You’ve made what is quite frankly a huge step – you’ve decided take voice lessons! It takes a lot for someone to admit they need extra training for their voice, and I commend those who make that decision. But after you’ve taken lessons and you’ve settled into what your voice can do, where do you go from here? The next step is public performances!
There are many ways to maximize your performance potential. If you’re currently a college student, the opportunity is right under your nose in the form of a collegiate a cappella group. Keep in mind that a cappella music has come a long way from the glee club labels of yesteryear. With the popularity of television shows like Glee and the Idol-like competition show The Sing Off, a cappella music is on the rise. On many college campuses, too, a cappella members are treated like mini-rock stars; as a former a cappella member of UC Davis’ all-male a cappella group The Afterglow, and an ardent fan of the all-female group The Spokes, I can attest to how much the ladies love a singing man, and vice versa! Additionally, singing in an a cappella group helps to hone your tonal memory, blend, tone, and musicality skills. It cannot be stressed enough how much the skills applied and learned while singing in a vocal group – especially without any accompaniment – directly transfer to any performances you may do as a soloist or band member. If you can both blend with others and stand out in an a cappella group, your other musical works and performances are bound to improve in quality AND increase in quantity.
Another great performance opportunity that should not be understated is local vocal showcases and competitions. The allure of national competition shows such as American Idol and The Voice are great, and these shows boast a lot of appeal for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; however, boosting your vocal credentials locally by publicly performing in a more favorable setting than in front of Randy, Keith, Nicki and Mariah with many television cameras, as well as creating a local fan-base lends itself much more to developing your performance ability. Try searching online or browsing local listings to find coffee shops, clubs or music venues that are hosting vocal competitions or showcases. Performing in public settings like these will help you get more comfortable with your vocal abilities and ward off fear of singing in front of an audience!
Finally, the most overlooked performance opportunity is that of events through you very own network. Friends and family members may be interconnected with performance avenues through their jobs, charities and non-profit organizations, and fraternity and sorority events, just to name a few. Many families also conduct large-scale family reunions, weddings, bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, and other events that include budgets for entertainment. Sometimes we’re a little reluctant to ask for favors from family, but using connections to the audiences that family members already have access to cuts down some of the work in finding performance opportunities.
A cappella groups, local vocal competitions and showcases, and performing at family-connected events are great complements to your singing lessons. Taking advantage of these small yet very effective opportunities will go a long way in your development as a vocal musician.
Milton K. teaches guitar, piano, singing, music recording, music theory, opera voice, songwriting, speaking voice and acting lessons in Corona, CA. He specializes in classical, R&B, soul, pop, rock, jazz and opera styles. Milton joined the TakeLessons team in January 2013. Learn more about Milton, or search for a teacher near you!
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