9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic

9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost Romantic

9 Unusual Love Songs That Are Almost RomanticAre you in the mood to listen to typical love songs? If so, you’re in the wrong place! In this article, you’ll get a look at 9 unusual love songs that raise more questions than answers…

 

We’ve all heard conventional love songs before; When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge, Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars, and hundreds of thousands more. But what’s so interesting about someone professing their undying love for someone else? Where’s the interesting twist?

Without giving too much away, this article features a list of unusual love songs, or love songs that defy your expectations and deal with unconventional situations. These selections range from the 1960s to the 2010s. Ready to see what’s so unusual about these? Let’s take a look at 9 unusual love songs!

*This list is in no particular order.


1) Computer Love by Zapp and Roger (1985)

Overview:
The singer seeks a romantic partner through his computer.

Why it’s unusual:
Given the time period, this was quite the unconventional love song. The internet didn’t become a household commodity until the early 90s when the first commercial internet service providers (e.g. AOL) came about. The band, also known as Zapp, was certainly ahead of its time, credited for the inspiration behind the early 90s G-funk sound of hop hop. Finding love through the internet must have seemed like a strange, distant concept when this song was released.

Example lyrics:

You know I’ve been searching for someone
Who can share that special love with me
And your eyes have that glow
Could it be your face I see on my computer screen
Need a special girl, ooh yeah
To share in my computer world, my computer world
I no longer need a strategy
Thanks to modern technology


2) Cupid’s Chokehold by Gym Class Heroes (2005)

Overview:
The lead singer goes through trials and tribulations finding the right girlfriend.

Why it’s unusual:
The ease at which the singer is able to gush about one girlfriend and move on to the next is astounding. In the music video, Cupid attempts to match the singer with a few different girlfriends. What’s most unusual about this concept is the chorus, in which Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy sings, “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I got. Not much of a girlfriend, I never seem to get a lot.” Even though the singer’s verses sound sweet and romantic toward his new love interests, one can’t help but feel cheated by his kind words.

Example lyrics:

It’s been some time since we’ve last spoke
This is gonna sound like a bad joke
But Momma, I fell in love again
It’s safe to say I have a new girlfriend
And I know it sounds so old
But Cupid got me in a chokehold
And I’m afraid I might give in
Towel’s on the mat, my white flag is wavin’


3) What’s New Pussycat by Tom Jones (1965)

Overview:
A man sings relentlessly about the facial features of a woman.

Why it’s unusual:
A catchy melody can’t mask the lyrics of this unusual love song. While many love songs attempt to make the love interest sound appealing in terms of personality or temperament, this one makes no attempt whatsoever. The singer goes on and on about the nose, eyes, and lips of a woman he finds beautiful. By the off-chance a woman DOES finds these lyrics appealing, we’ll be sure to take this off of the “unusual” list.

Example lyrics:

Pussycat, Pussycat
I’ve got flowers
And lots of hours
To spend with you
So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose!
Pussycat, Pussycat
I love you
Yes, I do!
You and your pussycat nose!


4) She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5  (2002)

Overview:
A man sings about his obsession with making a sad girl happy.

Why it’s unusual:
The singer drives miles and miles to wait outside the house of an insecure, vulnerable 18-year-old woman. Regardless of how the woman feels, the singer says he “wouldn’t mind” standing on her street corner in the pouring rain, waiting for her to approach him. Even though the sentiment of sweetness is there, the imagery of a street stalker sours this unusual love song’s mood a bit.

Example lyrics:

I know where you hide
Alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all


5) Ben by Michael Jackson (1972)

Overview:
A boy sings about his new friendship and how it makes him feel.

Why it’s unusual:
It’s not a traditional love song, but it exhibits many qualities of one; loneliness, insecurity, and understanding. What makes this love song unusual is the fact that it’s about a boy professing his admiration for… his pet rat. It was originally written for a movie about a rat named Ben, but it eventually sold itself as a single, even ranking #20 on the Billboard Top 100 during its release. While it’s still a nice song about a child’s love for a pet, it’s not as deep as a traditional love song would usually permit.

Example lyrics:

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I’ll never be alone
And you my friend will see
You’ve got a friend in me


6) Mirrors by Justin Timblerlake (2013)

Overview:
The singer professes his love for someone because they remind him of himself.

Why it’s unusual:
While couples usually thrive because they share common interests, the singer here thrives off of dating a carbon copy of himself. It’s nice to admire the qualities of a person who you think reflects your own traits, but calling them a mirror voids them of any individuality. Play this song for someone you love when you’re feeling especially narcissistic.

Example lyrics:

I can’t ever change without you
You reflect me, I love that about you
And if I could, I
Would look at us all the time


7) Sweet Tangerine by The Hush Sound (2006)

Overview:
A desperate ex-boyfriend pleads for his girlfriend to come back to him.

Why it’s unusual:
Upon first listen, you may be too distracted by the upbeat nature of the song to really listen to the lyrics. The lyrics start with the singer trapped outside, freezing in the rain, hoping to be let inside by his ex-girlfriend. He made a mistake in their past relationship and tries to justify it by saying, “Without the sour, the sweet wouldn’t taste as…” In just a couple verses later, the song quickly turns into the tale of a desperate stalker breaking into his ex’s house and waiting under her bed until she wakes up. Can you see how it’s one of the more unusual love songs?

Example lyrics:

Crept through the curtains, as quick as the cold wind
Slowly exploring the room where you sleep
The stare of your portrait, the passing of your scent
Left me no choice but to stay

I will dissolve into the dark beneath your bed
My hands will wait for a taste of your skin


 8) These Foolish Things by Sam Cooke (1962)

Overview:
The singer thinks about his lover every time he experiences certain phenomena.

Why it’s unusual:
It’s a sweet song to sing to your lover… but only after they’ve passed away. In the singer’s everyday life, he sees, hears, and smells things that remind him of his former sweetheart. If you choose to ignore the lyrics about the “ghost”, you can get away with singing this to someone you love!

Example lyrics:

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations
Silk stockings thrown aside dance invitations
Oh how the ghost of you clings
These foolish things
Remind me of you


9) What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction (2011)

Overview:
The singers are infatuated with a girl they deem as insecure and unaware of her beauty.

Why it’s unusual:
No matter how many compliments you give someone on their physical appearance, it won’t change their internalized insecurities. The singers in this song seem to think otherwise, noting that what makes the girl beautiful is the fact that she doesn’t know she’s beautiful. It’s a concept that makes sense if you don’t think about it much.

Example lyrics:

If only you saw what I can see
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe
You don’t know, you don’t know you’re beautiful
That’s what makes you beautiful


BONUS: Every Breath You Take by The Police (1983)

Overview:
A singer vows to look after his love interest in an obsessive way.

Why it’s unusual:
If you listen to this song once, it’ll become immediately apparent that the singer is actually a stalker. No matter what the love interest does in their everyday life, the singer wants to watch them do it. Even Sting, the lead singer of The Police, said that the song was deliberately about a stalker. It’s certainly not the greatest song to sing at a wedding.

