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Thread: Training in Classical Music?

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    Default Training in Classical Music?

    So i'd like to start training as an opera singer soon, it's a long road with lots to learn and at the moment i know nothing about Music. Could anybody tell me a little bit about what i'd have to learn and what the best route for me to take is. I mean, apart from getting a Music Teacher. Mostly what i'd need to study, i've already done quite a bit of Drama.

    I know little about this as a business but my main concern is my age, i'm almost 21, so i'm wondering whether there's an age limit to this, or whether being older will make it harder?

    Any information would be great, also i live in the UK which may make a difference.

    THANK YOU

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    Not everyone has to be a child wonder, but being 21 and wanting to be an opera singer without knowing anything about music makes it sound like you're already at a dead end.

    Out of curiosity, if you really know nothing about music, why opera?

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    do you have any sort of natural talent? ie. can you sing well? do you know the repertoire?

    eventually you could try auditioning at the conservatory or university, but first you would have to learn the basics of music theory, solfeggio, dictation, etc. (on your own or with a teacher). music as a "business" is all about auditions... and contacts, but that's another thing.

    however, if you can't actually sing, it's probably hopeless since you do need a certain kind of physiological apparatus to become an opera singer, and no training will bring you up to that level unless you are born with it.

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    might i add that obtaining a diploma such as a bachelor of music in opera or voice performance does not automatically lead to becoming an opera singer...

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    It is possible for people to enter the operatic scene at a late age - and 21 isn't a late age! Alberto Remedios (not sure it was his real name, given he was a Liverpool docker) did it. But you have to be good at it - even if, through lack of training, you don't know that yet.

    The trouble is that, the way the brain develops, we are best at learning things when we are young (pre ten to be honest) and it is ever harder going the older we get.

    You need to develop a classical singing technique (which will stand you in good stead anyway). I would go for that first and, as you do, start networking so that you can build up contacts in the operatic world. You won't get anywhere without a demonstrably good voice.

    Also, the more you are familar with opera, and particularly the sort of roles you might ultimately take on, the better, so a bit of private study is in order.

    Malcolm Gladwell, in one of his books, rather dismisses the idea of genius. He reckons it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at anything. If you're up for spending three hours a day, every day, for ten years - and you have the talent - go for it. If you aim for it and don't succeed, you'll likely still to be a good singer able to bring huge pleasure to many people.

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    Thank you all for your answers i'll give it my best and take it step by step but i don't aim for anything less than 100% satisfaction in myself. I'll do what makes me happy. And if i can only do it as a hobby that suits me.
    So thank you for your comments

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Marchant View Post
    Malcolm Gladwell, in one of his books, rather dismisses the idea of genius. He reckons it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at anything. If you're up for spending three hours a day, every day, for ten years - and you have the talent - go for it. If you aim for it and don't succeed, you'll likely still to be a good singer able to bring huge pleasure to many people.
    I'm not sure about genius, but I am convinced of the importance of talent and aptitude which can increase motivation. You're more likely to stick to the 10,000 hours if your practice yields pleasing results.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Marchant View Post
    It is possible for people to enter the operatic scene at a late age - and 21 isn't a late age! Alberto Remedios (not sure it was his real name, given he was a Liverpool docker) did it. But you have to be good at it - even if, through lack of training, you don't know that yet.

    The trouble is that, the way the brain develops, we are best at learning things when we are young (pre ten to be honest) and it is ever harder going the older we get.

    You need to develop a classical singing technique (which will stand you in good stead anyway). I would go for that first and, as you do, start networking so that you can build up contacts in the operatic world. You won't get anywhere without a demonstrably good voice.

    Also, the more you are familar with opera, and particularly the sort of roles you might ultimately take on, the better, so a bit of private study is in order.

    Malcolm Gladwell, in one of his books, rather dismisses the idea of genius. He reckons it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be good at anything. If you're up for spending three hours a day, every day, for ten years - and you have the talent - go for it. If you aim for it and don't succeed, you'll likely still to be a good singer able to bring huge pleasure to many people.
    Take it from one who tried and nearly succeeded. Jeremy is correct that 21 is not old for a singer, but it is old not to know more about music than you seem to from your posts. I auditioned as a baritone from about age 30 to age 35. Long story but I had to quit trying to be a tenor and learn the baritone repertoire and work it into my voice. All of which I did, but I had a lack of discipline, money, and luck, all of which you DO need to "make it." The discipline is self-evident, I think; you have to either be born better or become better than most of your competition. Money for private lessons, coaching (acting, diction, repertoire, vocal production/basic technique), and a degree in music certainly would not hurt although it is not essential if you have the voice. Luck, yes, because it is a highly competitive field, and luck has a place.

    Any general operatic audition will have age limits, else you would have 80-yr-gold sopranos hitting up speed, tottering out on their walkers and screeching Un bel di vedremo for the 10,000th time. I have been to auditions where there were three times as many sopranos as all other voice parts put together. Generally the age limit was 28 yrs for sopranos, 30-32 for mezzos and altos, 35 for baritones, maybe 38-40 for basses. So, you need to do a lot of work in a few short years, particularly if you turn out to be a true soprano. And having said that, I wish you the very best. There are a lot of sacrifices but a lot of joys too.

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