Performance, repair and restoration, manufacturing, teaching, sales, and demonstration are the most common cello jobs. Each of these cello jobs necessitates a slightly different skill set and level of expertise, as well as very different working conditions and pay rates. Whatever position a person chooses, he or she must be able to play the cello well. Many people have multiple jobs, such as teaching and performing.
Cello players are required to have a formal degree in music performance because this type of education allows the player to learn music in a more comprehensive and in-depth manner. Employers consider a degree because it verifies a specific level of competence in music and performance ability. However, some people do succeed through private study, so this rule isn’t set in stone.
If you want to play the cello, you have a lot of options for where and what you can play. Chamber music jobs, such as performing as part of a string quartet at a wedding, are among the most common. Other cellists can find work in jazz ensembles, such as those found in nightclubs. People like Ron Carter have become famous for their jazz cello work, but most people prefer the double bass to the cello when playing jazz. A cellist can also perform as a soloist or with an orchestra, but these positions are highly competitive, with only the best cellists being offered contracts.
Cello repair is another option for cello jobs. String replacement, bridge replacement, and refinishing are all jobs that people with this profession can do. These workers are frequently found in music stores, but some are specialists hired manufacturers who have provided training. Cello repairers must be well-versed in not only cello construction, but also physics and how adjustments and materials affect the overall tone, responsiveness, and projection of the instruments they work on. They usually work on student-level instruments, but professional-level repairers may have instruments worth tens of thousands of dollars on their work bench at any given time, making quality work and precision critical.
Restoration is related to cello repair work. Workers who specialize in this field are concerned with restoring older cello models to working order. The instruments they work on are frequently extremely valuable due to their scarcity and antique status, with some cellos dating back hundreds of years. Cello restorers must be well-versed in the history of the cello and cello music, as their job is to restore the instruments so that they can produce an authentic sound when played in the way they were intended.
Manufacturing is also a part of cello jobs. Some of these cello workers focus on developing new cello designs that the company can manufacture. Others are concerned with putting the design into production and managing the mechanical aspects of mass production. Although it is becoming increasingly rare, a small number of people in the cello manufacturing industry still make cellos hand, custom-making each instrument over several weeks based on the client’s specifications. This type of work necessitates a high level of skill and is time consuming.
Many people who have a passion for or talent for the cello go on to become cello teachers. There are two types of cello instructors: private and public. Private instructors provide individual lessons to up to 30 students per week, often from the comfort of their own homes. Some public instructors work in schools as general music directors, teaching not only cello but also all instruments, ensembles, bands, and choirs. Those who teach at the university or college level usually need a doctorate in music education and work more like private instructors, performing as well as teaching.
Some cello job seekers find success in sales or demonstrations. Salespeople are responsible for promoting various cello models, either in person or via other means such as digital marketing via the company website. They frequently work in music stores, where they show customers various models and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each. Demonstrators, like salespeople, are concerned with generating interest in the cello, but their goal is to create more players, not necessarily to profit from sales. They usually cater to elementary school students, playing the cello to demonstrate its sound, size, and technique, as well as providing some basic historical and performance information.