Guide to Opera Training

As a student, it is crucial to find the best training that prepares you for a career as an opera singer. Let us help guide you through this difficult process with tips and an inside look at some of the best Colleges, Conservatories and Young Artist Programs out there!

JUMP TO: Undergraduate Degree | Summer Opera | Graduate Degree

Additional Training

Undergraduate Degree


“Is it best to attend a Conservatory or College?” This question asked by many students is a legitimate concern since the common opinion is that all the great singers come out of conservatories like Juilliard or Eastman. If you ask the working opera singer today, you’ll find that singers are graduating from different schools all over the country and some even without a music degree! We certainly do not want to discourage you from your lofty dreams of singing in any of the top tier conservatories, but know that a degree from any certain college or conservatory is not a shoe in at the Met. So, what should you look for? First, the school should fit your personality. Are you very focused and perform well under pressure? Then a conservatory may be best for you. Here are some tips and insights that will help you along your way:

:: Becoming a solid musician is a must in this competitive field. Every school has a similar curriculum (sight singing, theory, etc) but what schools go beyond the basics?

:: Performance experience is paramount for a career in opera. Look for schools that offer more than the occasional opportunity to sing in your voice teacher’s studio class.

:: Acting, language study/diction, dance, stage combat, etc. are all important assets to have as a performing artist. What can the opera program offer you that others don’t?

Get an inside look at Colleges and Conservatories all across the nation in:

Figaro’s Marketplace (Opera Programs) »

Read the article, “Choosing a Music School,” by David Cutler, author of The Savvy Musician, to find out more tips on selecting a school that fits your needs and the demands of tomorrow.

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Summer Opera


Ah, the Summer Opera Program, such a pivotal step in one’s young career, sometimes it can be the sole bridge between formal training and a professional career. Your voice teacher, coach, etc. can certainly get you jobs, but singing for a summer opera program is one of the best ways to expose yourself to future employers. There are many different types of Summer Opera Programs – Pay-to-Sing, AGMA Apprenticeships, International Programs, etc.. Get an inside look at the best programs in Figaro’s Marketplace (Opera Programs – Young Artist Training). Finding the Program right for you may make the difference in starting a career in Opera.

Read the article, “Dollars and Sense?: An Insider Guide to International Summer Programs,” by OperaPulse writer, Caitlin Vincent. Prepare yourself for the next step in your career! (Learn how you can write for us »)

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Graduate Degree


More often then not, the Graduate Degree is the last step of formal training before you begin professional work. That’s why it could be the most important part of your education. With opera companies today casting younger singers an opera singer must be prepared for the professional world even before you graduate. What does your ideal graduate program include? If you’ve had a less than solid musical training you’ll need a school that continues to refine your musical skill set. Are you lacking in language training or performance experience? Look for schools that specialize in your area of weakness. Take lessons with different voice teachers to see who fits your personality and technical needs. Graduate school is where you must start taking responsibility for your future – no one is handed a career in opera any more!

Get an inside look at Graduate Programs all across the nation in:

Figaro’s Marketplace (Opera Programs) »

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Additional Training

Ask a professional that is working as a singer, director, coach, or administrator if formal training beyond the graduate degree is advised. An artist diploma or specialist degree is necessary only if you need more polish on your technique, performance experience, or language/diction refinement. It may be a good option for the more dramatic voice types as well. Even though your training as an opera singer never ends it may be advisable to step out of the bubble of formal training and take a stab at the professional world. There are many opera companies that are devoted to giving the young singer work.

Get an inside look at Opera Programs with additional degrees or Opera Companies devoted to the young singer in Figaro’s Marketplace »

Read the article, “Some like it Fach,” for an entertaining take on the Fach system, or, “The Rules of Singing: Mythbuster’s Edition,” both by OperaPulse writer, Caitlin Vincent. Want to write for us? Learn More »

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