Category Archives for "Singing"

Apr 01

Why do I need lessons to be an actor or singer?

Music , Music Business , Singing

Why Do I Need Lessons to Be an Actor or Singer? 

Natural talent can take you a long way. TV shows like American Idol, The Voice, and X Factor prove it, but the odds of winning are a bit like winning the lottery. Even getting past the first round of auditions is a grueling race. Not prepared to spend days in line waiting for maybe a minute and a half of screen time? Can’t blame you, but there are alternatives.

A long-term career in singing or acting often starts with lessons. Much like top athletes, actors and singers spend many more hours in preparation for the big day then they spend on stage. Natural talent can take you far, but to become a professional, you need training. Fast runners get faster with consistent training, and actors and singers get better with the right feedback and exercises.

Professional Acting and Singing Is Work

The first thing to remember about the job of an actor or a singer is that it is work. That means getting to the top requires dedication and a lot of prep time. Regularly scheduled vocal lessons, acting classes and assorted time spent learning about entertainment in all its forms is the foundation for getting work as a professional. You wouldn’t walk into an interview without a resume, so why would you walk into an audition without preparation?

Do You Really Need a Teacher?

There are lots of online tutorials and activities out there that can enrich your learning, but for real progress, you need an instructor. It’s almost impossible to objectively judge your own performance. For instance, when you film your own scene, you finish the scene and then go back to look at things. In contrast, when you work in a formal lesson setting, you get corrections as you go, and the invaluable experience of working with a director in the form of an excellent teacher.

Critiquing your own singing is another big challenge. Until you develop hundreds of studio hours and hear your own raw sound, making improvements can be overwhelming. You just can’t hear yourself correctly. It’s a design and biology issue. The way your body works, you hear a very different sound from an objective listener. To figure out where and how to improve your sound, you need an expert listener. Also, voice lessons can help you avoid injuries that could cut your career short. The voice is a complex machine, and you want it well-maintained heading into a big audition.

A Coach Good Coach Is a Must

An experienced industry expert for a coach can do a lot more than just give you voice lessons or assign acting homework. They can help you prepare for auditions, smooth out any performance issues and tell you when something isn’t in your wheelhouse. The last thing you want from a coach is someone who just says “Yes.” Yes, men might be a nice confidence boost, but they don’t help you land roles. Of course, finding the right coach comes with its own set of hurdles.

How to Find a Coach

There are thousands of people and services out there offering acting and singing coaching. So how do you separate out the scams from the quality coaching you need? Start with a price comparison. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. That’s the rule of thumb when shopping for anything, including coaching services. Also, be wary of promises of success. No coach can guarantee you fame, only access to their knowledge and expertise. Always ask for references. With a coach, you’re signing on for a long-term relationship that could directly impact your employability for years to come. A few references are the minimum that you should ask for.

At Shaun Royer Talent Development and Soundcheck Artists, I routinely work with many professionals who come in for a catch-up lesson when they’re not on tour or filming. Why? Because it pays to keep up with your skills and stretch your development, even after you start working professionally

Apr 01

Singers: How to go from good to Great!

Music , Singing

Go from good to great. 4 tips on becoming the best singer you can be! 

What makes a great singer? It’s a question that beginners and anyone interested in becoming a singer will ask themselves at some point. In vocal coaching sessions, you’ll often find a heavy emphasis placed on the technique, theory and psychology of singing, and for a good reason. All these elements play some role in performing the act, but it’s actually a mix of traits that make someone capable of singing in front of a crowd.

The Characteristics Great Singers Share

First and foremost, singers have confidence in their abilities. This isn’t the same thing as being fearless, mind you. Even talented performers still get pre-show butterflies from time to time. The best of the bunch, however, know how to control it and trust in their skills. This, of course, is born partly from training your skills. Working with a great voice teacher helps. You can also help enhance your confidence by developing a few pre-performance tricks, things such as breathing deeply, meditation and visualizing your perfect show.

Secondly, great singers have great ears and control over their breathing. These are two skills that are paramount when it comes to developing proper technique. Training your ear is necessary so that you can match the proper pitches while performing. Breathing is important so that you can hit notes easily and sing longer. If you have these two down, you have the foundation to build the other tools you’ll need to move ahead.

Successful singers know how to play to their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Everyone has things they excel at and things they can improve on. For example, singers with strong Type A personalities have a drive for success and will sometimes effortlessly put in the many hours it takes to become better. On the flip side, they are also more likely to become tense and have a more difficult time relaxing, which can sometimes hamper their technique. Knowing where you’re strong and where you need to get better will take you far in the singing game.

Lastly, a great singer knows how to be coached. A singer who can’t take constructive criticism or advice from his instructor is one that has shut himself off from learning. If you don’t learn, you don’t grow, and your prospects of becoming a better singer diminish greatly.

Remember These Basics And Keep Striving For Success

It takes time to develop the rudiments, but once you have them, everything else becomes a little easier. Remember to keep seeking out information (through voice lessons and other means), keep your nose to the grindstone, and work hard to realize your goals.

Apr 01

Singers and Actors- When is the right time to get a manager?

Acting , Acting Business , Music Business , Singing

For actors, this is an easy question to answer. After you get a few projects on your own, you get an agent. Once you start booking with an agent, you start looking for a manager. Managers have to put in a lot of time and effort with each client so a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone on unless the talent is already making money. I will repeat this: a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone on unless the talent is already making money. Every once in a while, if the person has a very specific look or special talent, a manager will take them on because of their niche and the prospects of making a profit off of it.

For singers and musicians, it is a little bit different. Many times early in a singers career they need to have someone manage all the moving parts of tours, contracts, shows. There are no agents to do this like actors have. But still, a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone unless the talent is already making money. If you don’t have a huge social media following and have at least 50 people showing up to your concerts and you get approached by a manager, chances are they will get you for a lot of money in the long run.

They will tell you how wonderful you are but you need new pictures, or you should get a new video or produce new music. They may even get you some gigs that are pay to play. You can bet the farm that this “manager” is managing to get a kickback on all the dough you’re shelling out.

In my 25 years of teaching, keeping the sharks away from my clients has been the hardest part of my job. Unfortunately, these type of people tend to be master manipulators and prey on the dreams of performers and their families. My former business partner, a retired FBI agent in charge of political and mafia corruption once told me show business was absolutely dirtiest business he’d ever been involved in.

How do you know who’s safe? How do you know when you’re ready?

Once your making a bit of cash and are ready to share the 15 to 20% the manager takes for his or her services, there are several websites and resources you can go to to find a reputable one. Once you find someone you’re interested in, then you need to check out their references. Don’t base your decision on a website or who they say they’ve worked with. Anyone can make a great website nowadays.

When you do find the right manager, that relationship will become one of the most important connections in your career and will hopefully take you to the next level.

Hope this helped. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about the different types of agents and managers.