Punk musician finds a home — and has a blast — working to provide classical music education to Seattle-area kids.

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Bryan Lindeman

What do you do? I’m an administrator for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, which provides classical music education programs to children in the greater Seattle area. I manage our donor and student database, IT systems, online registration systems, and lead from behind in all aspects of our administration and day-to-day workflow.

How did you get started in that field? I was a 20-year-old kid waiting tables, playing in punk and rock bands (my primary hobby), and looking for a career related to music when a friend got me a part-time job selling tickets for a large performing arts center. I was promoted to box office manager and got my first taste of the performing arts industry and database management. I’ve been honing my skills ever since, and never looked back.

What’s a typical day like? The bulk of my work is done at a computer: wrangling data and spreadsheets, responding to and routing emails, managing various projects and systems. Frequent meetings with my colleagues help to strategize and plan our work, which for me changes all year long based upon which programs are active. I love being able to put my headphones on and deeply focus on a project, and produce results that support my colleagues and our mission.

What’s the best part of the job? The end product of our work is incredibly fulfilling; knowing that even the most mundane work I perform (especially data entry) contributes to children’s musical education is a great feeling and means that I’m never bored. Plus, the alumni I’ve met have introduced me to some really excellent classical music!

What surprises people about what you do? Probably that I have a blast at work and love my job. Despite the stresses of doing a lot with a little, I work with an amazing group of people who are all as determined to have fun as they are dedicated to providing a world-class music education to the kids we are lucky enough to serve. That, and the apparent incongruity of a punk musician working for a classical organization.

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