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Responsibilities in Jobs for Singers

Updated on March 3, 2013

© 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.


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    • beingwell profile image


      5 years ago from Bangkok

      Interesting! Singers should love what they do. The money comes so easily when they're in love with the job. I suppose it goes with any other profession. Wouldn't you think so?

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Apart from singing the singers have a lot of work to do promoting themselves. And the salary at the lowest end is just too low.

      Voted and interesting.

    • sharingknowledge profile image

      SHAR NOR 

      5 years ago from Miami, FL

      How i wish i was a singer. Learning those things which are related to what one is involved in is something so great. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      5 years ago from Thailand

      It is not a shock that a singers life is generally not 9-5. I don't think I could do the unsociable hours and travel, but then I also don't have the voice to be a singer!! lol

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and interesting.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub! I learnt a lot from this detailed hub of yours. It is good to note that there are various opportunities besides singing. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My husband's business partner is an opera singer. At times he is very busy singing in Europe, South America, etc., and at other times he focuses on their wine brokering business. Up and interesting votes.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      It's actually "42.14 per hour" MarleneB. Thanks for catching that. I've corrected the error.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Congratulations to your bro for sticking it out this long.

    • vespawoolf profile image


      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, the salary really varies for singers. Good to know there are other opportunities besides just solo singing. The book on the Trapp family singers story looks interesting--will look into it. Thanks!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      Great research. So accurate. I was a worship leader for about four years before moving to the country. At the back of my mind, I was always hoping I would be "discovered". It never happened.

      I know the salary is low. Is it really $42.14 per year? I believe it, because I didn't get paid even a penny, so that would be a high average for me.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      5 years ago from Central Texas

      Having been present for every step of my brother's long and successful career (close to 50 years) I can say "amen" to this Hub and then some. The music road was long and hard back in the day and I can't even imagine what it would take to make it today. There was a time itinerant musicians could depend on "the couch circuit" (willing friends houses with a couch to sleep on) and "the green bean circuit" which consisted of fraternal and civic organizations that would occasionally hire a singer/songwriter for a 30 minute gig during their luncheons. But...times they have changed -- hopefully for the better? Best/Sis

    • kidscrafts profile image


      5 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great hub! And what is true for singers, is true for other artists as well!

    • Kasman profile image


      5 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Man alocsin, it's almost like you read my old biography as I've had experience in this field. We singers have a saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket".

      You're absolutely right about periods of unemployment between gigs at times. This is why I have a side business I run as well as a main job. I love singing and my old band and I are talking about releasing an album at some point. Working on writing some more music and getting published. Everything's a process.

      Well written, interesting, and voting up!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Insightful hub as to the career of being a singer. There are literally thousands, if not millions of talented singers around the world, and only a handful make it really big. It seems to be a difficult choice for a career, but if you love it, then that is all that mattes.

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper


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