Concert flautists are master flute players who perform either individually or with professional symphony orchestras or performing arts companies. Most classically arranged orchestras carry just two flautists, but the number can be less or more given the instruments called for by various compositions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies all musicians in one wage category.
According to May, 2010 data from the BLS, professional musicians earn an average salary of $62,858, which equates to an hourly rate of $30.22 per hour when factored out across a standard 40-hour work week. These figures are similar to 2007 data from the business blog Adapistration.com's major American symphonies survey, which reports that the average salary of musicians was $59,948. BLS data reports that in-demand musicians at the profession's highest earning percentile can average $60.02 per hour, or $124,842 per year.
Factors Affecting Salary
Experience and geographic location are profound influences on the salaries of professional flautists. Professional orchestras hire only the most capable musicians, so many aspiring flautists often hone their skills with part-time or non-paying positions while working their way up to the orchestral level. Musician pay for smaller symphonies and orchestras in the U.S. tends to be smaller than wages in larger metropolises.
Salary By City
According to Adapistration.com, musicians for the Boston Symphony Orchestra earn the largest base salary of any other American symphony with an annual salary of $108,160. Musicians in other large city symphonies also earn in the $100,000 range, including those in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Symphonies in smaller, more rural cities offer a base pay that is nearly one-third of these figures. Louisville, Honolulu, Nashville and Jacksonville offer musicians a base pay of around $35,000 per year.
Relevant Background and Skills
While there is no steadfast educational requirement for concert musicians, aspiring concert flautists should possess some formal training in the instrument, preferably a bachelor's level degree in performance, musical composition, theory or a related field. In addition to mastery of the instrument, professional concert flautists must also be able to quickly adapt to various musical styles and schemes, as well as learn the numerous and varied works performed by national symphonies.