Mary King and John Nix
The progression from enthusiast to professional is sometimes marked by full-time training in a conservatory. This chapter describes each aspect of the conservatory experience, from the selection process and successful auditioning, through undergraduate and graduate curricula, to advanced study and apprenticeships. At each stage, the similarities and differences between training programs for classical and musical theater performers are explored. Curricular descriptions include an emphasis on the roles of the singing teacher, the vocal coach, the spoken voice instructor, language teachers, movement specialists, and acting teachers. Other aspects are also considered, including coursework in music theory, music history, repertoire seminars, the study of another instrument, ensemble classes, and performance opportunities. Additional chapter resources include a list of websites of leading conservatories around the world.
This chapter details what is involved in teaching to meet the needs of the professional singer. In working with professional singers, the teacher assumes a slightly different role from that appropriate to dealing with beginning and developing students and amateurs. Here, the teacher is more of a senior adviser. The chapter begins with a discussion about what defines someone as a professional singer. Following this, it explores the many facets of life as a professional singer, and the teacher’s role in guiding singers through this lifestyle. Topics covered include auditions, training to meet professional demands (vocal, linguistic, musical, acting, and movement skill requirements), preparing for performances, performing, rehearsing, maintaining vocal health, dealing with performance anxiety, and managing a career.