.

It is a wonderful job, if you ask me.

Okay … if you ask me today.

I reserve the right to whine any time I’d like, thank you very much!


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