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Career Overview: Catalogs and orders music for the orchestra, assists Conductor by copying scores and sheet music.

Career Salary Range: $40,000 and up

Orchestral Music Librarian

Become an Orchestral Music Librarian

Career Description

An Orchestral Music Librarian catalogs the orchestra’s printed music, while also taking responsibility for ordering new music. If the orchestra decides not to purchase certain pieces of music, it is up to the Music Librarian to locate and rent the music.

In terms of skills, the Orchestral Music Librarian must be skilled in copying musical markings, assisting the Conductor after he or she has looked at a piece of music and made changes in it. Also, it is the Orchestral Music Librarian’s duty to distribute music to Section Players. These pieces of music are then collected after rehearsal or performance conclusions. When the orchestra travels, so does the Music Librarian, as he or she is responsible for all of the sheet music. Also, the Music Librarian will consult with Guest Conductors about their music requirements.

Unlike traditional Librarians, the Orchestral Music Librarian does not work regular hours. He or she usually reports to the Orchestra Conductor.

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Salaries depend on the type of orchestra. A Music Librarian working for a major orchestra will usually make more than a Music Librarian working for a smaller regional or metropolitan orchestra.


Those seeking positions as Orchestral Music Librarians will face tough job prospects, as there are a limited number of orchestras. Additionally, not every orchestra employs a paid individual in this position.


The possibility for advancement is poor due to the small number of Music Librarian positions available within orchestras. If looking for a higher salary, one could move into another type of position, such as a Librarian in a traditional library or educational setting.

Education and Training

In general, Orchestral Music Librarian positions require an undergraduate degree in music theory or history or a dual major in music and library sciences. The majority of positions will require a master’s degree in either music or library sciences.

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Experience, Skills, and Personality

Prior to becoming Orchestral Music Librarians, individuals often work as Music Librarian Assistants. There are also internship programs to help aspiring Music Librarians gain experience. In terms of skills, the Orchestral Music Librarian must have neat handwriting, and must be able to copy Conductors’ markings on scores. He or she must also be extremely organized and very personable.

Unions and Associations

Options for organizations include the American Library Association (ALA), the Special Libraries Association (SLA), and the American Symphony Orchestra League (ASOL), all of which help the individual maintain contacts while attending seminars.

Suggestions for Getting Started

  • Search for an internship as a Music Librarian in a major, regional, or metropolitan orchestra.
  • Try to gain experience as the Music Librarian of your college or school orchestra/band.
  • Be sure to send your résumé and cover letter to orchestras, and ask that it be kept on file.
  • Check for advertised openings in the classified section of newspapers.

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