When it comes to job opportunities, professional singers are often spoilt for choice. From show singers to back-up vocalists, there a countless directions that a singing career can take you. Despite that, the singing industry is highly competitive. While a successful singing career often requires a mix of talent, time, patience and luck, there are some deliberate steps that you can take to help make your dream a reality. Here are the top things you need to do to become a professional singer.
Enrol in singing lessons
The first and most important step to becoming a professional singer is to train your voice properly. It doesn’t matter how much natural talent you have – if you want to become a professional singer, you need to take singing lessons.
When you stand in front of a band or agent to audition, they will hear something that you and the average audience member don’t. They will hear if you sing like a pro or if you sing like a talented amateur. And when it comes to your career, this difference counts.
Not only that but singing lessons will teach you to sing properly and in turn, protect your voice. Additionally, singing lessons will improve your vocal range, your tone, your volume and power, and make singing easier than ever.
Sing, sing, sing!
Just like athletes train every day to stay in shape, professional singers need to do so too! Singing regularly will exercise your voice and the more you sing, the stronger your voice will be and the longer it will last when you power it out on stage or in the studio.
So, sing as much as you possibly can! Sing in the shower, in the car, at karaoke and jam nights. Slowly begin practising in front of more and more people in order to both hone your skills and gain confidence performing in front of an audience, no matter how small.
We all know the old saying, that it’s not about what you know, but who you know. That’s why networking is so important for aspiring professional singers.
Sure, you can write dozens of applications for every job advertisement you see, however, by making good contacts in the industry, your applications are much more likely to be noticed. In fact, many professional singing jobs don’t get advertised at all. That’s why you need to make contacts – once you get on the radar of key players in the industry, they’ll call you first, before they put an ad out.
Not sure where to start? There is most likely already a musician network in your local area. Heading out to jam nights and meeting other local musicians and singers is an easy way to make contacts. Once you’ve made some contacts, ask them who to talk to about getting work and ask them to refer you. After all, an agent is much more likely to read your application if you’ve been referred by someone they know and trust.
Look out for professional singing opportunities
Once you have improved your singing skills and made some contacts, it’s time to start building up your singing resume. Seek out as many professional singing opportunities as you can and go to every audition possible.
Your career may not be as glamourous as you were hoping for in the beginning. However, it is always worth taking the low paying and less interesting gigs to start with, just to get some professional experience under your belt.
Remember that not every audition will be successful, however, every experience is something you can learn from to become a better singer. Plus, auditions are a great place to continue networking and further your connections to others in the industry.
So be proactive and apply for everything. You never know when it’s your turn to get lucky.
Learn to embrace rejection and criticism
As with all performing arts careers, professional singers need to learn to embrace rejection and criticism. It’s hard to please everyone, so before you step on stage, be prepared that your audience may not like your singing.
As mentioned, singing is a competitive industry. So, if someone turns you down, don’t take it personally, but take it as a learning experience.
Ask fellow singers for feedback and constructive criticism to help you improve. Or, if you don’t succeed in an audition, ask why. If you didn’t succeed for a reason that you couldn’t have done anything about, you’ll come out of the experience feeling better. However, if you didn’t succeed for something you were doing wrong, you’ll have the opportunity to fix it for next time. Learning to embrace rejection and criticism will help you on your path to becoming a professional singer.
Obtain professional representation
Once your singing work becomes a bit more serious, you may want to hire a personal manager or agent to help find work, negotiate contracts and find connections. Obtaining professional representation can help ease the workload of finding jobs, so you have more time to focus on what matters most – training your voice. Although you probably won’t need an agent at first, if you want to become a highly successful singer you will need one eventually.
Consider enrolling in a formal training program
If you’re serious about becoming a professional singer, it may be a good idea to complete a singing degree. A bachelor’s degree program can help singers develop their voices in a variety of performance atmosphere and emphasise various aspects of the craft, including theory, performance and history. The knowledge a degree imparts can be of great use to aspiring singers.
To gain experience in all aspects of singing, both practical and theoretical, sign up for the Bachelor of Screen and Stage (Song Performance). During the two year course, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of screen and stage theories and performance styles across historical periods and cultures, to inform approaches to contemporary creative practice.
- Critically evaluate and reflect on performance to develop artistry.
- Generate contextually appropriate creative outputs, demonstrating a confluence of high-level academic, technical and practical skills.
- Collaborate and develop relationships across multiple creative disciplines to facilitate professional-level performance and production outcomes.
- Develop neoteric storytelling content through investigation, innovation, and interdisciplinary practice.
- Apply communication, public relations, and promotional skills in the marketing of productions.
- Understand and apply professional career strategies and markets to enhance employability.
- Conduct basic research, identifying and utilising relevant, reliable, credible, high-quality sources and information.
- Apply physical, musical, vocal, choreographic, technical and emotional skills across preparation/research, rehearsal, and performance components of the full production process.
Worried about the cost? FEE-HELP is available to all APAC degrees. Enrol here.