Example lyrics:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you


Conclusion

See what we mean about unusual love songs? Trust us, there are PLENTY more of these out there! If you’re interested in songwriting but aren’t sure how to begin, consider scheduling a private lesson with a songwriting teacher. With some practice, maybe you’ll make the next list of unusual love songs!

 

Were any of these unusual love songs surprising? Know any more? Comment below with your thoughts!

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50 Best Audition Songs for Musicals

50 Best Audition Songs for Musical Theater

50 Best Audition Songs for Musicals
Looking for recommendations for musical theater audition songs that are sure to impress? Take a look at this list from voice teacher Liz T...

 

So you have a musical theater audition coming up and you’re panicking about what song to sing? Have no fear, the list is here!

In this article, I’ve compiled some of the best musical theater audition songs to sing, broken down by recommendations for each voice type. Check out the list, and then read on for some extra tips for acing your audition.

Audition Songs for Sopranos:

1. “Better” — Legally Blonde

2. “Think of Me”  The Phantom of the Opera
3. “ I Could Have Danced All Night” — The King and I
4. “It’s a Fine, Fine Line” — Avenue Q
5. “Moonfall” — The Mystery of Edwin Drood
6. “Home” — Beauty and the Beast
7. “Somewhere” — West Side Story
8. “The Light in the Piazza” — The Light in the Piazza
9. “How Lovely to be a Woman” — Bye Bye Birdie
10.“Matchmaker” — Fiddler on the Roof

Audition Songs for Altos:

1. “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” — Grease

2. “Holding Out for a Hero” — Footloose
3. “Always True to You in My Fashion” — Kiss Me Kate
4. “Astonishing” — Little Women
5. “Welcome to the ’60s” — Hairspray
6. “Pulled” — The Addams Family
7. “All for You” — Seussical
8. “I’m Not At All in Love” — The Pajama Game
9. “Mama Who Bore Me” — Spring Awakening
10.“Beautiful” — Carole King’s Beautiful

Audition Songs for Tenors:

1. “Maria” — West Side Story

2. “Magic Foot” –The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
3. “I Believe” — Book of Mormon
4. “Almost Like Being in Love” — Brigadoon
5. “Close Every Door” — Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
6. “Santa Fe” — Newsies
7. “Fortune Favors the Brave” — Aida
8.“Some Enchanted Evening” — South Pacific
9.“Dancing Through Life” — Wicked
10. “When the Sun Goes Down” — In the Heights

Audition Songs for Bass Singers:

1. “I Wanna be a Producer” — The Producers

2. “Try to Remember” — The Fantasticks
3. “The Music of the Night” — The Phantom of the Opera
4. “Comedy Tonight” — A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum
5. “Ol’ Man River” — Showboat
6. “Coffee Shop Nights” — Curtains
7. “Mr. Cellophane” — Chicago
8. “My Defenses Are Down” — Annie Get Your Gun
9. “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life” — Spamalot
10. “Edelweiss” — The Sound of Music

More Audition Songs for Male and Female:

1. “On Broadway” — All that Jazz

2. “Man of La Mancha” — Man of La Mancha
3. “Take Me for What I Am” — Rent
4. “Heaven On Their Minds” — Jesus Christ Superstar
5. “One” — A Chorus Line
6. “Another Hundred People” — Company
7. “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (of Mine)” — Showboat
8. “Before the Parade Passes By” — Hello Dolly
9. “It’s De-lovely” — Anything Goes
10. “Who Will Buy” — Oliver!

Tips for Musical Theater Auditions

Once you’ve picked your perfect musical theater audition song, keep the following tips in mind to make a great impression:

  • As you prepare, remember the typical 16-bar and 32-bar cuts, and make sure your song fits appropriately.
  • When you step into the audition, introduce yourself, smile, and be pleasant! Directors sit through many, many auditions, and you want to catch their attention in a positive way.
  • Consider preparing both uptempos and ballads, no matter what show or part you are auditioning for. You never know what the director is looking for!

There are so many wonderful Broadway songs out there, but the list above includes many fresh, new songs that are appropriate to sing for contemporary musical theater auditions today.

If you would like individual attention as you learn to sing any of these songs (or any other songs!), feel free to schedule a lesson with me today through TakeLessons!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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25 Best Karaoke Songs for Women With a Twist

The 25 Best Karaoke Songs for Women With a Twist

25 Best Karaoke Songs for Women With a TwistWant to be the star of your next karaoke night? We’ve got you covered. In this article, voice teacher Elaina R. shares 25 recommendations for karaoke songs for women — and a twist that makes them work so well…

 

Have you ever noticed that guys like Bruno Mars, Sam Smith, and Adam Levine sing so high that barely any other guys can eke out the same notes? What about the fact that female artists like Sia, Ariana Grande, and Katy Perry leave women in the same painful situation?

You aren’t imagining things; the popular music industry has been overrun by high voices ever since pop was invented. It’s nearly impossible for normal people (without digital enhancement) to sing lots of popular songs. In fact, many of the original singers of these songs can’t reliably belt out those high notes night after night – it just isn’t healthy.

This is why if you’re a female vocalist, instead of attempting to screech out “Chandelier” at your next karaoke session, you might want to consider sticking with Justin Bieber instead.

Why Songs by Guys Make Great Female Karaoke Songs

Hear me out… In my experience, the average woman can belt up to about a G4 or an A4 before things start getting uncomfortable (if I just lost you, check out this article on voice types). I’m a professional singer and I can only comfortably belt up to a C#5 or D5.

In contrast, here are a few of the belted high notes in some popular songs with female singers:

Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” (D5)
Katy Perry’s “Firework” (D#5)
Sia’s “Chandelier” (F5)
Ariana Grande’s “Problem” (G#5)

These notes are a fifth to an octave above what most women are capable of belting. They’re so high, in fact, that a trained singer like me can’t belt most of them! It’s physically impossible for most women to sing these songs without straining their vocal cords or flipping up into head voice.

Now let’s take a look at some of the high belted notes in popular songs by male artists.

OMI’s “Cheerleader” (E4)
Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” (F4)
Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” (G#4)
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” (D5)

Aside from the Bruno Mars song, all of those have belted high notes that most women can comfortably handle. And although you might expect the songs to go too low for women, they usually don’t. The lowest note in the four songs listed above is a momentary C#3 in “Shut Up and Dance”. Some women can sing down there, but if you can’t, it’s easy enough to substitute a higher note that fits in the chord (one safe tactic is to simply stay on the previous note).

Have I convinced you? If so, consider some of these hits next time you go to a karaoke bar.

