One year of timeout between school and studies. One year of orientation with many experiences and adventures. A voluntary social year with the National Youth Orchestra of Germany enables young people in the transition to professional training to do just that and much more.
Every year, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany offers two volunteers the opportunity to get a taste of the organization of a youth orchestra, to gain experience in national and international concert and tour management, and to surpass themselves. The volunteers are an integral part of the orchestra's team; they are in direct contact with the young musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany both in the day-to-day office work in Bonn and during the three annual work phases.
You can be intensively involved in the preparation of the three rehearsal and concert phases. In addition, you can prepare and follow up on the annual auditions of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. Depending on your area of interest, you can also get involved in public relations.
You will assist the tour management in organizing the rehearsal and concert phases, e.g. in booking travel and hotels and in the close exchange of information with the young musicians. You will also take care of the distribution of information and sheet music material and look after instruments.
On tour, you will be part of the supervising team, guiding all organizational processes.
Social skills such as the ability to work in a team, leadership skills and communication skills are trained on a daily basis in this field of work. Media skills such as the use of databases and programs for text and image editing are also developed. Volunteers have the very special opportunity to become acquainted with the organizational structure of orchestra management within a larger institution and at the same time to gain a high level of personal experience through the project work.
You should have the confidence to co-lead a group of young people aged 14 to 19 on tour. For this, as well as between the work phases for the office activities, a high level of communication skills, as well as precise work are required. Team spirit, a sense of responsibility for the young musicians and independence are important requirements for our volunteers. You should be interested in classical music and have experience in working with young people.
We are looking forward to your application!
All important details about the registration period (January 15 – March 15) can be found at the website of the supporting organization Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Arbeit Bildung Kultur NRW e.V. (LAG)
If you have any questions or other concerns, please contact Ann-Kathrin Kösters from the BJO team directly:
Contact: +(49) 228 2091-195, email@example.com
Volunteering as a newcomer at the BJO
I have just successfully completed my apprenticeship as an event manager.
I came to the apprenticeship through the FSJ at the BJO.
Before my FSJ, I didn't play in any orchestra, I often went to classical concerts, but otherwise I didn't have much to do with the music scene and could barely tell the difference between Beethoven's Fifth and Mozart's Little Night Music.
The attraction for me was "being on the road" and working towards something with a clear goal, the tour, the concert. And to be part of something special, the BUNDESjugendorchester.
I can only advise anyone who, like me, does not come from the classical music scene to complete an voluntary social year with the BJO. It is an entertaining year with a wide range of insights. There is a spectrum of administrative and responsible activities in the office, manual activities in the tour operation, the cultural influences through the orchestra operation. Furthermore, there are influences from the social area, because a youth orchestra is a source of conflicts, youthful love and mischief, but also a lot of empathy and cordiality. For me, the people on the team were also trailblazers. The basics of how to work, where to tackle and how to go about things were taught comprehensively and helpfully. I was able to establish my first contacts with service providers and a basic network in the industry during my yoluntary social year. Further activities have developed from this. The FSJ is a wonderful stepping stone - not only into the cultural industry. You can explore so many branches here.
I like to think back to the lunch breaks, the conversations with colleagues from the German Music Council, the red piano in Sönke's office, the exciting weeks before the work phases, the "not being able to fall asleep" before a tour and the work phases themselves, and the first real impressions of a real working life. Especially the number and length of Sönke's phone calls, which I overheard at my desk, impressed me during the first days. I was still more of a student than an employee ;-).
There were so many experiences, the rehearsal phase at Easter in Baden-Baden with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, concerts in impressive concert halls, the fantastic music, the experiences with truck drivers and stagehands of concert halls...
Everything is as colorful and diverse as the FSJ itself.
When I think back to my FSJ at the BJO today, I realize how much this time has shaped me and I am grateful for all the experiences and the people who made them possible.
Leaving home right after graduating from high school, moving to a foreign city and then touring several times a year at home and abroad - and all that with 100 young people and a great team. My friends were always amazed at what I told them. Also, in conversation with other volunteers, it became clear to me again and again how much responsibility and involvement I had in and with the work at the Bundesjugendorchester. That really cannot be taken for granted. It wasn't always easy either, but I grew with each task and learned an immense amount as a result.
In my subsequent studies, also in the cultural field, I often knew how to apply the theory in practice. That gave me a huge advantage!
So go for it: Personally, I can only warmly recommend an FSJ at the BJO.
Thinking back to my voluntary service with the BJO, I am full of gratitude for how much trust was placed in me and how much responsibility I was given. Fresh out of school and without any professional experience, I took on tasks in orchestra management within a very short time, from editing the program booklets to organizing the auditions and looking after the orchestra members on tour.
It was an incredibly exciting time, and I learned not only how to organize projects with over one hundred orchestra members, but also how motivating it is to be part of a team that is passionate about its work. I also learned that it is very easy to sleep after a cold shower at night in winter - my BJO baptism - or how to get young people to remove elaborate arrangements of potted plants from hotel elevators without a trace.
During this time, I met people whose commitment still inspires me, and made friendships that last to this day. Last but not least, the voluntary year, which eventually turned into several years of freelance work, had a decisive influence on my choice of studies and career. The great thing is that I still meet former BJO members again and again in my current work at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Every time, I have fond memories of the time we spent together.