A classical musician is someone who plays a particular instrument (or sometimes several instruments, though most choose to specialize in one) professionally, as part of a classical orchestra. Classical musicians normally play at symphony orchestras, operas, as well as in some theatrical productions. Some classical musicians continue on to become teachers of their particular instruments, as at times the job can be unsteady, demanding and not satisfying enough to meet some people’s expectations.
There is a large variety of musical instruments employed in classical music, and thus musicians from all kinds of backgrounds can become a part of a classical orchestra. Depending on the grade of the orchestra, the musician may be required to have undergone professional education related to their instrument, though this requirement can always be overcome by displaying extraordinary skills. Strong discipline and the ability to take criticism are valuable skills for becoming a successful classical musician, as competition tends to be harsh and one usually needs to put in a lot of effort to stand out.
Professional classical musicians can earn anywhere from $20,000 – $30,000 a year to over $100,000 depending on a large number of factors including the orchestra that employs them, their experience level, and the instrument they’re playing. A classical musician who’s built up a few years of experience at a low-grade orchestra can generally easily find employment at a more prestigious one, and the annual salary tends to grow very rapidly for skilled musicians.