Career Profile: Singer (French version available)
By Julia Skoczypiec
Do you enjoy singing? Whether you put on stadium-worthy performances in the shower or hum along to your favorite tunes in the car, everyone’s a little bit of a singer in one way or another. But have you ever considered a career as a singer? If so, it is not as daunting as many make it seem.
Singers are trained musical professionals that perform at various venues in many different styles. Some singing styles include opera, jazz, pop, hip-hop, and country. While many often associate singers with celebrity status, there are career opportunities for singers in Canada that pay the bills without having to walk the red carpet. From larger live events like wedding receptions, musicals, orchestras, and outdoor festivals, to more privatized performances at birthday parties and restaurants, singers work in many diverse locations to entertain vast audiences.
Most of the time, singers work on their own schedules and travel to different locations every week. These are the main pros of the career. However, a self-made schedule comes with a lot of responsibilities. Singers constantly market themselves through social media, interviews, and websites to find and book singing ‘gigs’ (or performances). Many singers also work in studios to record songs for distribution by record labels. While working hours vary, singers usually perform on weekdays, holidays, and at night. These can be cons to the career as hours are irregular. Also, finding performance venues and audiences can become challenging and impact a singer’s overall income.
Singers can also work as music teachers. In this way, singers often avoid self-employment and work in one location — such as a school, a music academy, or privately in their own homes. In doing so, a singer’s income and working hours become more regular. Those who work as teachers are required to know proper singing techniques and music theory. As a result, a bachelor’s degree in music from a college or university is often required.
While postsecondary education is not essential for singers who perform in venues like restaurants and weddings, further education is necessary for ones who perform in orchestras, classical music choirs, or in plays and musicals put on by professional theatre companies. Some bachelor degrees and diplomas in music are more theory based, meaning you study sheet music reading and high-level techniques. These are great for classical and jazz style singers. Other programs are more performance based. These often include singing, dancing, and acting all in one program.
The average hourly rate for singers in Canada is $45. Annually, this equates to approximately $93,000. However, this amount can vary depending on the number of gigs a singer performs during the year. For singers who are music teachers, the average salary is $45,000.
Singers often work closely with instrumentalists, composers, producers, and other singers. This means that before any performances, singers must set time aside for rehearsals. While rehearsing is often time consuming and tiresome, it is through collaborations with other artists that singers are able to advance in their careers and connect with broader audiences. Through continuous practice, singers are able to challenge their own vocal abilities and meet personal goals that only come from the joys of performing.
Economic Research Institute. “Singer Salary in Canada.” https://www.erieri.com/salary/job/singer/canada.
Indeed. “What Is a Singing Career? 11 Careers in the Singing Industry.” https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/singing-career.
Talent.com. “Music Teacher average salary in Canada 2022.” https://ca.talent.com/salary?job=music+teacher.
Your Free Career Test. “What does a Singer do?” https://www.yourfreecareertest.com/singer/.