Youth Orchestra Profile Summary Data




I. General information: Ninety-six youth orchestras participated in the Youth Orchestra Profile Report during the 2006-2007 season. The largest percentage of orchestras are independent, comprising 75 percent of the total. Nearly Nineteen percent of the orchestras are affiliated with adult orchestras, while only three percent are affiliated with schools or conservatories. Overall, each organization averages two full orchestras, one chamber orchestra, two string orchestras, and one wind ensemble. The full orchestras average 5 performances per year. Each organization averages 229 students enrolled in at least one of their ensembles.

II. Governance:

The boards average sixteen members; the parents of current enrollments combined with the parents of alums comprise the board majority. Community leaders augment the parents. The primary duties of most board members include policy-making and fundraising. Secondary responsibilities include legal counseling, administration, hospitality, and marketing/promotion.  Forty-nine participating orchestras have at least one support group in addition to their governing board.  Eighteen orchestras have at least two support groups. Parents comprise the majority of this additional group, whose duties include hospitality and fundraising.

III. School Participation:

On average, 174 students from 46 public schools participate in each orchestra. Fifty students from fourteen private schools participate in each orchestra. Only five students participate from two colleges or universities.

IV. Policies:


78.1%     Sell concert tickets
64.6%  Hire an outside auditor to examine financial records annually
46.9%  Have an endowment fund


87.5%     Have an absence policy
71.9%     Use auditions for seating
72.9%     Use outside musicians to fill instrumentation
60.4%     of above orchestras pay outside musicians
64.6%     Allow admission of new members throughout the season
65.6%     Require players to audition annually for admission
49.0%     Restrict membership in chamber ensembles to orchestra members


86.5%     Use operational guidelines/handbooks
96.9%     Record some or all ensembles
74.0%     Use written personnel policies
83.3%     Publish newsletter


24.0%     Provide scholarships based on merit
83.3%     Provide scholarships based on financial need
80.2%     Hold concerto competitions
84.4%     Program music by living composers – not exclusive of commissions
58.3%     Sponsor master classes

84.4%     Carry general liability insurance
53.1%     Carry fire and property
53.1%     Carry worker’s compensation
58.3%     Carry directors and officers liability
56.3%     Carry insurance for instruments


86.5%     Collaborate with adult orchestras
66.7%     Collaborate with other performing groups (dance, children’s chorus)

V. Finance:

Forty-eight percent of the orchestras reported a surplus for the 2006-2007 season while nineteen percent reported an average deficit. The average surplus was $37,500 while the average deficit was $ 31,268. The median surplus was 15,638 while the median deficit was 10,908. Of the participants, Tuition generated the largest source of income, and averaged 37 percent of the total revenue. The average tuition income for participating orchestras was $122,430, while the median was $75,727. Foundation support brought almost 15 percent of revenue. Support from individuals outside the board brought in just over eight percent, while Government grants brought in just under seven percent. Ticket sales generated six percent of revenue and miscellaneous sources brought five and a half. 

VI. Touring:

Orchestras spent an average of $181,929 on tours that lasted an average of nine days. Of the orchestras that toured, seventy-two percent of orchestras traveled internationally. Fifty-two percent of orchestras traveled nationally. Fifty percent traveled regionally. Of the orchestras that toured, fifty-six percent have regular touring schedules; nine percent travel annually, while twenty percent travel every two years, and the remaining twenty percent travel every three years.

VII. Ensemble:

Females comprise the greater gender majority at 53 percent. Asian/Pacific Islander students comprise the largest ethnic group with nearly nineteen percent. Other (non-Caucasian/non-White) are the next largest group with fourteen percent. Latino students are four and one-half percent, while African-American students are over four percent. Indian/Alaskan Native students comprise almost one and one-half percent. 

Children aged six to ten make up one-half of one percent of youth orchestras’ age group population. Almost twenty-three percent of children in youth orchestras are between age eleven and fifteen. The largest majority of students is sixteen to eighteen and makes up 66.8 percent. Only 3.9 percent of members are above the age of 18.

The average tuition is $ 458 per year. Tuition comprises seventy-two percent of the total fees, with nine percent of fees devoted to camp.

The average orchestra gives seven concerts a year. Over fifty percent of the concerts are regular subscription concerts. Eighteen percent are tour/run-out concerts, while ten percent are children’s concerts and another ten percent are summer/special concerts.

Only one third of participating orchestras hold an annual retreat. The average length is two days.