Realities of a singing career

Are you  or your son or daughter interested in a singing career?

Well, welcome to the club, being a singer is the number one dream career, so,  first of all,  know that there is more competition  for work in singing than for any other profession. Even people who can't sing a note fantasize about being a singing star. Almost everyone who trains to be an accountant makes a living at being an accountant.  Only a small percentage of those who train to be singers actually ever work in the field.

Still on board?  Interested in  knowing what you can do to put yourself or your child in the most competitive position?

Solid training in singing technique, musicianship, performance skills along with daily practice and study will put you ahead of the pack, but there are no guarantees. Only the best, most ambitious and lucky have careers. Getting into a top training program or prestigious university pre-professional program can open doors.

Do I or my son or daughter have what it takes?

Unlike what you see on the reality shows or what you see in your dreams successful candidates for performing careers generally have very specific  skills and attributes. I will now describe the qualities that people who work in the three areas of professional performance  generally have. The more you or your child deviate from what the industry is buying the lower your chances of being successful. My descriptions are not indented to discourage but rather ENCOURAGE you or your child to become an individual that can be successful. Part of the journey in our business, is to take ordinary people and turn them into extraordinary artists. Even if you end up not being a professional  performer you will end up, more poised, in shape, confident, and  possessing  a strong work ethic.

The three areas of study at  college level and the careers  that may follow:


Singers who study music at conservatories and colleges/ universities are preparing to be classical/ opera singers

Qualities of successful classical singers:

1) A beautiful and hopefully  (eventually) sizable voice
You will need to have  a very good head start in singing technique to show the qualities of your voice. With opera singers the voice comes first.

2) Excellent health and a strong body
If you are often sick, you will not be able to be well for auditions and performances.  A weak body is not capable of producing a voice that can be heard un-amplified. Opera singer are athletes. Health issues must be overcome before entering the profession. 

3)Exceptional language skills
Classical singers are expected to sing perfectly in English, Italian, French, German and Latin. If  you are poor at languages, you will be less marketable.

4) Strong Musicianship Skills
You must read music well and  have good piano skills. You should start out with the ability to sing in precisely tune.

5) You should have excellent acting skills, poise, the ability to move well on stage, confidence and huge amounts of charisma.
These things can be developed. But you must have or develop them.

6) High intelligence and a strong work ethic.
If you or your child has difficulties with academic school work or  putting  in lots of study time,don't consider this career.
Classical singers spend most of their time learning, studying, and memorizing very complex music.


Singers who study in pre-professional  theater and musical theater programs are preparing to work in theatrical productions such as Broadway shows.

1) Excellent dancing skills.
It is virtually impossible for  a new musical theater performer to break into the business in today's market without being a strong dancer.
If you love to sing but not dance, I encourage you to look at a career above in the music category. If your child trains to be a musical theater performer and can not dance well, you are almost guaranteed to have a child with long term unemployment problems in adulthood. The most serious mistake any parent can make is to spend thousands on an education for their child in music theater when they have a good voice but can not pass professional dance auditions. The training programs  that are not top tier will accept your child take your money and not tell you  about this reality. Run don't walk to your nearest excellent ballet school.NOW.

2) Strong acting skills
Acting is more primary in musical theater than the singing.

3) A decent voice and good musical skills
Training is needed to be able to demonstrate you ability to sing well and sing well consistently as well as learn music accurately. You must have a technique that allows you to sing well even if you are sick.

4) The kind of physical appearance  and charisma that would get a performer noticed for their appearance alone.
People who cast roles in musical theater look at headshots (pictures) and call those who look like the role in to sing. At open calls they often look at the auditionees and select the ones who"look right" to sing.  Theater requires all types, you don't have to be leading lady, or leading man beautiful, but you have to look outstanding. Teens  and kids who look younger than they are have a huge advantage.Producers love to hire smart 16 year olds who look twelve, and adults that can play teens. Character types sometimes  have more difficulites at first, than  say
ingenue or leading types, but they should not be discouraged as they often have to longest careers and the best prospects for a lifetime of work in the theater. 

When casting roles appearance comes first

5) Huge amounts of energy, and excellent health
Musical theater performers do many performances every week. Low energy people do not make it. if you are not a high energy person you must become one.

If you or you child does not have a presence that lights up a room, then  what do you think the chance of being chosen amongst hundreds or thousands of actors competing for each role are?.


Singers who study  commercial music are preparing for careers where they are performers/ recording artists who  do other than "classical" music and are not primarily acting in shows

1)  A striking or beautiful and photogenic appearance as well as charisma
Since the advent of video in the eighties, the success recording artists is  heavily dependent on their looks.  There are notable exceptions, thankfully.

2) A lot of start up money
It really helps, these days to have someone who will invest a lot of money in a new career. The record companies do not do this anymore.
Ask yourself this If you had $100,000 would you invest it in your child's singing career, or in another business venture?If you as the parent of this child,would not do it, THEN NOBODY ELSE WILL MAKE THAT DECISION.  Music is a business, no one will invest in the music career of someone without the right look, sound and career momentum.Unless someone does invest in it no career will happen. If you are sitting there not sure if it is worth a few hundred dollars to give your kid some lessons, you have your answer about you child's possible success in the music industry in front of you now.

An original sound and/or the ability to write your own music
If you think your child will have a  performing career by imitating his or her favorite musical artist seek professional help,unless of course he or she wants to become a celebrity impersonator.

Signs that your child may have the goods to become a recording artist are:

1) He or she plays an instrument well.
2) He or she is writing this/her own songs
3) He or she is playing existing songs in a new way and not mimicking a popular artist.

4)  The ability to dance.
If he or she does not play an instrument, and depending on the style of music , this becomes more important.

An excellent business sense and the ability to work well with and/or lead others.

The most important  quality ?
Being a nice person. Believe it or not most people in the industry are very nice and easy going or they pretend to be.

Reality is not as pretty a picture as the fantasy world of acceptance and fame is it?

The world of performance attracts so many people in who want unconditional love, but it gives extremely conditional rewards.

Anyone who wants to be a professional performer is presenting his or herself to the world as a product to be purchased or not. You better be the best product possible!

What I have written just scratches the surface and is not specific to any one talent. Why not schedule a  consultation  for specific advice about a specific prospective performer?