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Technology and Performing Arts

My father has tried to tell me that the opportunities for Performing Arts majors (vocal - opera singer) are significantly reduced in this day of technology and that less people are going to live performance. I disagree, but maybe he has a point and there will be less opportunities than before. Thoughts? #opera #singing #performing-arts #technology

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Stefano’s Answer

Hi Ellenya!

I have been a professional opera singer for many years now, and I can tell you that, yes!, it's hard to get to the point of making a living out of it. According to my personal experience I would say that out of 25-30 students admitted to an opera school / conservatory only 1 is able to reach financial independence as an opera singer (in all possible declinations of this profession: soloist, chorus singer, ensemble singer, a bit of everything, etc.).

When one wants to start this exciting journey, it's extremely important that he/she understands if his/her passion and devotion is big enough, and if this is aligned with his/her actual talent. Sometimes we are extremely passionate about something in which we do not actually have a great talent, and then problems arise and frustrations are inevitable.

My advice is to try to get an honest opinion about your voice and talent from an established and experienced opera singer and, at the same time, have a plan B. I have witnessed extremely talented people failing in this field because of non-voice related factors (health issues, inability to handle stress, lack of contacts, bad temper, etc.), so I do think that having a decent plan B can literally save your life.

Good luck!

Stefano
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Stefano’s Answer

Hello Ellenya!

Over the years, I've been blessed with the opportunity to sing professionally in the opera, and I can assure you that it's a challenging yet rewarding path. Based on my journey, I've observed that for every 25-30 students who enter an opera school or conservatory, only one typically achieves financial independence through their singing career. This could be as a soloist, a chorus singer, an ensemble singer, or even a blend of these roles.

Embarking on this thrilling adventure requires a clear understanding of your passion and dedication, and how it aligns with your innate talent. There are instances where our passion surpasses our talent, leading to obstacles and inevitable disappointments.

My advice would be to seek a candid evaluation of your voice and talent from an experienced opera singer. Moreover, it's crucial to have a fallback plan. I've witnessed extraordinarily talented individuals struggle in this industry due to non-vocal factors like health complications, stress management, networking deficiencies, or certain personality traits. Therefore, a robust plan B can be your safety net on this journey.

Sending you all the positive vibes!

Stefano
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Bruce’s Answer

Hi Elleyna - I have a BS in CS (Computer Science) and a deep love of writing & playing music.

For myself it was simple; I have never been any where near the level of proficiency musically as the students I saw in high school, let alone university, or professional. I also didn't work hard at music and have low ambition levels.

So I knew I could never realistically pursue music performance as a career.

Also, tech jobs are far more numerous than performing arts and pay better and always will. I knew I wanted work at something I enjoy (I enjoy tech) and wanted reliable work that is available nearly everywhere.

I say all this like I said to my son who could've done well in engineering or as a dentist, but wanted to be a music teacher. I let him know that music teaching jobs are literally few and far between and that engineering and dentist jobs are everywhere and pay better. I just needed to say it once so he wouldn't be surprised later. He thanked me. Now he is a music teacher and very happy (me too!).

But my story is not what you should base you decisions on. Weight in your capabilities (not mine), your interests, your connections, your ambition, your enthusiasm. Learn about the industry and different opportunities. Talk to others, do research.

And if you don't like tech, having a job every day that you don't enjoy is not a good decision. We all have to become self-sufficient as adults, but it doesn't mean we have to find it in work we don't like.

And the rest of my story is that while I have worked in tech as my "day job" for >30 years, I have also been writing songs and playing in bands for >30 years - just not as my career. That option worked great for me.
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Smaran’s Answer

Hi Elleyna,

There is a fact that technology is dominant when it comes to jobs or settle down soon and there are million of people who do jobs in technology. There are huge requirements in technical fields, but being in Arts is very hard you need a lot of dedication, yes there are many singers trying to breakthrough in the industry. Being a singer and trying to make it as a passion is great and yes riskier.

But the more the riskier your job becomes the more you tend to work hard. I would say go with your passion, do not listen to anyone else, convince your family/father that you can make it as a singer and you have to make it to prove yourself. You know, being in technology is lot easier compared to being in arts as I am from technical background yet love to be an painter/artist some day, in technology you have resources to help you and grow but being an artist you are your own resource, you have to be creative and distinctive now a days to be successful.

If you fail to become a successful singer independently, you can try again by start working in technology jobs and practice on your passion which many people do. People do regular jobs because you need to make a living first and then work on your passion more and more, but the downside is if you get a comfortable life because of your job, people tend to lose or forget their passion on the way, this you need to take care and do not lose the hope.

All the best!

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Tracy’s Answer

I WOuld disagree. The performing arts are as vibrant as ever. The way technology has impacted careers is that now; rather than competing with your peers for the roles (this is still a strong component) artists are creating their own work to showcase themselves. The real question is: is there anything else you can do and be happy? If you're immediate answer was an emphatic "no!" Then don't focus on whether or not it's viable. Focus on your passion. The only one you are beholden to in this life is yourself. Be practical but don't limit your dreams

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