Professional Singing - Mystery and Practical Experience

professional singing pic

Professional Singing... I believe that most singers want to be able to sound professional, even if they do not expect to make singing their career.

Is that how you feel, too?

No matter what your level currently is, we all know that it takes a lot of time and creative effort to sing music even reasonably well.
I have often heard singers-in-training complain to anyone who is within earshot...
"Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii... why don't I sound like a professional singer, yet? I have worked at this for so long! I've really tried hard. What do I have to do to sound like a pro?"

professional singing - bird and books

Over the years, as I have watched singers grow and excel, I have noticed several qualities that have helped them to evolve from good amateurs to real professionals.

While there are many mysteries in this kind of an artistic evolution, here are 5 elements that I believe contribute strongly to reaching the tipping point between amateur and professional:


1. You have developed a voice that has character and is in tune.
Character in a voice means "a unique quality." You sound like "you." Your voice does not have to be beautiful. Depending upon your musical style, you do not have to have a wide range. But your voice needs to be supported by a strong, well-developed musical personality - Yours. And you need to sing in tune, more often than not.

2. You are a person who approaches his/her work with a professional attitude. And you sing consistently well when you perform. In other words, you do not aim for good enough. You aim for your best - always. And you find ways to get feedback that will keep you moving toward that goal.

professional singing - color and  power

3. You get "onstage" and/or in front of an audience - often.
"Performance," whether it is in a recording studio, an online-concert, or in front of a live audience, is a state of musical being that is entirely different from singing for yourself in your own music room or alone in your car.

We singers need to get the "feel" of what it means to "inhabit a song" under an audience-engaged circumstance. And we need to do it often. Some people call this, "getting your stage legs." When you have these "legs," we who are in the audience can feel your expressive power from the moment you walk on... until you leave. And sometimes, long after...!

4. You sing the right SONGS - Through trial and error, if you do not write your own songs, you need to discover the songs that best suit your voice and personality. This is often not an easy task. It can take a lot of time and patience. But with enough time and experience, you will find the songs that:
A. YOU love to sing
B. Other People enjoy hearing

If you are a songwriter, it may take a long time to build an audience. People will not have heard your music before. They may not "love" it right away. So you will need to develop both...

professional singing sunset

5. Patience and Wisdom. Patience means that you will keep improving your art so that your songs get better and better. (See #2 above).
Wisdom, in this context, means that you will keep an eye on what is happening in the broader world. And in that way, you will write and/or choose songs about issues, feelings and events that other people are also experiencing.

Of course there is much more to be said about the many qualities that go into professional singing. Am there are also the seemingly "mystical elements..." that help to make a singer more compelling. But I will tackle that theme another day.

I wish you powerful and professional singing!

Barbara Lewis Music

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