Isabella Sanchez: Career Essay #1 (Overdue)

Position: Singer/Songwriter (My #1 career choice)

Position Description: Singer songwriters are musicians who write and perform original songs. Depending on the circumstances, the individual can either perform the songs by himself/herself or have a band accompany him/her. Often, the singer will play instruments too such as the guitar or piano, which are used in their performances. In addition, they tour to promote their music and can schedule gigs from place to place. 

Salary Range: The salary can range depending on the singer’s experience and music quality ($15,287- 100,067). The average salary though is $39, 899 per year.

Education and Training: Music education, composition classes for songwriting, and voice lessons definitely help in practicing and improving the voice. While in college, pursuing degrees like a BM will allow you to take classes, such as music theory, which can help you understand music on a deeper level. Learning about the theory of music allows you to become a better songwriter, and helps you to make deeper connections with your music, which in turn the audience can connect to.

Experience/Skills/Personality Traits: It’s important to have experience in performing, especially in front of an audience. The more experience you have in performing in front of a crowd, the less likely you’ll experience stage fright. You can gain performance experience by signing up to sing at local mic nights, contests, and even posting videos on youtube. In terms of skills, besides having the skill of performing and writing your own songs, it’s good to have strong marketing skills and be familiar with technology. The reason for this is because it’s important to know how to publicize yourself and catch the attention of people, so they can listen to your performances. In regards to personality traits, when pursuing this career, it’s important to be persistent and hard-working because things won’t fall into place so easily and quickly. It’ll take a lot of time to build up your career and get more recognition.

Professional Associations or Unions: American Federation of Musicians (AFM); American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA); The American Society of Composers, authors, and publishers (ASCAP), etc.

Websites: ~~~This website essentially provided insight for all of the questions, like career description, salary, experience and skills needed, etc. It was the most useful website for me. ~~~This website provided the salary information. ~~~Provided the steps an individual needs to take in order to become a successful singer/songwriter. ~~~Provided insight of the lifestyle of an actual singer/songwriter named Gavin Davenport. ~~~Provided information about professional associations and unions.

In addition, I was able to interview Judi Jackson who is a growing musician that writes and performs her own songs. In fact, she recently released her new EP called “Blame It On My Youth” and was able to share her experiences to me.

1.) What are the benefits and rewards of being a singer/songwriter?

“I find great benefit and reward as a performer/singer/songwriter in hearing feedback from lovely humans like yourself, who write to me or come up to me in person after shows and state that they have been deeply moved or changed through my music. I strive to evoke thought and emotion, to create work that others feel they relate to, and connect with so this serves as a significant reward in that regard.”

2.) What are the challenges?

“One must be disciplined in this craft period. If you naturally are gifted with being a disciplined human being, congratulations…if you have more wild, sporadic tendencies, you may find longevity or quality of the work and growth within said work challenging. However, with this being said, discipline by definition is ‘the practice of training’ so anyone who is willing to seek out disciplinary behaviors can do so if they truly wish. I have had periods of extreme discipline and periods of extreme chaos and sporadic behavior…with time and growth, the artist must learn balance for true success, longevity, and happiness.”

3.) What aspects of formal training or work experience are most important in the success of being a singer/songwriter?

“I believe that technique and practice are vital aspects of formal training. Once you graduate school and are performing on a regular basis, touring, traveling, etc. is very tiring and very trying on your mind, body, soul, and spirit, so proper technique has saved my life many times, and is essential in longevity and quality within the work. At the end of the day, there is no better teacher than just getting out there and doing it – whether it be writing, performing, etc… you just have to do it.”

4.) What are the most important personal qualifications for the position?

“Hmmm, well seeing you asked about personal qualifications…that lends itself to the answer being specific, personally, to each individual, based on what he or she is trying to achieve.”

5.) What are the position’s employment and advancement prospects?

“You are your own boss who gives yourself your own advances through patience, knowledge, growth, and discipline.”

I have chosen this career because it’s been my dream and passion ever since I was young. I’ve always had a desire to pursue singing, and I’ve actually been performing ever since I was three years old. As I’ve grown older I’ve continued to carry that passion and let it grow, and I’ve gained performance experience. I feel that I would be good at this position because I have practiced singing for more than ten years, and I have gained valuable experience from performing at events like singing contests and school performances. 

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