What's it like to work with the LSO?

Each year we offer placements to students who take time out of their degree course to gain industry experience as part of the Orchestra's admin team. They play an important role helping the Orchestra do what it does, whether that's organising workshops, fundraising for education projects, booking players or assisting with online broadcasts.

Barbara, Discovery Student Placement

barbara pic

What team are you part of in the LSO?

LSO On Track (a partnership between the LSO and ten East London Music Services), but I often work with the rest of Discovery team as well.

Describe your role in three words.

Education, inclusion, making things possible

What are three things you might do on any given day?

Sit on the ground with a shaker in my hand and compose a piece together with a group of children, move an enormous amount of xylophones and hand percussion jingling on my way, and send a bunch of emails booking LSO musicians for Discovery workshops.

What's a cool project you’ve been involved in?

All of them were cool. I think my favourite were Creative Days for primary school teachers where we learnt how to teach music in a creative and fun way, and the LSO On Track Next Generation Creative Days. These were creative orchestral workshops for young musicians form East London. They learned new music by ear and composed a piece which then they had an opportunity to perform at the Barbican alongside the LSO.

Was there anything that surprised you?

How friendly and normal LSO musicians are. 

What are the most important things you learnt working at the LSO?

Teamwork, attention to detail, and constant reflection on my work. In the LSO I learnt how important it is to always do your best and strive for improvement.

What did you find most inspiring?

Watching work of LSO animateurs during Discovery workshops and meeting participants. Many of them expressed gratitude and said how important our work is for them. I’ve been to hospitals with LSO musicians and I’ve seen children smiling, listening mesmerised, and showing signs of relief during our visit. I’ve observed young musicians at creative workshops developing their skills and confidence, progressing quickly from session to session. And I’ve been to day care centres, where groups of participants waited most impatiently for our music workshops. It is amazing to do something that has a real impact on someone’s life.

What a piece of music you’ve discovered?

Kodály’s Dances of Galánta. I heard it for the first time at the LSO concert and then during the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition, where I worked backstage supporting the competitors.

What’s advice you received you won’t forget?

One of the LSO musicians told me it is most important that we don’t keep music locked in a concert hall, but share it with others as widely and generously as we can.

What advice would you give to someone considering a placement year?
Do it!


Tim, Discovery Digital Student Placement

What team are you part of in the LSO?tim scrase

I am part of the Discovery Digital team. We are a small team of audio-visual engineers and technicians, primarily based within Discovery; the education wing of the LSO. We support Discovery, as well as other departments such as LSO Live, LSO St Luke’s, Marketing and Development. We also run workshops for young people to learn about computer music and audio recording.

Describe your role in three words.

Technical, musical, educational

What are three things you might do on any given day?

• Record or broadcast a concert
• Edit a trailer for an LSO project
• Assist a workshop leader teaching a class

What's a cool project you’ve been involved in?

The LSO Play recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. This involved recording the Orchestra from six camera angles at once at a live concert. This required considerable planning and practice to execute live, as the concert only occurred once – if a cue was missed then there wasn't a chance to correct it.

I have also been involved in the online broadcast of LSO concerts from the Barbican and lunchtime concerts from LSO St Luke's. I was the Broadcast Audio Engineer for the concerts, meaning that my faders were the last thing the audio passed through before broadcast.

I was particularly proud to have programmed a MIDI gunshot sampler, for use by LSO percussionists in live performances of Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen broadcast around the globe.

What’s something that surprised you at the LSO?

I have been happily surprised by the LSO's commitment to education. It is one of the best providers of music education and support in London, for everyone from toddlers to young music professionals.

I have also been surprised by the LSO's creative use of social media and digital technology to increase the reach of the Orchestra from the concert hall to a global audience.

What music have you’ve discovered?

Clara Schumman’s Piano Trio. I was introduced to this editing a recording of a performed by members of the LSO at St Luke's. It has become one of my favourite pieces.

What advice would you give to someone considering a placement year?

Be prepared to work hard, but be prepared to be rewarded in the things you work on and the things you learn.


Rebecca, Development Student Placement

What team are you part of in the LSO?rebecca

I'm part of the Development department who raise money for the Orchestra in lots of different ways.

Describe your role in three words.

Communicative, supportive, diverse

What are three things you might do on any given day?

• Write copy for a programme for a forthcoming corporate recital
• Edit a grant application to a charitable trust for one of the Orchestra's Discovery projects
• Attend a pre-concert drinks reception for our sponsors

What’s a cool project you’ve been involved in?

The biggest project I've been involved in this year was definitely the BMW Classics event in Trafalgar Square. I took minutes for committee meetings during the planning process and it was so interesting to have an insight into all the roles and decisions that went into creating such a huge event. Being there on the day to help the team with the guest area and seeing the event finally take place was a wonderful end to my time at the LSO.

What’s something that surprised you at the LSO?

I've loved discovering how all the different departments interlink. The LSO does such a variety of work and has so many branches to it that seeing how they all work in sync has been a real eye-opener.

What’s a piece of music have you discovered?

The first LSO concert I went to was Smetana's Má Vlast and that was when I realised how great it is that the Orchestra offer free programmes to every concert. Má Vlast is programmatic music and having a detailed programme to read alongside the performance gave much more depth to the piece and made the experience very enjoyable.

What advice would you give to someone considering a placement year?

Definitely do it, 100%. It's the best possible way to learn about the workings of an orchestra, let alone one as successful as the LSO, and you'll be learning from the absolute best in the industry. Everyone is so friendly and invested in your experience there, and best of all you'll get to hear lots of brilliant music!


We look forward to new recruits joining us in the autumn, and applications for placements in the academic year 2020/21 will open in spring 2020.

All vacancies in the Orchestra and Administration are listed on our jobs page.