25 Best Female Karaoke Songs (Originally By Guys)

1. “The Lazy Song” – Bruno Mars
2. “Forget You” – Cee Lo Green
3. “Photograph” – Ed Sheeran
4. “Trap Queen” – Fetty Wap
5. “Kygo” – Firestone ft. Conrad Sewell
6. “Hold Back the River” – James Bay
7. “Let It Go” – James Bay
8. “Want To Want Me” – Jason Derulo
9. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
10. “Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber
11. “Years & Years” – King
12. “Are You With Me” – Lost Frequencies
13. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
14. “Sugar” – Maroon 5
15. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
16. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
17. “Avicii” – The Nights
18. “Cheerleader” – OMI
19. “Hey Ya” – OutKast
20. “Happy” – Pharell Williams
21. “I’m Not The Only One” – Sam Smith
22. “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
23. “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
24. “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
25. “Earned It” – The Weeknd

 

Are any of these songs your favorites? Comment below with your thoughts and a song recommendation of your own!

Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

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9 Must-Read Tips for Singing High Notes 500x300

9 Must-Read Tips for Singing High Notes

how to sing high notes tips

Looking for the best tips on how to sing high notes? Check out this helpful article by voice teacher Tristan P

 

Do you struggle with singing high notes? You’re not alone! It’s something that most singers need to practice, especially if you’re just starting out.

If you’re ready to take your singing beyond karaoke night, you need to truly understand your instrument. Ever sung a note and felt strained? This can happen if you’re not using the right technique — and doing this regularly can lead to permanent damage!

If learning how to sing high notes (or low notes, for that matter) is one of your goals, it’s best to work with a professional vocal coach. This ensures a safe environment to explore and expand your range.

That being said, the following tips can help you prepare for what you’ll work on with your instructor. These 10 tips are what I teach my own students, as a no-frills approach to belting out high notes.

Preparing to Sing High Notes

1. Warm up properly

We all know the importance of warming up your voice. But you may not have heard of this — I’m a big fan of what are known as “semi-occluded straw phonations.” Basically, this means singing into a straw. It’s a tool that is well-known within the voice science and voice rehabilitation community, but more singers should know about it! Here’s how to do this vocal exercise:

2. Warm up with a song

Next, continue your warm-up with a song that’s realistic for your voice (not too high, not too low). Imitate the singer you want to sing like! If there are particular sections of the song that are difficult for you, isolate those sections and work on them by themselves.

Some song ideas:

  • Tenor: “There Are Giants in the Sky” – “Into The Woods” by Stephen Sondheim
  • Baritone: “That’s Life” – Frank Sinatra
  • Soprano: “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
  • Mezzo Soprano/Alto: “Stars and the Moon” – “Songs for a New World” by Jason Robert Brown

3. Eliminate strain objectively!

As you work with your voice coach, he or she will observe you as you run through your warm-ups and exercises, and help you recognize when and where you’re straining. If you’re practicing on your own, however, there are some ways to monitor yourself. One option is to record your voice. Listen back to your high notes: do they sound strained or easy?

If you have a mirror, you can also watch yourself as you sing. Or, better yet, use a video camera! Watch for signs of strain, such as grimacing faces and a tense neck.

If you look or sound like you’re straining, STOP! Take a break. Learning how to sing high takes years of diligent practice. Resist the urge to rush!

How to Belt High Notes

4. Make sure your registration is correct

A big mistake beginners make is singing in the wrong voice. Your larynx can actually produce four distinct voices, and understanding them is important. Here are audio examples of what these voices sound like.

  • Vocal Fry Voice

  • Modal/Speaking Voice (some call this chest)

  • Falsetto/Reinforced Falsetto Voice (some call this head voice)

  • Whistle Voice

The most important thing to remember is: Don’t belt in your modal voice when the song is asking you to sing in your falsetto voice! Likewise, don’t sing in falsetto if the song is asking you to belt. Your teacher can help you recognize these voices as you practice.

5. Use singing vowels

(Note: This section is for singing high notes in modal voice only)

As you progress in your singing lessons, you’ll come to know your vowels! A lot of singing exercises focus on these specifically, and practicing them can make a big impact on your projection and enunciation.

As you practice, you’ll notice that different vowel shapes have different effects on your voice. Modifying these vowels can also create a particular sound color. Here are some examples:

  • Uh/Eh = Heavy, range-limiting sounds. Has a dark, powerful quality (loud)
    Listen to: Adele

  • Ooh = Medium, high-range sounds. Has a restrained, speech-like quality (low-medium volume)
    Listen to: Sia, Justin Bieber

  • Aa = Medium, high-range sound. Has a piercing, brassy quality (loud)
    Listen to: Barbra Streisand

I recommend figuring out which vowel sounds works best for each individual phrase in the song you’re working on. For reference, pop uses more “Ooh” type sounds while musical theater uses more “Uh” and “Aa” type sounds. Also, keep in mind you are not limited to these vowels.

6. Consider your larynx position

This is a more advanced concept that your teacher can explain further in your lessons.

The gist is this: your larynx naturally rises with certain vowels and as you increase in pitch. Trying to hold onto a low larynx while attempting a bright, speech-like belty high note is going to cause issues! Likewise, trying to sing a lower-larynx sound with a high larynx will also cause problems.

For reference, opera is a genre that encourages a lower-placed larynx. Contemporary musical theater is a style that generally encourages a higher larynx. Depending on the song you’re singing, you’ll want to work with your teacher to place your larynx correctly and practice the right technique.

Here are some examples to listen to:

  • Relatively low larynx – Dark, rich sound.
    Character example: Yogi Bear

  • Relatively high larynx – Bright, speech-like sound.
    Character example: Nerd

7. Use twang

Twang refers to the amount of “er” present in your sound. The higher you sing, the more twang is necessary.

Trying to sing a high note without enough twang may result in strain. But be careful: trying to sing a high note with too much twang might sound nasal.

There are also shadings between a sound with little twang and a sound with excessive twang. You might think of a Country Western cowboy for an idea of excessive twang. Listen to this example:

8. Check your intensity 

How much intensity (volume) is required for the note you’re trying to sing? Is it a low-intensity low note in the verse? Is it a big, HIGH-intensity modal belt in the bridge? What about a high-intensity falsetto high note? Match your intensity appropriately!

Before increasing intensity, make sure your registration, vowels, twang, and larynx positions are appropriate.

9. Adjust your head position

On high-intensity high notes with a high larynx, lift your head! A very common belting technique is the head lift. You can see it in the greatest belting divas of our time, including Beyonce and Whitney Houston!

The head lift (among other key functions) assists in raising the larynx, which is necessary for powerful belting. For operatic tenors, however, a more neutral/low head position is ideal as it promotes a more neutral/lower larynx in line with the classical sound ideal.

  • High head position – More belty, shouty sound
  • Low head position – Sweeter, more neutral type of a sound

Before altering your head position, make sure your registration, vowels, twang, larynx position, and intensity are functional!

Now, Sing that Perfect High Note!

Once all of the above variables are in place and functioning perfectly, you will have attained mastery over your high notes. As you progress, I recommend altering every piece of the equation (steps 4-9) in every part of your range for great practice!

And remember: if at any point along your journey you come across an obstacle, re-evaluate all of the above variables. (Hint: Often times, your vowel is the root of your problems!)

