Singers bring music to life, leaving a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, accomplish more, and become more.
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Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Singers do?
A Singer would typically need to:
- Perform music in front of live audiences in concerts, festivals, theatres, and other places; take part in recording sessions
- Regularly practise numerous instruments or vocals to develop technique; attend rehearsals and arrange concerts.
- Take care of their instrument and/or voice; set up/tune their instrument and other equipment, and arrange for transportation if necessary.
- Prepare for and attend auditions for orchestras, choirs, bands, and other forms of music ensembles.
- Work with a manager or agency to handle administrative details, acquire work, and negotiate contracts.
- Maintaining a website or social media presence, contacting agents and record labels, and participating in photoshoots and interviews all help to advance their careers.
- Compose new songs and music; market their act and profession by recording and generating demos of their songs; and use social media to promote their act and career.
- Tour with a band or on their own, sometimes to far-flung performing venues, to promote their music.
- Handle the administration of company tasks such as finances, negotiating fees, and organizing the offline and internet dissemination of their recordings.
- Seek new venues to perform in; organize gigs and tours on their own or through management or an agent.
- Provide educational services in schools, businesses, and the community at large; teach voice lessons to students interested in learning the art of singing.
- Be a creative person who enjoys collaborating with diverse types of individuals and is constantly open to discovering new musical forms.
- Investigate roles; cooperate with producers to fine-tune tracks or albums; work with creative directors to improve their sound and style
- Maintain a strong physical presence to help cement a good performance and secure future success.
Standard Work Environment
Where Singer’s work is determined by the sort of music they specialize in and their level of success. Classical genres, such as opera, are often performed in concert halls or auditoriums. Singers of popular music may begin their careers in clubs, parks, or taverns, progressing to more extensive settings as they gain fame.
Background vocalists assist lead singers wherever they are needed, whether in a recording studio or on stage during live performances. Singers that specialize in broadcast media typically work in recording studios. Choral ensembles may perform indoors or outdoors, or they may operate in recording studios.
Some Singers work at theme parks, on cruise ships, or as entertainers at weddings and private parties. Recitalists and nightclub performers travel regularly and may tour nationally or internationally.
The nature of the event, the venue, the audience, your music style, your budget, your group, and your personal preference will all influence what you wear on different occasions. In all circumstances, your attire should be clean, professional, suitable, and indicative of your music.
While you can opt to dress casually for an audio recording, you must follow the director’s or costume designer’s plans for an opera performance. You can wear your regular clothes and add some accessories for the occasion, or you might have a personalized costume for performances. Coordination with other band members is a good idea if you are in one. You should dress professionally when meeting fans or attending press conferences.
You will not have a regular work schedule from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rehearsals are typically held during business hours during the day, with performances taking place in the evenings/nights and on weekends, though this might vary. Studio recordings might take place late into the evening, although private practice can take place at any time of day or night.
Many singers can only find part-time or irregular work, and they may experience long periods of unemployment in between jobs.
Professional vocalists in all genres are generally self-employed, with the exception of those who are occasionally employed as full or part-time members of a specific orchestra. As a well-known Singer, you could be a member of a band, a supporting group, or a solo artist. Generally, you will need to work part-time in another position until you are successful. You could even teach adults or children in their homes or at a music school, work as a music teacher in a conventional school, or direct a local choir. Part-time work may be available during recording sessions and outdoor performances.
Although certain jobs and auditions are posted in the music and entertainment press, word of mouth and networking are the most typical ways to discover about vacancies. Look for job openings in the theatre and the entertainment and performing arts industries, as well as on the websites of specific orchestras and opera companies. You might also seek employment through an agency or manager. A popular option is to create a demo CD, DVD, or MP3 of your music to send to record labels.
Singers are generally employed by:
- The Performing Arts Industry
- The Spectator Sports Industry
- Corps of Army Music
- Holiday Camps
- Cruise Ships
- Theater Companies
- Large Choral Societies
- Religious Organizations
- Opera Companies
- Public & Private Schools
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional organizations and associations, such as the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), are essential for anyone seeking professional growth or interacting with other professionals in their industry or occupation. Membership in one or more of these organizations adds value to your resume while strengthening your credentials and qualifications as a Singer.
