Vocal Performance Major
Singers such as coloratura soprano Renee Fleming (above), have made a career out of their talent, love and passion for music. Vocal performance can be a difficult choice to follow, as it can be years before a singer may hit his/her break; however, those with the raw determination and patience to see their talent through to the end have been able to flourish in the world of fine and performing arts.
Where do I start?
The most common misconception concerning a career in performing arts is that it happens almost overnight, most likely on American Idol or The Voice. In reality, it takes years of practice and patience to gain access to major career interests. Most importantly, education is key. Because fine and performing arts is such a competitive industry it is best to have as much experience, credibility and skill on your side as you can. Therefore, it's essential to attend a college or university that will give you adequate training and experience in your trade, whether it's opera, music theatre or contemporary. It's also key to note that a person's voice doesn't fully develop until their mid or late twenties, making it a wise choice to go for a Master's degree so that as your voice matures it will still receive training and will be able to compete with more mature voices. Choose a college or university that best suits your personal goals for your career and that will give your performance experience and a foot in the door of your career. After you've completed, or during, your education, try to find internships at companies you are interested in working for. Many singers do small gigs at weddings and events and work with orchestras for a few years after college while they are pursuing their career.
What does a career in music look like?
It can look like many things. It could be working in a recording studio, singing on stage for a performing arts company, teaching voice lessons, or leading worship in your church. In any music career, it is likely that you would have to read and learn music quickly, perform in front of an audience, work with a wide range of people, and rehearse for long hours. Hot spots for careers in vocal performance tend to be in major cities, such as New York City or Los Angeles. However, living in these locations isn't necessarily essential, as there are performance opportunities in most major cities. The average salaries of singers depend on their skill and fame. Statistics show that the average singer makes above minimum wage, around 20.00 dollars per hour; however, many performers work another job to pay the bills. Of course, there are the few that have been able to make far above the average salaries of most singers, such as Renee Fleming, Kristin Chenowith, Idina Menzel...you can fill in the rest. Here's a helpful video to talk to you a little more about a musical career.
Below, links are provided to websites that can aid you in pursuing a career in vocal performance.