- See the article, “Do I Have What It Takes?”
- Study languages, particularly Italian, German and French. Other
languages, such as Spanish and Russian, can also be an asset.
- Read all you can about composers, singers and styles. Get a feel
for what a “heavy” role is, and why you should wait to do them. How
does French song style differ from German? What sort of voice fits
Baroque chamber music best? Who was Maria Callas?
- Attend as many concerts as you can, watching and listening –
absorbing as much as possible. You thought “Vedrai, carino” was too
simple to program on a recital, but it worked for that soprano, and
the audience loved it. Was it her acting? Don’t forget that you can
learn from instrumentalists, too.
- See some music theater.
- Take acting lessons. Even better, get on stage as much as
possible, in musicals, operas, straight shows and concerts.
- Read the stories of the most familiar operas. (Do you know which
ones those are?) Then read the stories of the unfamiliar.
- Stay in shape physically.
- Practice daily. Do allow yourself a break, once in a while,
- Keep taking voice lessons, even if you have to scrimp to do it.
Don’t hop from one teacher to another, but you should be convinced
that your teacher is doing you some good.
- Learn entire operatic roles, not just the big arias. Concentrate
on the ones you think are too simple or not very showy. Those will
be your bread-and-butter for a few years.
- Learn all you can ababout competitions and d auditions. Read
magazines, search websites, attend some as an audience member and
talk to people who have done them.
- Do every audition you can get into. The experience helps, even
if they don’t accept you.
- Research apprenticeship programs. Try to get into a small one.
It may not pay, but it goes on your resume and gets you contacts.
- When you have a singing engagement (paid or unpaid), be
professional – prompt, polite and prepared. Never talk badly of a
fellow singer, a conductor or an accompanist.
- Make your own opportunities: Set up a performance for up a performance for a nursing
home. Sing at church. Rent the sanctuary and do a recital. Get
together with some friends for a chamber music concert. Send out
business cards to organists and church music directors (who can get
you Easter services, weddings and funerals to sing).
- Spend a little on some good “head shots”, the black and white 8
x 10 glossy publicity photos you will need to have on hand.
- And take care of your voice!