06 Mar What it takes to become a Professional Singer
Many singers remember their very first performance. Trying to calm nerves and deal with stage fright. Maybe you’ve dreamed of being in the music business or auditioning for American Idol. But how does somebody get into this business and what does it take to succeed in this field with so many highs and lows? Wanting to be a singer is a dream for many, but the ones who do “make it,” all have these things in common. They were born with good voices or talent, they regularly practice and work hard, and they take their craft seriously. When your livelihood depends on your singing, which is what separates a professional singer from an amateur singer, you would hopefully do those steps too!
It may seem insurmountable and might feel like it will take a long while to get there – how do you even start?
Be encouraged! All musicians start somewhere – they’ve all had that “first time” on stage. Most singers start singing with no formal vocal training or proper technique. Many amateur singers start singing at school, or church choir, and it isn’t until most singers’ teenage years (or even later for some) that they start to receive some training with a voice teacher. In voice lessons, you’ll learn the basis for vocal technique, how to properly warm up your voice, vocal exercises that will help you grow as a singer, and command of your breathing (which is where all good singing comes from). Lessons not only can teach a person to sing but can also take a good singer into a great singer. This means someone who not only sounds amazing but can sing amazingly consistently – day in and day out. Through lessons, most teachers don’t try to force one style or method, but instead will help develop your own voice, which is healthy and free, and it helps you discover your unique singing style.
One of the best ways to begin your music career is to understand that there are no shortcuts. The singing voice is like any other instrument and requires you to practice, practice, practice your unique musical instrument. This commitment to daily practice will be one of the best things you can do for your singing career. For many professionals, this practice time becomes their respite where they continue to check in and rediscover their instruments every day. The singing voice is the only instrument that is human, and changes a little bit every day, just like you! It is enormously important that a singer thoughtfully practices singing every day not only to grow but also to maintain their vocal health. If becoming a professional musician is a life goal of yours, do the hard work and schedule those practice sessions!
Some things to focus on when your practicing;
Stretching Your Vocal Range – Stretching your vocal range can help you sing in many different genres and make you a more well-rounded singer in general. Just like you shouldn’t neglect your higher notes, make sure you’re developing the low notes as well! You have both a head voice and a chest voice – make sure to develop them both!
- Working on your vocal range will make you more marketable when you audition or apply for singing jobs
- Practice singing in various genres – different genres tend to sit in different areas of your voice
- Whenever you work on your vocal range – always warm-up by starting in the middle of your voice where it is comfortable, then slowly work towards the lowest and the highest areas of your voice
- When working on your range, never push or strain your voice. Use your breath technique to help you sing. If there is any pain or discomfort at all, stop and consult with your voice teacher, choir teacher, or expert vocal coach.
Breathing Techniques – You cannot sing well without good breath control and a proper breathing technique
- The way you breathe when you sing directly influences your vocal tone. Tone refers to the timbre and audible sound of your vocal cords ( as air moves through them as they press together when you’re singing and vibrate (kind of like your lips when you buzz them). Common descriptions for vocal tone are “breathy”, “full”, “and pushed” – try to find the vocal tone that feels the best for you and fits in the song you’re singing.
- Taking a comfortable deep breath before singing a long phrase or having to sing a high note will help relax tension away from your throat and vocal folds – this is how professionals can sing every day and never lose their voice!
Basic Techniques – Just because you’re practicing a simple exercise doesn’t mean that your practice is not effective. Bringing your vocal training back to the basics makes a huge difference to your voice and gives you longevity in the music industry. Just like practice and exercise help an athlete be ready to compete in a healthy way. Practicing basic vocal exercises help singers prepare themselves for a life of concerts, performances, and the recording studio. They’re called “vocal exercises” for a reason!
- Vowel Sounds – Focusing on how you sing your vowels depends on the genre you’re singing, whether you’re practicing pop, rock, or musical theatre songs the way you sing vowels will either complement or detract from the great song you’re trying to sing.
- Good posture – This may seem obvious, but your voice is your body. Having good posture while you sing can take your voice to the next level. Even professional performers work on their posture as they sing, dance, jump, etc. on the stage while they give a great performance.
- Learn to lift your soft palate – lifting your soft palate helps create space in your mouth and throat so you can make the desired vocal sound you’re practicing for
- Focus – It’s not about the exercise itself that helps you grow as a singer, it’s about what your mind is focusing on. Simple exercises with a focused mind will always help you grow faster than going through the motions.
Many famous singers like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, or Justin Bieber may have been born with great talents, but they along with many of the other best singers in the music business, practice on a regular basis to achieve a life as a successful singer. Many singers also focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which is one of the best investments you can give to yourself and your voice!
Want to become a better singer and hone your musical skills? Visit Visible Music College and check out all the educational programs we offer. Here you will learn music theory, take professional singing lessons, and learn all about contemporary music. We can take your singing voice to a professional level and prepare you for a career in the music industry.
Get the vocal training you want and need with our Vocal Performance degree, apply now! https://visible.edu/bachelors-modern-music-vocal/