Good luck!

TristanPPost Author: Tristan P.
Tristan P. teaches singing, guitar, songwriting and more in Olympia, WA, as well as online. His specialties include RnB, pop, musical theatre, and rock styles. Learn more about Tristan here!

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100+ Online Tools and Resources for Musicians

Are you ready to take the music scene by storm? As a musician, you’re well aware of how difficult it is to make a name for yourself or your band.

Practicing until the wee hours of the night, juggling several odd jobs, and traveling to play multiple gigs are just a few of the sacrifices you make as a musician.

Luckily, there are a ton of online music resources that can help make your life easier, including platforms that help you find gigs and websites that assist in promoting your band.

Since we know you’re busy being a rock star, we’ve rounded up over 100 of the best online music resources that will help take your career to the next level.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game for some time, these music resources are sure to help you.


 

Sick of rehearsing in your studio apartment? Or is your current space too expensive? Here’s a list of online resources that you can use to find the perfect rehearsal space that fits within your budget.

  • Fractured Atlas: Through their SpaceFinder program, Fractured Atlas helps artists find the space they need, while helping venues promote and rent their spaces. It’s a win-win.
  • Musicnomad: Musicnomad does all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is type in your zip code, specify the mile radius, and choose your perfect space.
  • Rehearsal space finder: Rehearsal Space Finder is another easy-to-use service. Just enter your location and what you’re looking for and you will be presented with a list of nearby venues.
  • Craigslist: If you’re looking for a low-cost option, browse Craigslist for a rehearsal space near you. Oftentimes, rates are more negotiable.

Booking gigs on a consistent basis is extremely important for both promotional and monetary reasons. Here’s a list of online tools that will help you book more music gigs.

  • Gigsalad: Gigsalad, a platform in which party planners can find and book talent, is great for local musicians. Signing up is easy; all you have to do is create a profile and wait to get booked.
  • ReverbNation: ReverbNation is dedicated to helping emerging artists build their careers. The platform’s “Gig Finder” tool helps artists connect with different venues, festivals, publishers, and labels.
  • Gigmasters: Similar to Gigsalad, Gigmasters is a platform where people can book various vendors, including DJ’s, singers, and live bands. The website allows you to create a customized profile and choose from a range of memberships.
  • Splitgigs: Splitgigs is a unique social network that allows artists to “split” their gigs with other artists. This website is great for those who are just getting their feet wet. You can also find music gigs uploaded by venues and organizers.

Additional tools:

Need some help promoting your band? Below are some great websites for getting your name out there and generating fans. Don’t forget social media too!

  • CDbaby: CDbaby has a number of different partnerships with brands that can help promote your band. For example, FanBridge, PledgeMusic, and Merch.ly.
  • Dizzyjam: Dizzyjam is a free online service in which musicians can create and sell branded merchandise. To get started, create your personalized shop, and then develop products for sale.
  • BandPage: BandPage is another easy-to-use platform. Upload your profile, bio, pictures, videos, tracks, and tour dates and BandPage will update that information across the Web for you.
  • BandApp: Perfect for musicians who have a solid fan base, BandApp allows users to share music, tour dates, and news directly with fans—for free!
  • Music Gorilla: Music Gorilla connects artists with industry professionals. Artists can sign up, upload music, and create a profile page. What’s more, the company does live, label showcases and provides artists with film and television placement opportunities.

Additional tools:

Whether you want to share one song or an entire album, there are a variety of websites in which you can share your music with fans around the world.  Check out the ones below!

  • Radio Airplay: With Radio Airplay, musicians’ music plays on stations featuring the popular artists they choose. What’s more, artists have access to reports and data about their fan base.
  • Stageit: With Stagit, artists perform live online shows via their mobile device. Fans can ask questions or request songs. Fans can also monetarily support their favorite artists.
  • On SoundCloud: On SoundCloud is SoundCloud’s newest partner program for musicians. It allows artists to upload music, build a profile, and manage stats.
  • Melody Fusion: Melody Fusion is a website in which artists can share their music for free. Musicians can also get feedback from their peers, take master classes, and find a mentor.

Additional tools:

Keeping track of your finances, tour dates, and more can be exhausting, especially if you’re doing it all yourself. Here’s a list of online tools that will help you better manage everything.

  • Bandbook: Bandbook makes your life easier. Within the platform, you can manage your schedule, track your expenses, and send private messages to anyone with a Bandbook account.
  • Artist Growth: Great for both managers and musicians, Artist Growth helps individuals schedule events, create reports, track finances, and manage tour merch all from one place.
  • TeamSnap: With TeamSnap, you can manage member’s contact information, coordinate upcoming events, track group fees, and share files within the group.
  • BandHelper: BandHelper takes care of all the annoying logistical details—such as expense reports, set lists, and more—so you can concentrate on making music.

Additional tools:

Entering music competitions is a great way to get exposure, connect with industry folks, and earn some much-needed cash. Check out the music competitions below.

  • Unsigned Only: Unsigned Only was produced by the same team that created the International Songwriting Competition. Solo artists, bands, and singers can enter a wide range of categories, including rock, pop, country, and vocal performance.
  • OurStage: Artists can enter original music into any of OurStage’s genre-based channels for a chance to win. Winners are featured on Amazing Radio, which boasts an international listening audience of thousands.
  • Hal Leonard Vocal Competition: The Hal Leonard Vocal Competition is a music competition for voice students comprised entirely of YouTube video entries.
  • International Songwriting Competition: The International Songwriting Competition is an annual song contest for amateur and established songwriters. The contest is judged by an impressive panel of judges, offering great exposure for artists.

Additional tools

Brush up on industry trends and get expert advice from peers by browsing through these awesome online music resources. Don’t forget to bookmark your favorite ones!

  • Passive Promotion: Created by Brian Hazard, a music veteran with 20 years of experience, Passive Promotion gives artists applicable advice about music promotion. He also regularly features reviews about new platforms.
  • Hypebot: Hypebot features a variety of useful articles for artists. For example, the website features dedicated pages on social media use and music technology.
  • Music Industry Inside Out: Music Industry Inside Out is a music industry knowledge hub filled with expert advice from music industry professionals. The website offers different course topics, such as funding your music, book keeping, and applying for festivals.
  • Make it in Music: Make it in Music is a great website for emerging artists. It has a ton of advice about how to make it big, including how to build your fan base and how to approach a record label.
  • New Artist Model: New Artist Model, an online music business school for artists, has an amazing blog, which regularly features strategies and advice for independent musicians.

Additional tools:

Do you need a branded website or flyers for your next show? Here’s a list of online resources that can help you develop and organize different kinds of marketing materials.