- It takes time, skill, practice, and dedication to develop a reputation as a Singer; you will be expected to learn in your own time
- The need to diversify and branch out into other styles of music to enhance your employability or enhance your income as a performer
- The stress of always looking for work, which leads many to accept permanent full-time jobs in other occupations while working part-time as a Singer
- Spending time away from home, sometimes for long periods while on domestic/international tours with touring companies or with your band
- Very few professional choirs, which means opportunities can be limited
Suggested Work Experience
In the music industry, competition is fierce. Full-time positions in orchestras are quite competitive. You will likely need to create a musical career that includes performing in a variety of locations and ensembles, as well as teaching and arranging music.
Whatever form of music you prefer, you will need to gain practical experience. Acquaint yourself with various musical styles. Consider both popular and classical styles because both have job chances. Take advantage of any opportunity to get experience; it will boost your confidence, expand your professional network, and broaden your repertoire.
Participate in orchestras, choirs, music societies, bands, and solo musicians in your area. Attend auditions, participate in talent competitions, perform at festivals, and play engagements for amateur orchestras. Keep track of when different organizations audition by following them online or calling them in person, if possible. Some orchestras and opera companies hold auditions on a regular basis, while others only do so when a position becomes available.
Opportunities are often discovered through word of mouth, and personal referrals can sometimes lead to auditions. Introduce yourself to as many musicians as possible, use any professional contacts you create, and stay active on social media to promote yourself and your work.
Most singers begin singing and studying an instrument at a young age. Before applying to a conservatoire (music college) or university, singers, particularly those specializing in classical music and opera, complete graded music exams, including theory. Applicants must submit recordings or audition in person, and in certain cases both.
Conservatoires offer performance-led certificates or bachelor’s degrees, with an emphasis on practical skills learned through workshops and dedicated practice. University courses may be more focused on the intellectual part of music, so do your homework to ensure the course suits your career aspirations.
The programs typically last three to four years. They offer ways for developing instrumental and vocal techniques, as well as musical expression, in addition to music history and styles. Vocal programs that offer diction courses assist students in performing opera in foreign languages.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
Certification proves expertise in a skill or set of skills, generally by work experience, training, passing a test, or a combination of the three. Voluntary vocal music certification from an objective, competent, and reputable organization will help you establish professional credibility and stand out in this competitive business.
Projected Career Map
Career advancement is driven by performance, experience, and the acquisition of professional certifications. Because of the high competition, establishing a singing career can be challenging; you will need talent, tenacity, and perseverance to succeed. Fame, additional job, and money soon follow. Solo singers frequently begin their careers as solo performers, with a healthy mix of freelancing solo work and coaching.
Singers with extensive orchestral experience can advance to Principal Player or Section Leader positions. You may be required to perform additional tasks such as organizing an orchestra section, editing music, and conversing with conductors. Where professional barriers appear insurmountable, transferring to another orchestra may be the only option to advance.
Singers with extensive expertise in the popular music industry may also advance their careers on the business side by taking on responsibilities such as Producer or Manager. Consider working for a record label.
You can also advance your career as a Composer or Conductor, form your ensemble, or go into allied fields such as music teaching, management, or community art. Some singers go on to head musical groups or write complicated music like symphonies.
Many Singers go through periods of unemployment, and full-time roles are likely to be highly competitive. Singers with extraordinary musical talent and perseverance should be given priority.
Beneficial Professional Development
There are no higher education requirements for people interested in performing popular music. However, some Singers opt to further their education by getting a master’s degree in fine arts or music. Singers’ dedication to improving their abilities and expertise throughout their active careers through work-based learning or self-directed learning is called continuing professional development.
Various organizations and professional entities linked to your musical genre offer additional training and support. They offer a variety of professional development possibilities, such as training courses, qualifications, seminars, and access to counsel, awards, and bursaries. Members of nationally recognized organizations have access to career and business guidance on fees and contracts and networking and professional development opportunities.
Grants and funding may be available to assist you in further developing your talents. It’s also a good idea to keep up with industry news by reading the specialized press for your chosen genre.
A song is more than just words and melody. A soulful Singer aspires to give the intellect wings, the imagination flight, and everything life.
Advice from the Wise
All advancement occurs outside of one’s comfort zone.