A voice is as important as the lyrics to music. Though we hold the lyrics close to our heart, pulsating, or sometimes ethereal vocals embed a tune in our memory. Vocalists can help us transcend emotions. What does it take to become one? Do you need to be good with words or do you need an ear for good music as well? Do you need training or a strong voice will suffice? Know how to become a freelance vocalist.
In the old days, you would have to wait for ages to get a break, or have connections and get one. In today’s world, you can choose to freelance from home and work your way up to that elusive opportunity. One thing is certain, a career as a freelance vocalist can be a rewarding one for anyone, especially if you have the inclination to take the effort to achieve it.
Freelance Vocalist Job Duties
Freelance Vocalist usually sings that is their vocation, pun not intended. However, there are some duties that you will attend to on your way to becoming a vocalist; the scope of these duties changes when you freelance full time or work away from the office, but the essence of these duties, remains the same.
Here are the duties of jobs for singing:
- Memorize musical selections and routines, or sing following printed text, musical notation, or customer instructions.
- Interpret or modify music, applying knowledge of harmony, melody, rhythm, and voice production to individualize presentations and maintain audience interest.
- Observe choral leaders or prompters for cues or directions in vocal presentation.
Perform before live audiences, or in television, radio, or movie productions.
- Practice singing exercises and liaise with vocal coaches, to develop your voice and skills to rehearse for upcoming roles.
- Seek out and learn new music that is suitable for live performance and/or recording.
- Sing a cappella or with musical accompaniment.
- Sing as a soloist or as a member of a vocal group.
- Collaborate with a manager or agent who handles administrative details, finds work, and negotiates contracts.
- Compose and create music arrangements
- Make and participate in recordings
You must concentrate on developing certain skills as a vocalist. Vocalization is a technique and needs practice. You should have an acute ear for speech patterns and languages and even tones and intonations. A love for linguistic and cultural aspects can help you attain a diverse and satisfying career. Some of the skills you should develop include:
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Oral Comprehension
- Written Comprehension
- Oral Expression
- Auditory Attention
- Active Listening
- Active Learning
- Melody concepts like contour and span
- Chord writing
- Understand, talk, read, write, and play rhythm
Vocalist.org, The Vocalist Studio, Vocalise Academy, Superior Singing Method: YouTube, and Singing Master offer many portals, forums, chat-streams, and discussion boards where you can hone the skills needed to become an accomplished vocalist.
Being Successful as a Vocalist
Your path to success as a freelance vocalist will depend on how talented you are and what your skill level is. Although, more often than not, skill is not the only determinant in the music industry, with experience and credibility being the major cornerstones on which the industry bases itself. Many attributes make up a good freelance vocalist.
To be successful as a freelance vocalist, you should:
- Have an understanding of concepts like Melody, harmony, rhythm, notes, and chords
- Build upon your skills as a vocalist
- Be open to learning
- Be sociable
- Build up recommendations
- Network, collaborate with other musicians
- Plan out gigs in advance
Most of the revenue generated by you depends solely on your ability to market your services and your credibility with previous employees.
The money in freelancing is varied: Usually, freelance portals offer various kinds of payment models. In the fixed-price model, the price is usually pre-determined. The hourly model is the most popular and employers usually pay a predetermined sum per hour. Finally, in the project-budget based model, you often need to auction for such projects. Usually, a fixed price model may range from $20- $200 and upwards, while you have to pitch for hourly projects, and budget payments, which usually range from $5- $35 an hour, with average payments at $19 per hour. (2)
Many portals, websites, and even job forums list hundreds of jobs for freelance vocalists and singers. (1) All you have to do is find the right job listing, and you’ll be able to start earning some serious money. Popular websites like Elance, Odesk, Peopleperhour offer jobs aplenty, but niche websites like Music-freelancer offer many jobs to freelance vocalists like you.