  • BandZoogle: Bandzoogle describes itself as a website builder created by musicians for musicians. The website will help you create a customized website where you can sell merch, tickets, videos, and more.
  • CASH Music: This nonprofit organization helps musicians manage their mailing list, sell music, and organize their digital world—free of charge!
  • Haulix: Haulix is a one-stop-shop for musicians. Using the platform, you can create promos, manage contacts, track progress, and more.
  • Bandcamp: This free service does just about everything. Not only can artists share music with fans, but they can also get stats on who’s linking to them, where their music is embedded, and which tracks are most and least popular.

Additional tools:

Are you looking to join or start a band? Or maybe you just want to network with other musicians? Here are some music resources that can help you do just that.

  • Bandlink: Using Bandlink, users can hook up with other local musicians. Just create a profile including the instruments and styles you play and search for bands/musicians in your area.
  • Kompoz: Kompoz is the ultimate collaboration tool for artists. The website allows you to upload your song idea and collaborate with other musicians from around the world.
  • Indaba Music: Indaba is a place where musicians can collaborate with some of the biggest artists and bands in the world to create new music.
  • Bandmix: Bandmix is the largest musicians wanted and musician classifieds website. Users can search through thousands of musicians in their area.

Additional tools:

As a musician, you’re always working on your craft. Here’s a list of educational music resources that will help you sharpen your musical skills so you can perform at your best.

  • Musictheory.net: Musictheory.net is a great online resource if you want to learn more about music theory. It has tons of free exercises and tools.
  • TakeLessons: TakeLessons is an online marketplace boasting hundreds of high-quality music teachers who specialize in everything from flute to guitar. Take music lessons in the comfort of your own home or tour bus with its mobile app.
  • Free-scores.com: If you’re looking for sheet music, look no further than free-scores.com. The website has tons of free sheet music in a wide range of musical styles, such as blues, classic rock, contemporary, and country.
  • Berklee Online: Berklee Online’s video library has a number of educational videos, including in-depth lessons, exclusive clinics, and course overviews that artists are sure to find helpful.

Additional tools:

Looking for some top-notch gear to help sound your best? Here’s a list of online music equipment stores that offer high-quality instruments and gear at great prices.

  • Music Go Round: Music Go Around sells used musical instruments, such as guitars, amps, drums, and violins, at competitive prices. As an added bonus, you can sell or trade-in your old gear.
  • Music123: From lighting and stage effects to orchestra, Music123 offers over 65,000 products. The website boasts in-depth product information and reviews.
  • Musician’s Friend: Musician’s Friend has a great selection of music instruments and equipment. Don’t forget to check out their blog, called The HUB, for artist interviews, product reviews, buying guides, and more.
  • Sweetwater: Sweetwater is dedicated to keeping its customers satisfied, which is why the company offers a wide range of gear at great prices and free shipping to lower 48 states.

Additional tools:

  • SongTrust: SongTrust ensures that musicians and songwriters are able to confidently manage their music publishing. The website simplifies everything from the administration of music publishing assets to digital licensing.
  • SonicAngel: SonicAngel offers several different options for artists. For example, musicians can crowdfund their campaigns on the platform of its partner, angel.me.
  • CoPromote: CoPromote is a network of artists dedicated to helping one another grow their fan base by cross-promoting social posts.
  • Radar Music Videos: Need a music video? Through Radar, artists can reach out to up and coming filmmakers to get their music video developed.

Additional tools:

Get Out There!

Let’s face it; making it in the music industry is hard–but not impossible. Take advantage of these 100+ online music resources and tools to help manage, promote, and distribute your music. Good luck!

Did we miss your favorite online music tool or resource? Tell us about it in the comments below and we will add it to the list!

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Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Vocal Health- (1)

Quiz: Do You Treat Your Voice Right? | Vocal Health

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Vocal Health

When it comes to vocal health, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there. Knowing the truth is essential for taking care of your instrument! Test your knowledge and learn more in this post by teacher Heather L...

 

With all of the recent news in the media about singers, surgery, and tour cancelations, vocal health has got us all talking and thinking…

How can we keep (or make) our voices healthy, especially during cold and flu season? How can we prevent vocal injury and expensive medical procedures and therapy? Are you treating your voice right every day during practice, performances, and even during your daily activities?

As you consider your vocal health, it’s important to be armed with the right knowledge. I’ve put together the quiz below as a refresher. So let’s find out how much you know, and learn some awesome facts along the way!

Tweet: How much do you know about your vocal health? Take this quiz and let’s compare scores! http://bit.ly/1P63Zpa

Recap and Additional Vocal Health Resouces:

1) True or False: Citrus juice is the perfect drink before you sing.
Answer: False!

2) True or False: The way that we talk every day has nothing to do with how well we sing.
Answer: False.

3) True or False: Your vocal cords (or folds, as they’re now known) have no nerve endings and no pain receptors.
Answer: True.

4) True or False: Singers need to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day.
Answer: True.

5) True or False: Clearing your throat is a simple habit that prepares the voice to speak or sing.
Answer: False.

6) True or False: Whispering is just as damaging as yelling.
Answer: True.

7) True or False: Plenty of singers have smoked, even famous performers like Adele, so it’s fine as long as you hydrate well.
Answer: False.

8) True or False: When I’m sick or I have bad allergies, it doesn’t matter what kind of medicine I get from the store, as long as it keeps me from coughing.
Answer: False.

9) True or False: The more overweight a singer is, the better.
Answer: False.

10) True or False: Vocal rest, which is important to heal an overworked voice, should take a week or more.
Answer: False.

11) True or False: Singers who wear scarves around their necks are only trying to look fancy. Scarves don’t help singing.
Answer: False.

12) True or False: Sleep is essential to a healthy voice.
Answer: True.

13) True or False: Singers have performances, auditions, recordings, and rehearsals to attend, and no matter what — the show must go on.
Answer: False.

Final Notes About Vocal Health…

Imagine that you own the most valuable musical instrument in the world, an object so unspeakably prized that it could never be replaced. There has never been another exactly like it, and never will again. Now stop imagining, because you DO possess this invaluable instrument!

Your voice is so unique that no one else could perfectly imitate it. When you make the decision to take great care of your voice, you’re preserving something really amazing. Keep up the great work, and make sure to consult your voice teacher for additional tips. Good luck!

Heather LPost Author: Heather L.
Heather L. teaches singing, piano, and more in St. Augustine, FL, as well as online. She studied opera and piano at Westminster Choir College, and performance art and improvisational acting at East Carolina University in North Carolina. Learn more about Heather here!
Taylor Swift

5 Talented Singers You Can Learn From in 2016

How to become a famous singer - Taylor Swift

Ready to make 2016 your best year yet? Many vocalists stood out last year, and looking at their strategies and success stories can be a great source of inspiration — especially if you want to be famous someday! Read on as voice teacher Molly R. shares her thoughts… 

 

2015 was a stellar year for lots of talented and famous singers. It seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Taylor Swift and Adele, just to name two that stand out. Singers like those two generated a lot of buzz, and who wouldn’t want that?

