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Singers have exceptional singing ability and usually sing solo, in small groups of up to six or so singers, or in choirs, musicals, comedies or operas. To become a professional singer, an exceptional voice and talent is needed and a great deal of time must be spent practising singing and music. Singers practise alone or with other people in a small group or a large choir.

Singers interpret music using their knowledge of harmony, rhythm and voice. They interpret the meaning of the words and give the right emotional value to the song. They follow or memorize printed text and musical notation and may sing a capella or with instrumental accompaniment.

Some singers make recordings or go on concert tours while others perform in operas, musicals or appear as concert soloists. Some singers sing in films, on stage, on radio and television, in nightclubs and in other places of entertainment. Some singers teach and direct choirs or give private voice lessons.

Singers are known according to their voice ranges as sopranos, contraltos, basses, baritones or tenors. Dancing, playing musical instruments and/or acting are part of singers' training and good singers are often also fully-fledged actors and musicians.

In addition to public appearances on stage, singers must often perform in studios, where recordings take place. Studio work can be tiring because a song must often be sung a number of times until a satisfactory recording is made.

Satisfying Aspects
- being creative with one's voice
- opportunity to teach others
- working with interesting people
- possibilities of travelling

Demanding aspects
- working irregular hours
- being away from home often
- not being able to perform with a cold, sore throat, etc

A singer should:
- have musical ability;
- have poise and stage presence;
- have perseverance and great determination;
- have a good voice;
- be in good health and have physical stamina;
- have an attractive appearance for visual performances;
- have a good memory.

School Subjects
No specific high school requirements are necessary to enter this career but it is recommended that students who wish to study further could meet the following requirements:

National Senior Certificate with matric exemption for degree course
National Senior Certificate for a diploma course

Compulsory Subjects: Music
Recommended Subjects: Visual Arts

Grade 6 or 7 in Practical Music, according to the examinations laid down by UNISA, the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, or the Trinity College of Music.

Persons who want to sing professionally should acquire a broad background in music, including Theory and History.

Degree (BMus) and diploma courses in music are offered at most universities. Usually singing can be taken as a subject instead of learning a specific instrument.

Training can also be obtained at the Royal School of Music, Trinity College of Music and the Conservatories for Music, amongst others, in Pretoria.

- Performing Arts Councils
- Theatre production studios
- Motion picture studios
- Radio or television networks
- Member of a permanent choir
- Recording studios
- Night-clubs and other places of entertainment
- Opera schools (teaching)
- Self-employment, as a freelance singer and/or singing teacher with own studio

Prospects for a full-time career in singing are only possible for the exceptionally talented. Competition is very strong in this career field and many persons make singing a part-time career. A professional trained singer has a wide range of very interesting career opportunities to choose from: as a soloist in an opera, as a member of a permanent choir, or at one of the regional art councils.

Information regarding job opportunities and bursaries can be obtained from universities, universities of technology, and the provincial councils for performing arts.

The Personnel Manager
State Theatre Pretoria
P O Box 566
Pretoria, 0001
Tel. (012) 322-1665