You have a very interesting blog...I was searching if opera singers really do kiss on stage and your blog popped up with a very interesting and funny post :) I absolutely love to sing - especially opera and early music - but I've never had singing lessons and I don't know how to read music. People are always shocked when they find out that I've never had any training. My questions are: 1) If one wants to start in the opera or singing business, do they need to know how to read music, or will they not accept you even if you have great talent? 2) I'm 17. Do you think it is too late to start learning music or opera, even if I have a good voice? (I know I am young, but what if I start in my early twenties?)I just always hear about singers being put down because they "were too old" to start. But to me, mid to late twenties is not "old".
There are so many things I want to do, I just don't want to waste my talent. I can't picture my life without singing, though, especially classical! ;)
Hi there LISA -
First of all, 17 is definitely not too late to begin training the voice - it's just about the right time in fact. The voice is an instrument that keeps changing a LOT into your twenties and even beyond, so beginning before 17 is totally unnecessary. Also, I know some opera singers who switched to opera singing in their 30's after having entirely different careers first. So, don't worry about your age. However, your second question about reading music - this is VERY important. It's pretty much impossible to have a career in singing without some musical training - in fact I always advise people to take piano lessons as soon as they have an inkling that they might want to be a singer. Because even if you learn your music by ear, when you get to the first rehearsal with the conductor and he asks you to change something, or look at some part, or sing different notes here, your inability to be a true musician will both hinder and embarrass you. It's not so much a matter of people "accepting" you if you have a great talent - you could learn a few arias by ear and then win a job based on a great audition. But it's about your ability to do the actual job at hand, which does require some level of musicianship skills, regardless of level of talent. Not to mention the fact that the field of opera singing has become insanely competitive in recent years, so you need to be excellent in every area to make it - the voice is only part of the equation. And don't forget, even if you decide a career in opera singing is not for you, there are many ways to use your voice and make singing a part of your life that don't require you to be a professional opera singer. I wish you the best of luck!
(reprinted with permission from Jenny's blog, Trying to Remain Opera-tional)
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