As we dive into 2016, it’s a great time to reflect on your goals as a singer. Do you want to be a famous singer someday? Do you want to start small, and overcome your stage fright? Do you want to learn how to write a song? Whatever your goals may be, there’s a lot you can learn from the big artists of the past year. Here are some ways you can incorporate their major successes into your own New Year’s singer resolutions!

Artist: Hozier
What You Can Learn: Collaborate

Hozier

If you want to become a well-known singer within the music industry, your work is never done. Once you get yourself out there, you need to keep yourself out there!

To get extra buzz, many artists create more performance opportunities by collaborating with other singers — which can be especially effective if it’s unexpected pairing. You can learn a lot from Irish singer Hozier; check out his electrifying Grammy performance with Annie Lennox here:

On a smaller scale, you could ask another singer to be your duet partner for karaoke, or perhaps get a small group of singers together and put together a cabaret night!

Artist: Adele
What You Can Learn: Know when to rest

Adele

It’s tempting to say “yes” to everything, especially when you are just starting out. It’s great to be passionate about singing, but remember you’re human! You only get one voice, so be careful with it.

Just look at Adele, the hottest artist of the year: she underwent major vocal surgery a few years ago, yet didn’t jump back into performing right away because she wanted to take her time healing. Not only that— she has also become a proud mom and wanted to put family first!

Make it a goal to have balance in your life. Feeling worn out after a run of another musical, even though there’s another one holding auditions for vocalists next week? Ask yourself if you need a break, and really listen to your body.

Artist: Taylor Swift
What You Can Learn: Market yourself

Taylor Swift

You may have heard the advice “you gotta have a gimmick!” That’s originally from the musical “Gypsy”, and it’s often true!

Being a talented singer is one thing, but what makes you interesting to your audience? Singers need to be savvy about marketing themselves. Taylor Swift happens to be brilliant at this. We should all look to her as an expert on a variety of things! She has revamped her image completely (country to pop!), she’s always out and about with her huge fan base, and how about that “squad” of hers?

Ok, so a lot of that’s pretty hard to do if you’re… well… not Taylor. But here’s what you CAN do: get out there in your community! Offer to sing at fundraisers, nursing homes, and so on. Show that you’re a singer with character who cares about a few causes. And yes, why not build up a “squad” of your own? Make this squad filled with trusted accompanists, like voice teachers, dancers, and other singers. Connecting with a group of like-minded artists is essential for your growth!

Artists: Tori Kelly and Shawn Mendes
What You Can Learn: Keep plugging away

Tori Kelly - Shawn Mendes

YouTube is where today’s singer hopes to be noticed. But you’ll want to have a strategy in mind. Are your videos high quality? Are you posting good content? How often? What are you doing to promote your music videos? How about your audience — what are you doing to grow them? Are you cross-promoting across other social media channels, like Twitter and Instagram? These are the important questions to ask.

To get inspired, take a look at the success story of Tori Kelly! She was eliminated from American Idol, but took matters into her own hands and built up a huge YouTube following. Shawn Mendes, another great artist to learn from, got his start on Vine and now has a top 10 hit and a recording contract.

Of course, you’re not restricted to finding an audience online, or with one of those platforms specifically. The key is to keep plugging away— in any medium! Whether it’s YouTube or a local coffee shop, keep giving your best to your audience.

Now… put your learning into practice!

No matter what your resolution is as a singer, remember to bring your best vocally every time. Look at what other successful and famous singers are doing, and find what you can learn from them. Working with a great voice teacher is also key — he or she can help you become a better singer, and may even have insider advice or a network to connect you with.

Happy New Year, and happy singing!

mollyrPost Author: Molly R.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!

Photos by Austen Maddox, Karen BlueEva Rinaldi, Disney | ABC Television GroupJustin Higuchi

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15 Yoga Poses and Breathing Exercises for Singers 500x300

15 Yoga Poses With Powerful Benefits for Singers

15 Yoga Poses and Breathing Exercises for Singers

You know how important breath support is for great singing — but are you regularly incorporating breathing exercises for singing into your warm-ups? Read on as voice teacher Shannen R. shares 15 yoga poses to try out, designed to help with various elements of your singing… 

 

Get ready to free your vocal cords of strain, increase your breath capacity, and get the strength you need for powerful belts and the control for soft tones. Going beyond simple breathing exercises for singing, the following yoga poses free your neck, shoulders, and spinal muscles of tension. Your breath and sound will move freely, and your core muscles will grow stronger so you can manipulate your voice.

15 Yoga Poses and Breathing Exercises to Try

1. Three Part Breath
Benefit: Strengthens your breath support for belting and long notes

People tend to breathe shallow and in one favorite cavity of the body. Learning to use all cavities of the body will give you enough breath for belting and for long, held notes. Start either lying flat on your back or propped up with two yoga blocks, one block at the highest level and the second block at the medium height.

2. Seated Breath
Benefit: Guides you to use your full breath capacity

While the Three-Part Breath teaches you how to breathe into all your front body cavities, now we’re going to explore our back body cavities to use your ultimate breath capacity. Start seated with your legs crossed and your feet flexed.

3. Eagle Arms
Benefit: Another breathing exercise for singing, this enhances your ability to hold belts

The hardest area of the body to breathe into is the upper back. To find breath here, we will practice eagle arms. This will also give you the ability to hold belts and soft, unwavering tones.

4. Kapalabhati Breath
Benefit: Activates your core and clears your sinuses 

In yoga we practice breathing techniques called pranayama. Kapalabhati breath, translated from Sanskrit to “breath of fire,” will activate your core and clear your sinuses to give you beautiful, open notes instead of nasal and strained notes. Repeat this for 5-15 continuous rounds.

5. Ujjayi Breath
Benefit: Supports evenness of breath

To hold long notes and maintain the correct pitch with an unwavering tone, your breath must be even. Ujjayi breath, another pranayama technique in yoga, is the practice of finding evenness of breath. Repeat for 5-15 rounds.

6. Neck and Back Twist
Benefit: Relaxes your muscles to reduce vocal strain

A lot of times when your voice strains to reach a note, your vocal cords are being pulled by tight muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back. To release these muscles, practice this easy restorative twist on a yoga bolster, a few stacked pillows, or stiff folded blankets. You may hold this twist for up to five minutes.

7. Seated Neck Stretches
Benefit: Relaxes the neck muscles to reduce strain.

Another way to stretch out the muscles in your neck is with seated neck stretches. These stretches will target the back and the sides of the neck, and can be practiced multiple times throughout a day.

8. Self Massage: Neck Massage Tool
Benefit: Another relaxation exercise for neck muscles 

One of my favorite neck massage tools is from Daiso, the most adorable Japanese store you’ll ever find. For this exercise you’ll need a towel and the neck massage tool, which can be purchased here or at your local Daiso store.

9. Self Massage: Neck Massage With Tennis Balls
Benefit: Another exercise for relaxing neck muscles

If you don’t want to buy the Daiso neck massager, you can use tennis balls to relax your neck, which will help you avoid strain and increase your vocal range.

