The old saying is, “practice, practice, practice” but in my experience, that’s only 10% of it!
Growing up singing in North Carolina, I always dreamed of being a professional musician. I began voice lessons in middle school and never stopped. It hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine, though. There have been auditions I didn’t get and performances that were far from my best (namely the time I forgot the words to the National Anthem—I “saved” it, but how embarrassing!). The pandemic has further complicated performing with many engagements being rescheduled and cancelled.
I always knew I didn’t need to star on Broadway or sing at the Metropolitan Opera to feel like I was a successful musician. I was happy to sing smaller, local engagements and I still am! Those smaller gigs paved the way for my successful journey to Carnegie Hall on Monday 2/21/22.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps involved:
Voice lessons 16 years
Piano lessons 5 years
Guitar lessons 2 years
Hundreds of auditions (in person and virtual) and mostly hearing “No”
1 Young Artist Program
2 self-promoted concerts
10+ Professional Opera/Chorus gigs
Church choir section leader 5+ years
Bachelor of Music degree
Master of Music degree
Those are just the musical steps, without mention of the physical, mental, financial, and emotional demands of auditioning and performing!
So, what does it take to get to Carnegie Hall you ask?
Practice, perseverance, and a little bit of crazy. You must be crazy enough to actually think you can pull it off, and willing/able to sacrifice aspects of your personal life at times. I’d like to add that having a strong support system of family, friends, teachers, and colleagues has helped me through the years. If you put in the work and get a little bit lucky, you never know where you'll end up!
Maria Palombo is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio accessible anywhere with internet! Voice lessons are for all, regardless of age or ability!