Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The 21st Century Singer: Making the Leap from the University into the World

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The 21st Century Singer: Making the Leap from the University into the World

Article excerpt

Kane, Susan Mohini. The 21st Century Singer: Making the Leap from the University into the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Paper, xiv, 250 pp., $24.95. ISBN 978-0-19-936428-2 www.oup.com

Susan Mohini Kane opens this book with a sobering statistic: in 2014, fewer than 2000 singers were under professional management. By her calculations, that means 94% of classically trained singers are unemployed or underemployed. Kane is not an alarmist, however, about this number. Instead, she urges singers who hold a performance degree in voice to investigate other career avenues that utilize their skills, and offers this volume as a guidebook to finding those paths.

The first step for a singer is to take inventory of skills and resources available, from repertoire to familial support. Kane includes exercises to help identify these assets. She also offers valuable advice about auditions: "If you are singing for something of value to you... the audition becomes a completely different type of activity. It transforms from a referendum on your quality to an opportunity to share your gift of singing with the world."

This is potentially life-changing advice for singers, whose sense of self-worth is often inextricably linked with the feedback they receive from audition panels. It is a philosophy that permeates Kane's book. She counsels singers to forge a path that both utilizes their skills and builds a satisfying, well rounded life; singers must determine what motivates them to sing, and how they can maintain a sense of purpose in their art.

The process may entail exploring a wide gamut of career paths. Kane enumerates four routes: traditional artist, teaching artist, independent artist, and specialized artist. …

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