ask jenny > Passion for singing, but not the hustle

Hi, what a helpful page. Thanks for being willing to share your perspective on different questions. My question is whether it's really possible to land leading roles without pursuing opera as a full time, all out endeavor. I know that it's always possible to sing in various capacities, and even professionally, just as a side thing. But it seems that in the opera world things are so competitive that those getting substantial roles are those who are actively pursuing the YAPs, aggressively auditioning, participating in competitions, etc--even at small/lesser-known companies.

I ask because while there *are* things I can imagine myself doing professionally other than opera/classical voice, and being happy (in fact, I already have a non-musical career that I enjoy)--I *cannot* imagine myself happy without actively developing my instrument to its fullest potential and actually doing something with it. (definitely a vocal late bloomer here, though I have and am taking private lessons) There are certain roles that are dreams of mine and I'm not sure how possible it is to attempt to really pursue the kind of training and exposure that could even potentially lead to the fulfillment of those dreams while holding onto my career at the same time.

So I suppose my question is whether it's possible to gradually ramp up to a full time career, or whether it's something you have to dive into head first. (For instance, would singing in the local opera chorus actually lead anywhere? Should I go for competitions for the exposure?)

I'm not going to go and quit my job, so I guess I'm looking for ways to make a transition. Thoughts?

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

This is a tough question, and one I've been asked before by people in a similar predicament. I certainly would not tell you to quit your job, especially because the world of opera has gotten even more competitive and difficult to find success in over the past 10 years. However, I also know that having another job can get in the way of you being able to actually do jobs and auditions and stuff - it really depends on how flexible a job you have. If you have the kind of job that will allow you some flexibility, I'd say it's definitely possible to pursue singing while still working. I think sometimes people who have the luxury to just pursue singing can get lazy, whereas people who have to work a job and pursue the career simultaneously tend to be very driven and organized because they have to be. The thing is, everyone seems to have a different path in this career. Some people follow the traditional path of school, young artist program, competitions, agent, auditions and hopefully jobs. But there are others who just kind of start later, get a good break, and are able to go forward without all those steps, and of course, people who do go through all the steps only to find they have no jobs. There is no one answer, and no one path, which I think for you is good news - it means that while it may be hard, there is no reason you can't continue to pursue singing while you work at your job. Good luck!

December 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterJenny


March 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise