Many people dream of using their talent, whether it's their dramatic ability, musical gift or skill as a dancer, to get performing arts jobs. Do you love to act? Do you play a musical instrument, sing or dance? Here are resources to help performing artists like you—musicians, singers, dancers, and actors—pursue your passion.
How to Decide Whether to Become a Professional Performer
It is important to mention, at this point, something that is probably obvious to many readers. Not everyone who wants to achieve his or her goal of becoming a professional performer succeeds in doing so. This field is probably more competitive than any other. With that in mind, a better subtitle for this section would actually be "How to Decide Whether to Try to Become a Professional Performer."
First decide whether you have the qualities you need—talent, passion and the ability to take rejection—but realize that those things don't necessarily make the performing arts a good career choice for you. As with any occupation, it is important to get the facts about it before you decide. Once you have all that information, you can make an informed decision about whether to strive for a career as a performer.
Here are some resources to help you learn more about careers in the performing arts. The following articles are from the Occupational Outlook Handbook a publication from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. In each one you will find a lengthy job description, details about the work environment, employment outlook, educational and training requirements, and median earnings.
Do You Need to Go to College to Become an Actor, Dancer, Singer or Musician?
Actors, dancers, singers and musicians all need a solid educational foundation but that doesn't necessarily mean college is required. Some performers choose that route, but others do not. Training, however is important, so you should make sure you get as much as possible. That means a lot of acting classes and dance and music lessons. And as they say: practice, practice, practice. In addition to that, all performers benefit from experience on stage or in front of the camera.
You can use the following resources to help you find formal training. Please note that membership in the organizations listed is not required to do a simple search in their directories:
- National Association of Schools of Dance: Accredited Members
- National Association of Schools of Music: Accredited Members
- National Association of Schools of Theater: Accredited Members
What Should You Be Reading?
You should stay on top of current industry news. The following online publications will allow you to keep up with happenings in the entertainment industry:
Where Can You Find Out About Upcoming Casting Calls and Auditions?
The following sites list job opportunities:
Should You Join a Union?
Unions represent performers in negotiations. Membership in some is only open to working artists.
- Actors' Equity Association
- American Federation of Musicians
- SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)
- American Guild of Musical Artists