The first step to understanding how to be an opera singer is getting quality instruction in a nurturing environment where you’re immersed in music daily. The only place where this is really possible is in a music school or a music program. A lot of young children who show musical aptitude as kids are lucky enough to attend middle and high schools for the arts, where they can get early nurturing. But even if you’re not one of these individuals, you can still wind up as an opera singer. If not professionally, then certainly as a hobbyist.
This is the first step in becoming a professional opera singer. The cool thing about universities is that they let almost anybody in if they meet their criteria and can pay tuition. If you can get into a college or university with a decent voice department, then you’ll be that much closer to achieving your dream of learning opera singing technique.
Of course, you have to audition to get in and that may require some preparation on your part. I got rejected the first I auditioned and only got in on a probation with my second audition. But I worked hard, the probation was lifted and I made progress that really shocked my teachers, who were there for my first audition. Basically, all you do every day is take classes that help you sharpen your ear, appreciate music more and private vocal lessons that help you become a better singer. But you need to work your butt off, there’s no way around that. Opera singing is a hard profession but if you love it, then every day is a blessing.
On top of that, if you have a real driving passion you’ll probably spend every waking hour listening to opera, studying scores and improving your musicianship. It’s really important that you give equal attention to all aspects of your music training because singing well is fine but believe me when I say that your musicianship will take you further than your singing as a singer. I know that sounds weird but your voice is useless if you can’t communicate in the language of music.
The good news is, if you’re truly passionate about making a career in opera, you can do it. It’ll take a while but if you’re driven enough and smart enough you’ll be able to fulfill your singing dreams.
All of the same things apply if you just want to sing classical for fun: learning musicianship, taking lessons with a competent teacher, listening to plenty of classical music and opera singers and maybe even joining a choir. But the cool part about singing opera as a hobby is that you don’t have to rely upon it to make ends meet. That’s nice to know considering that music is a notoriously poorly paying profession.
If you love opera singing and you just enjoy doing it on your spare time, you won’t feel any pressure to ‘make it work’, which is the pressure that forces many musicians who used to love music to hate it and quit and get a ‘real’ job. Sounds sad but it’s true. I’ve done it myself on 2 separate occasions, but that’s a different story. But even a hobby requires some upkeep and input of energy and effort and time. So if you’re a hobbyist singer — read, watch, listen and enjoy, and you’ll keep getting better.