What is the competition like in order to find a job plaing the clarinet in a symphony Orchestra? Also,how can I find an A clarinet?
I think the choice of which A clarinet to buy is the least of your worries.
The question I would like to answer is that of training. You need no degree from anywhere to play the clarinet professionally, one only need to be able to play and win the audition for the job. As you have said the busines is extremely competitive. The orchestra business is fading out even more quickly, some folding or failing each week. The New York Times had an interesting editorial concerning this aspect of classical music by Edward Kozinan a few weeks ago.
The reasons for this are manifold; they are not just the many many clarinetists. We have developed to the point of competing with ourselves by creating perfect recordings, with electroncally enhanced solo passages,
so much so, that the sound of a commercial recording is far superior to that of the performance in person.
In addition there are many of us aho are creating samples of our playing for synthesizers. The sounds are then juxtaposed in various ways and that creates further competition.
This competition is unbeatable and in order to beat it and get a job, you have to play very well, even better than that. There are many universities where that cannot happen. A teacher cannot give you that special something.
Instead, what frequently happens as you have said is the further march up the degree ladder, a Masters, than the DMA or similar. Does one improve with the degree? But, wait a moment. When working for an advanced degree in clarinet you are into a different and in a way, much more dangerous ballgame. Teachers who may have influence at another university can be helpful in getting a University Job, but I feel that here we can have the most horrible kind of situation. That is right. From singling yourself out as a superior player, to studying with someone who may have influence but really does not know what to do in an orchestra. Universities abound in poor players with big mouths. Playing in an orchestra is simply being better than anyone else. Simple by comparison to the horrors of being placed within a University and not knowing anything. Achieving a terminal degree in clarinet, you will most likely be in search of great letters of recommendation, and these are gotten in much different ways than just playing beautifully. The world of university teacher is indeed a labyrinth, or it can be. I have done this and attest to the fact that you are in a different world within the University.
That job that was open a while ago, the Tuscon Symphony. That would be a place to start. I don’t mean to sound in any way depressing, merely realistic. Let us say for example, that you work yourself up by moving up to better and better orchestral jobs. Then, a University may ask you to teach for them. This is the best possible choice, however the most difficult to attain.
Nadia Boulanger told many of her students what to do in the manner of a question.
“Would you just as soon die if you could not play your instrument? ” If the answer was yes, she would say ,”then you may, you must go on”.
Good luck with your A clarinet, and you career, wherever it leads you.
Look in the search box on this site for Ridenour A Clarinet, your best bet, with no question.