10. Self Massage: Back Massage
Benefit: Relaxes the muscles in your spine 

If your spine is tense, EVERYTHING goes wrong. This is because your spine is connected to your brain and is in charge of relaying messages to your body. If there is any tension in the spine, it can cause blocks in the message pathways, and result in excess anxiety and other mental obstacles. Spinal tension can also cause postural problems, which limit your breathing and create muscle tension.

In the video below you’ll learn how to massage your whole spine with two tennis balls. Don’t be alarmed if it feels very tender the first time. Give light pressure and do not practice it for too long. The more you maintain a self-massage practice, the more comfort you will find.

11. Self Massage: Shoulder Massage
Benefit: Relaxes your shoulders, which can affect your neck, throat, and vocal cords

The shoulders can be a tough place to get! Nail those shoulder knots that are pulling on your neck, throat, and vocal cords with this massage.

12. Spinal Twist
Benefit: Relaxes your spine, creates better breath capacity 

Roll up a big fluffy towel and get ready for the cheapest and best spinal reliever of your life! Space in the spine will create more space for your breath to travel, giving you more breath capacity when singing.

13. Tadasana
Benefit: Relaxes your muscles to reduce vocal strain

The key to singing is good posture — I’m sure you’ve heard this a billion times. Tadasana, or mountain pose, teaches you how to stand correctly and builds the muscles needed to avoid hunching the shoulders forward or arching the back so the ribs puff out. Correct posture will help you avoid straining your voice, and encourages evenness of breath to create controlled sound and power for belts.

14. Puppy Dog Pose
Benefit: Lengthens the spine and leads to greater power and control when singing

A variation of the ever-so-famous downward facing dog, this pose will lengthen your spine, creating space in between each vertebrae, and is another great way to open up the shoulders. Space in the spine equals space for breath, which leads to more power and control when singing.

15. Back Release and Shoulder Opener
Benefit: Relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck, and leads to a fuller vocal range

This forward fold and shoulder opener combo will have your spine, shoulders, and neck melting with relief! This pose will relax all of your throat muscles and vocal cords so you can access a full vocal range.

If you have any questions or if any of these stretching and breathing exercises hurt, make sure to check with a qualified teacher. Feel free to contact me through TakeLessons for additional help!

 

Post Author: Shannen R.
Shannen Roberts is a yoga instructor, singer, pianist and keyboardist, singer and songwriter, and founder of self-help site The Strange is Beautiful. She teaches in Valencia, CA, as well as online. Learn more about Shannen here! 

 

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14 Careers for Singers + Career Advice

Infographic: 14 Career Paths for Singers & Pro Advice

14 Careers for Singers + Career Advice

Want to do what you love for a career? As an aspiring singer, you have several paths you can take — including full-time gigs and side jobs to ensure music stays a part of your life. In this career guide, voice teacher Liz T. shares how much a singer can make, and the many tips she used along her own journey to become a professional singer…

 

Many people dream of becoming a professional singer but are unaware of the certain steps and criteria that will help them achieve success. It takes a lot more than natural talent — if you want to become a famous singer, especially, you’ll need the right attitude and a strong business sense to make it in the music industry.

Read on as I answer the common questions my voice students ask when it comes to how to become a professional singer and what to expect.

1) What kind of training does a professional singer need?

Sure, some singers are discovered seemingly out of the blue, based on raw talent and without having much training — but that’s not the route I would advise taking. Think of it the same as any other profession; if you want to be a doctor or a nurse, you must practice in that field before you can get anywhere in your career. Similarly, if you want to be taken seriously as a singer, then you must invest time and money to study your craft properly.

Training from an Early Age
If you started taking voice lessons at a young age, you’re at a huge advantage in your training! Personally, I started taking music and acting lessons at the age of five, and I was also in my first live musical theater performance then. Doing that helped me internalize the proper techniques and hone my talents, as well as get used to being in the spotlight.

So my first piece of advice: commit to those weekly music lessons! No matter what age you start, a private voice coach will teach you valuable techniques that are sometimes difficult to learn on your own. Find a teacher who you trust and enjoy working with, and make sure he or she understands your goals.

Continuing Your Training
If you’re in high school and are thinking seriously about becoming a professional singer, it’s time to start thinking about college music programs. Whether you’re interested in pursuing classical/opera, musical theater, jazz, or contemporary rock/pop, there are many music colleges to look into. Some of the best music schools for singers include Berklee College of Music/Boston Conservatory, Juilliard, The New School, Oberlin, and University of the Arts.

While going to music school requires time and money, it will benefit you greatly. You’re investing in your future, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet other singers, professors, and performers that can help you throughout your career.

You’ll also be able to explore other styles of music and become a more well-rounded singer. I went to the Berklee College of Music for my Bachelor’s in Voice Performance and am now working on my Master of Music in Voice Performance there as well, and it’s something I will never regret!

2) What does it take to have a career in singing?

As I think about my advice for how to become a singer, two things come to mind. First, you need to be prepared to work hard. You’ll always be working at your craft — even famous singers continue to take lessons! In addition to performing regularly, you’ll also want to continue networking with other musicians and attending others’ performances to stay in the game.

Second, you need to have thick skin! Your music will be out in the public eye, whether it’s at a performance, in an audition, on your website, or streaming on Spotify or YouTube. Even great singers face criticism, so you need to learn to handle rejection and not be so hard on yourself. You’ll hear the word “no” at auditions more often than yes; if singing is your passion, it’s your job to pick yourself back up, listen to the feedback you received, and continue working hard.

3) What are the pros and cons to becoming a professional singer?

There are many advantages and disadvantages to having a career in the music industry. It’s not for everyone, but often the benefits make up for the struggles. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years.

Pros:

  • Rewarding career

Being a singer is an extremely rewarding career overall! You have the opportunity to share your talents and love for music in front of many people. Music is healing, and it’s something that we all enjoy in both good and tough times together!

  • Network of friends

Throughout your schooling and performances, you’ll find an incredible network of people! I’ve met some of my best friends this way. And since this business is all about “who you know,” establishing this network is also key to your success.

  • Cool jobs and travel

As a professional singer myself, I’ve been fortunate to travel to almost 10 different countries to perform. I’ve worked as a performer on cruise ships and at theme parks around the world.

I’ve also performed at small intimate jazz clubs, big venues like Carnegie Hall, and even at events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I’ve performed in front of Presidents and Popes, and if it weren’t for singing, I probably wouldn’t have had these experiences.

Cons

  • Instability

Singing careers certainly have ups and downs, and it’s a very tough path to pursue. There aren’t many “safe” jobs for singers that come with steady benefits, income, or hours. Most jobs are seasonal, only lasting for the summer or for that tour, and they may not even be full-time.

Sometimes you may be offered 10 gigs in a row, and sometimes you may go a few months to a few years without getting a single offer. This is standard in the industry. Furthermore, the gigs you’re offered may not always pay much — and if you’re busy with rehearsals, you may not have the time to work a second job. If you want to be a singer, you have to be able to juggle your finances and be comfortable with instability.

