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 memorise 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.

Personal Requirements

  • musical ability and a very good voice
  • poise and stage presence
  • perseverance and great determination
  • good health and have physical stamina
  • an attractive appearance helps for visual performances

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

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

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
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.

What to Study

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 etc, in Pretoria.


  • performing arts councils
  • theatre production studios
  • motion picture studios
  • radio or television networks
  • member of a permanent choir
  • recording studios
  • nightclubs and other places of entertainment
  • opera schools, as a teacher
  • 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, a member of a permanent choir or at one of the regional art councils.

Further Information

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

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

Getting Started

  • get a strong background in music
  • take private acting, singing and dancing lessons
  • try to obtain singing experience by acting in school and community plays
  • attend professional productions to observe successful singers of different kinds
  • arrange to speak to singers about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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