Singers belong to the Artistic Theme Code of the The Strong Interest Inventory® Test. This assessment has been used since the early 1900s to analyze individuals’ distinctiveness’ and interests, and then use this analysis to help them find a fulfilling and well-fit career. After nearly a century of refining, it is now considered a universal interest inventory, which can provide valuable insights to people from all backgrounds. People who score high in the Artistic Theme Code tend to enjoy Art, Drama, Writing, and Music, even the culinary arts, not just as producers, but also as consumers. They frequently surround themselves with artistic activities and people, and thrive in a loosely-structured workplace that allows them to express themselves and their creativity.
Professional Singers memorize and perform musical pieces or songs, sometimes from a set text or score, and sometimes based on customer or client specifications. These performances may be individual “solos” or may be as part of a larger vocal group called an ensemble. In many cases, Singers use instrumental backing, but cappella performances, without instrumental accompaniment, are common as well. Such performances can also take place in live venues, from theaters to coffee shops to Broadway, or on television, radio, and even in feature film productions. In many cases, Singers are encouraged to interpret or even modify the scores with which they are presented, applying their intuition as well as academic knowledge of melody, harmony, rhythm, and other musical features to personalize and individualize their performance and therefore their audience’s experience. When not performing, singers must maintain their quality by practicing either individually or with vocal coaches, and also rehearse their performances or prepare for auditions. Some Singers also combine singing with other roles, including acting and dancing, as well as composing or directing.
Depending on their precise responsibilities, Singers may find it necessary to use a broad range of musical and organizational software and tools, including sound mixers, compact disk players or recorders, headphones, and equalizers. These allow them to make quality recordings that can then be sold on disks or as MP3 downloads. For live performances, singers use slightly different equipment such as performance equipment such as microphones and stands, karaoke systems, various types of audio connections and hardware, and even lighting equipment. Modern technology has also revolutionized the music industry, making effects pedals, vocal processors, and MP3 trainers increasingly common. The most popular music or sound editing software includes Acoustica Mixcraft, Apple GarageBand, Audacity, and Avid Technology Pro. Some Singers may also use synthesizers or sound libraries to add depth or personality to their own compositions. Vocal coaching software is also becoming common (e.g., Singing success; Cantovation Sing).
Knowledge of the fine arts and languages the music is written in (often English for modern or popular music, but German, Italian, Latin, French, and others for classical or operatic music) is essential for Singers, as is the ability to memorize and pronounce large amounts of text. Singers must also be able to take feedback from coaches and peers, and present themselves to large groups both professionally and personally. Creativity and interpersonal skills are also vital for success. Singers must be able to build and maintain close personal and working relationships with many different kinds of people, and be willing and able to work closely with them to resolve problems for mutual benefit. More successful Singers have also demonstrated an ability to collaborate with agents, headhunters, and directors, all of whom may become stepping stones to greater progress in careers. Singers generally hold at least a high school diploma, though a small percentage, particularly those who are interested in the academic aspects of singing, may hold more advanced degrees.
The rate of employment of Singers is expected to grow slowly but surely before 2024—with a projected rate of 4% nationwide. The growth rates are expected to be much faster in the western United States, including Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Texas. New York City alone is expected to add over 2,000 new jobs for Singers before 2024. In the most lucrative areas, for instance, Las Vegas and New York City, a Singer’s salary averages $40 per hour, and oftentimes even more. However, on a national scale, most Singer’s salaries ranges are under $10-15 per hour. Furthermore, Singers are rarely employed full-time, but are instead hired per hour or per performance.
Below are some employment trends for singers:
- Median Singer’s Salary: $24.30/hour
- Employment: 173,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): slower than average (2% to 4%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 56,300
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org