Responsibilities in Jobs for Singers
© 2013 by Aurelio Locsin.
The nine-to-five workweek is only available to singers who record their efforts in studios. Their live performances typically happen under irregular hours in the evenings or on the weekends. Travel is common, such as when performing in nightclubs and concerts. Large cities such as New York and Los Angeles offer the most opportunities for recording and live entertainment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Singers perform vocal music either through recordings with CDs and Internet files, or live in front of audiences. They may work solo, as part of small vocal groups or with musical bands, specializing in one or more styles such as rock, jazz or opera. To perfect their skills and to practice for upcoming performances, they spend much of their time rehearsing. Unless they have managers and agents, they may need to spend time looking for locations where they can sing. They must also promote themselves through websites, music videos, ads and stories in periodicals.
For many singers, jobs are infrequent and followed by long periods of unemployment. Although the ultimate dream is to perform solo regularly, other work options are available. They can become background singers, harmonizing to support a lead singer who takes center stage in concerts or in recordings. Some write music and songs for themselves or others to perform, and can become composers. Those with educational training may give private lessons to adults and children, or, if they have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license, instruct in public schools from kindergarten through high school.
Singers interested in popular music do not need a formal education. However, those interested in classical music typically need a bachelor’s degree in music theory or performance. Training for any style is also available in conservatories and music camps, or through lessons with experienced performers. In most cases, aspiring singers must typically audition in person or submit recordings to apply for training. Advancement in the profession means wider recognition and higher pay for each performance. Many rely on agents and managers to handle the non-performance parts of their careers, such as contract negotiations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics sees jobs for singers increasing by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is less than the 13 percent projected for all entertainment occupations and under the 14 percent predicted for all jobs in all industries. Competition will be strong, especially for full-time positions, and those with the best talent will find the greatest opportunities. As of May 2011, singers earned a mean $31.74 per hour, with lows under $8.63 and highs beyond $66.01, according to the BLS. The agency did not calculate annual wages due to the scarcity of full-time positions. Most singers worked for performing arts companies and religious organizations. Their highest pay was with promoters of performing arts, at a mean $42.14 per hour.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.
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