“STANDARD” PATH FOR SINGERS TO BECOME A “TRAINED” PROFESSIONAL VOCALIST HAS PROBLEMS

  1. Start singing young, beginning to take private voice lessons
  2. Sing in school and/or church choirs
  3. Participate in high school theater and community theater
  4. Go to college, university, or music conservatory to obtain a BM or BA in Music/Vocal Performance.
  5. Attend YAPs and other training programs
  6. Participate in touring singing groups
  7. Get a secondary degree such as Artist Diploma programs or Masters degree in Vocal Performance

 

As a singer, there are several ways to make money employing yourself entirely through your talent as a singer. For Classical music these have been, in recent history:

  1. Opera houses
  2. Chamber groups
  3. Orchestra gigs
  4. Add others here…

But there many are other genres of music that people sing and listen to, and classical is not one of the popular ones among them, struggling to maintain audiences today. This is troublesome for the future of singers looking for this kind of employment, who might have believed that attending a conservatory or music school is natural path to find sufficient work to be able to survive on the income of a singer alone.

There is no “special path” to employment after following the “standard path” of acquiring a degree that guarantees that just because you get a degree in vocal performance that you will automatically get a job and a regular paycheck singing. Skokstudio prepares singers for today’s real world of self-employment as a vocalist with specific training targeted to give them these skills to produce high quality studio recordings and to inexpensively distribute their own work to the marketplace.

The Classical/Operatic genre is far less embraced today by modern audiences than other music styles, and the Opera houses that support it are in deep trouble financially. The audiences are aging out and new interest is not growing. Mismanagement and elitist exclusivity may be some of the issue, but the masses no longer pack the seats. Instead, most teenage children today cannot remotely even tell you what the word means, outside of the popular context of the term “soap opera”.

  1. The cost of university education is huge and not only that, it takes a long time WHILE you have to pay for and learn other courses that won’t be helping you to have a singing career. And although having a “core” repetition of high school classes does add to a generally well-rounded education about many other important things in life, and a broad education is beneficial in general, but this is not the most effective or efficient route to be a singer.
  2. Conservatories and Universities are not teaching what you need to know to become successfully well-employed and function as a professional “working” singer. The prospect of work as singer after graduation is changing in today’s world, and it is becoming less predictably classical in nature.
  3. Thus, students are not prepared to be successful in today’s landscape of “formal” vocalist opportunities, many of which in the classical world may never have truly existed. For the 40% who do remain from freshman year to graduate, only half will of these ever actually work in the field, and far few of them are employed as singers, but much more likely to become instructors or an arts administrator. It appears to becoming more and more a profession that is taught by only a chosen few in the academic arena, who are then tasked to produce an ever decreasingly smaller proportion of “working” singers who actually sing for a living rather than teach voice or become an administrator of an academic organization. The field of Vocal performance as an industry does not groom as many ACTUAL singers as readily as it does supply itself with more instructors, professors, and arts administrators.
  4. Additionally, to further restrict the number of degreed singers, universities and conservatories typically do not readily market for nor accept student applicants as freshman for a degree in vocal performance beyond the age of 30 years old. And for those rarest of cases where they do accept at ages near or above that, the prospects for a newly graduated student of vocal performance over age 30 has severely limited opportunities with mainstream opera houses, which the single most sought path of employment for degreed classical singers. Skokstudio welcomes all adult students, but especially encourages singers who believe that they are “too old” to come take a vocal evaluation with Heidi Skok and discover that their true vocal development and singing career has yet to begin!

Problems seeking a career in vocal performance Identified, summarized:

  1. Conservatories, Universities cost too much
  2. Students pay for and spend time taking classes they don’t need, taking more time to graduate (You don’t need four years). Students are also not receiving some of the things they do need such as a great vocal training that builds a voice that functions for your specific needs. So many people graduate without knowing their voice. Student are not prepared.
  3. Singers do not have the practical skills of getting and keeping a job singing, nor of knowing how to get into a recording studio, nor how to distribute their own music commercially.
  4. Age discrimination in academia and severely limited opportunities for older singers in the classical music/opera profession

 

  Conservatories, Universities Skokstudio
Cost HIGH
($60K to $200K)
LOW
(a ridiculously tiny fraction of the cost)
Time 4 to 6 years 2 to 3 years (Half the time)
Convenience Class schedule set by institution at fixed days and times Lesson time is set by YOU to meet the demands of your own schedule
Classes Repetition of Highschool classes,

plus Unnecessary Courses

Specifically Targeted to only what you need: Solid vocal technique and repertoire
Skills Poor to sub-average technical vocal development from Instructors who have little actual performance experience Engaging, Top-Tier Mentorship from a veteran performing instructor provides vocal development experience
Professional Development NO YES
Age Limit 18 to 30 9 to 99

 

Only one in 20 students who enter a college or university conservatory as freshman for voice will persevere to become a singer professionally, four to six more years later:

  • Only 8 will graduate (40% of freshman) need ref link
    • Only 4 will work in the field of voice after graduation (50% of graduates) need ref link
      • Three of them will be instructors, professors, and administrators need ref link
        (The number and variety of “salaried”, non-singing full-time jobs that exist in the field is triple that of singers)
      • ONLY one will sing
        • And the length of the average singer’s career is brief, less than ten years (and is usually over by age 30)

While historically over the last one hundred years, the number of students who have formally trained and at least attempted to pursue degrees in our country alone is not in the tens of thousands, but in the hundreds of thousands. Yet, only MERE HUNDREDS of people have made lifetime careers that lasted more than only a decade in this model that has existed in the past. And for the countless thousands who have tried, failed, and vanished – it is clear that not everyone that has been through this model finds professional success, nor a very long career. Without the proper training and solid vocal development having occurred, a degree alone is literally a one in a thousand shot that asks you to blindly follow the model to pay out $20,000 to $200,000 and to expect a career to automatically simply magically happen afterwards. Unless a student has developed a solid foundation of good vocal technique and knows what to do to promote themselves as a singer, they will not become a singer. They will do what everyone else with a vocal degree does after a year or two: begin teaching, either privately or return to school for more education with the hope of becoming a professor or administrating at the conservatory itself. Certainly not the reason someone would invest that kind of money.