  • Physical demand

Performing as a professional singer in a major production may mean anywhere from seven to 10 shows a week. This is physically and mentally exhausting on the brain and body, so you must be healthy and in top-notch shape all the time! Also, while touring may be fun, being away from family and friends can be lonely, and traveling long distances can be tiring.

  • Cost

Let’s face it: pursuing higher education is costly, no matter what you study. As a singer, you’ll also need to factor in your voice lessons and the costs of auditions (applications and possible travel).

If you want to get signed, you may also have to pay upfront. Nowadays, most singers that get noticed from A&R Executives have already spent anywhere from $5,000-$50,000 to create their demo or EP. Recording costs, copyrighting songs, and hiring other musicians and engineers is costly, and many singers have to save up for this or take out loans.

Also, many of the singers you see that have become famous from their YouTube or Facebook account or website did not do this without investing any money. They may have paid an extraordinary amount in hiring people and the space to film their music video, a photographer to take photos, and a manager to run their social media and web marketing.

Pro and Con:

  • Settling down in a major city

This can be seen as a pro or a con! If you want to be a professional singer, you must be where the action is. Some of the big cities for music are New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas, London, and Paris. While some singers are able to avoid these big cities, it’s something to consider if you want to get seen and heard by industry professionals. The only problem? You’ll be competing with thousands of other aspiring singers who move there.

4) How much does a singer make?

We’ve all heard the “struggling artist” jokes — so if you’re seriously considering a career in music, you might be wondering, “How much does a singer make, exactly?”

The average singer’s salary depends on many different factors. First, what types of gigs are you performing at? As a singer who performs standards in restaurants and clubs, or as part of a wedding band playing covers, you can expect to earn anywhere from $40-$300 a night — but you may not be working every night. If you’ve worked your way up the ladder and are an in-demand performer, you could land a steady gig (and paycheck), earning anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 a year.

Joining your local musicians’ union (such as the American Federation of Musicians or the American Guild of Musical Artists) can help you earn better income and benefits while performing. If you or the show you’re performing in is a member of the union, you’ll also receive health benefits. You will, however, need to factor in monthly or quarterly dues to be a member.

Other factors that can affect how much you make as a singer include your overall level of talent and the type of company you’re working with. Luckily, you’ve got a lot of options! While the financial struggles of being a singer may be discouraging, don’t let it bring you down. There are many ways you can get creative with your income as a singer. I encourage you to put your good voice to use and find them!

Scroll down to the end of this guide to check out the average salaries of professional singers.

5) How much does a backup singer make? How about other singing career paths?

If you don’t want to be right in the spotlight, you’ve got options! Backup singers can make a decent salary, but keep in mind you may not land the gig with Beyonce right away. Other career paths include being a session singer, working as a songwriter, hosting karaoke, or even teaching voice lessons to others. Again, check out the infographic at the end of this guide to learn more!

To conclude…

If you’re still reading this article, I applaud you for your patience and determination! To be a professional singer, you must be strong-willed, determined, and in touch with your emotions. I hope this article has given you much to think about on your journey! And if you’d ever like to learn more about my career as a professional singer, or if you want to schedule a voice lesson with me, please send me a message through my TakeLessons profile!


 

How to become a singer - career paths & average salaries infographic

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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Sight Singing Practice and Tips

6 Noteworthy Sight Reading Tips for Singers

6 Noteworthy Sight Reading Tips for SingersAre you a singer looking to improve your music reading skills? You’re in luck! In this article, voice teacher Elaina R. shares everything you need to know about sight singing exercises and tips..

 

One of the most impressive feats for a singer is the ability to pick up a piece of music and read it. How can you get to that point? With patience, dedication, and lots of practice, you can master the art of sight singing!

What Is Sight Singing?

Sight singing is sight reading for singers. When singers sight read, they need to think about three factors at once:

  • The rhythm
  • The pitches
  • The words

Singers are lucky that they only have to sight read one line at a time; pianists, organists, and some other instrumentalists have to read several lines at once! However, only we singers have to read lyrics as a well as notes. This complicates things, especially when those words are in a foreign language (as often happens for classical singers).

How to Sight Sing – Tips & Strategies

Ready to get started? Sight singing can seem daunting, but it just takes practice. Here are a few things you can do to simplify the process.

Before You Start…

Orient Yourself
Check out the key signature. What key are you in? Is it a major or minor key? How many beats are in each measure? Is there a tempo marking?

Scan
Quickly scan the piece to root out surprises. Is it in mixed meter? Are there tempo changes? Any hidden high notes? This is all helpful information.

Get Your Note
Play the opening chords, or at least your first note, on a piano. The more information you and your ears have, the better.

Tap the Beat
Establish the beat for yourself by tapping it on your leg or collarbone. This will help you stay in rhythm when things get crazy. I recommend that you practice singing with a metronome to get your rhythms as accurate as possible.

As You’re Singing…

Think Solfege
If you know what key you’re in, you should know where the movable ‘do’ is (read this article if you’re unsure what I mean). If you know where ‘do’ is, identifying ‘so’ and other key notes becomes easier. Thinking in solfege helps many singers sight read more accurately.

Rhythm, Pitches, Words
If you start to get lost, this is your order of priority. When you practice sight reading, words are not very important; sing “la la la” if you have to. Pitches, while important, are not as important as the rhythm in sight singing. If you sing the wrong pitches and the right rhythm, you’ll know exactly where you are in the music and be able to catch yourself, even if it sounds bad. If you sing the wrong rhythm, on the other hand, you’re in danger of losing your place in the music and having to stop.

Sight Singing Practice and Exercises

All you really need for sight singing practice is a piece of music you’ve never seen before. However, sight singing is a lot easier in shorter spurts. Before you start attempting to sight read full-length songs, try using one of the many resources available for singers who want to sharpen their sight singing skills.

Sight Singing Online Programs
There are online resources that provide clips to sight sing and audio tracks to check your work. If you prefer to practice at the computer rather than at the keyboard, this may be a good option for you. One popular service is SightReadingFactory.com, which costs $35 per year (about $3 per month).

Sight Singing Books with CDs
This is how us music school folks practiced sight singing in college. Although the teacher usually played starting pitches and accompaniment as needed, good sight reading books come with CDs so you can practice sight singing exercises at home. Here is one good example.

Sight Singing Apps
Need sight reading practice? There’s an app for that! These apps combine sight reading exercises with audio starting pitches and tracks to help you. Music Tutor Free seems to be the most popular free option.

Sight Singing Exercises With Others
One of the best ways to improve your sight singing skills is to join a choir. Choristers learn lots of music on a regular basis, and reading all of that music as a group really helps singers get comfortable sight reading.

And of course, working with your voice teacher on sight singing practice within your lessons is a great idea, too. Whatever route you take, learning to sight sing will help you become a better and more versatile singer. Good luck!

Post Author: Elaina R.
Elaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as through online lessons. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and she has a B.M. from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

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