Education profiles UT
Salt Lake City, Utah
Years in current position: 4
Years in the field: 16
Private piano teacher; piano pedagogy classes
Arts Administration seminar, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
Master’s of Public Adminsitration coursework, University of Utah
Seattle Symphony: Development Assistant, Group Sales Manager, Education Coordinator, Operations Manager
Memphis Symphony: Librarian, Interim Operations Director
What are the most surprising, interesting or challenging aspects of your day-to-day work?
Challenging: The perennial problem of limited staff being asked to do too much. Interesting: I have always appreciated the incredible amount of autonomy I have had in my work with orchestras. I especially enjoy the times when I get to be creative—writing teacher materials, creating and leading teacher workshops, or training volunteers about their education presentations.
What inspired you to work for an orchestra?
I volunteered with Wisconsin Women in the Arts in the mid- to late-’70s and discovered that I really enjoyed concert production. When I moved to Seattle, I only looked for jobs in the performing arts and was fortunate that the Seattle Symphony had an opening.
What advice would you offer to someone considering the orchestra field?
Consider whether you would rather work for a company that produces its own concerts, a presenting organization, or a support organization. If you can narrow that down, select the organization for which you would most want to work. If you know what department you’re most interested in (e.g., operations, development, marketing) contact that director and ask if there is a specific project you could volunteer to take on. Signing on to the generic volunteer corps will be less likely to single you out or bring you to anyone’s attention very quickly. But taking on a specific project with clear time requirements is a good way to show your initiative and ability to follow through. One or two more of those and you’ll likely be at the top of their list when the next position opens up.
Any other advice?
My experience has been that there is a lot of promotion from within in the performing arts. So if you think you want to work for a particular organization, even if your dream job isn’t currently open, consider applying for other positions you know you could do well. I have one other thought about applying for other positions with your current employer: Approach your internal application as fully, thoughtfully, and formally as you would if you were an external applicant. And be sure your current employer gives you the same courtesy instead of treating your application more casually than others.