Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CHOOSING A CAREER / JUL. 16, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Become a Singer

Singing is the act of uttering words or sounds in a tuneful succession, with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singers read, interpret and sing lyrics during recording sessions and live performances. They focus on conveying emotions and various social messages in their songs. If you are creative and have a superior musical talent, it is high time you found out what it takes to start a singing career.

The Work

The duties of singers usually vary with the nature of their performances. While solo singers do most of the work by themselves, group singers often divide tasks among them. Nonetheless, singers commonly have the following duties;

  • Collaborating with songwriters to write song lyrics
  • Recording songs in studios and collaborating with music producers to fine-tune songs
  • Studying song lyrics, memorising songs and rehearsing
  • Performing to live audiences in various settings, including clubs, festivals, churches and weddings
  • Promoting their brands by doing photo shoots and media interviews and maintaining social media presence.

Examples of popular musical genres include;

  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Classical music
  • Country
  • Opera
  • Rhythm and Blues (R&B).

Work Environment

Singers have irregular work schedules. When they are not performing for various audiences, they spend their time in music studios writing or recording songs.

Established singers travel frequently and may tour all over the world.

Salary

Like most performing professionals, singers are paid per show. The Musicians’ Union recommends singers should earn from £92.25 to £132 or more for concert performances. However, established singers have a higher earning potential, because they can earn money through promotional activities, such as advertising. With famous singers like Adele charging a staggering £2.5 million for a 25 minute gig, the possibilities and opportunities to make millions are endless!

Entering the Profession

Most aspiring singers rely on their natural singing abilities to enter this profession. As such, you would spend a lot of time auditioning for talent shows and performing for free to get noticed.

However, as the entertainment industry continues to grow and get more competitive, singers are finding the need to obtain advanced knowledge and expand their skillsets by pursuing professional courses.

If you choose to follow this path, your best options could be;

  • Private singing lessons from experienced vocal coaches
  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts
  • Bachelor’s degree in music theory, music history or music composition

In the UK, some of the colleges offering music degrees include;

For more information on becoming a singer, visit Get Into Music and BBC Music Introducing.

Important Skills, Abilities and Qualities

To be a good singer you should have;

  • Superior musical ability and talent
  • Self-confidence and determination
  • A love for entertaining audience
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to work well with agents, label executives and recording studio personnel
  • Superior creative abilities
  • Good business skills to promote yourself effectively

Career Progression

In the singing profession, practice makes perfect. Success is often defined by the ability to pull huge crowds and build a large fan base, create entertaining songs and secure lucrative recording contracts.

Therefore, to advance your career, you should focus on improving your musical ability. A great singing voice and a strong business sense will take you places.

You can learn to use some home and studio recording equipment and take advanced part-time courses from institutions, such as;

Completing a master’s degree in music can put you in a better position to move into related careers, such as music teaching in universities.

Singers are advised to join the Musicians’ Union to access its business and legal advice.

Employment Prospects

Although most singers are self-employed professionals who rely on doing day-to-day shows, you can secure full-time contracts with;

  • Cruise ships
  • Hotels
  • Theatre productions
  • Holiday centres

After establishing yourself, you may choose to move into music production or music management.

Useful Links

Success Tip

To secure regular shows or lucrative singing contracts, it is important to register with an experienced contacting agent. Although these agents charge a commission for their services, they often have advanced information on upcoming gigs, which they could help you secure.

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