singing in a band

Guest post by Al Koehn

When I first opened shop here in Florida as a singing teacher I was discouraged by the large number of singing teachers already doing business here. Then I remembered the old advertising advice “find out what ISN’T being done that you can do, and go for it” (or something like that).

So I did some research and (not surprisingly) discovered that none of those teachers were catering to rock and roll singers. And yet this was the ’80’s, the prime of heavy metal. Half the younger musicians around had bands and big dreams.

Teacher of heavy metal singers

I took out ads in the local music publications, billing myself as “a teacher of heavy metal singers”. And, guess what? My phone started ringing and I was off to the races. Now, it’s a fact that voice development programs are basically the same for all singers, heavy metal through country through classical. A good voice is a good voice, no matter how the singer uses it in songs. But I became the guru of rock and roll singers around here.

This approach to success applies to everyone. The creators of “Radio Shack” never imagined that their new store in Chicago would turn into the giant business it is today. Good stereo equipment was just being introduced in the country and they were among the first to recognize the potential and jump on the wagon.

One of my students, a fine singer-guitarist, was looking for a way to make some extra money. While at the beach one day he noticed how many couples, old and young, were obviously hung up on each other. So he decided to open a new business. He hung out on the beach, picking out the “lovers”, and when the guy went to the snack bar Ken followed. His sales pitch went something like this: “I couldn’t help noticing the two of you together out there on the beach. Is it some special occasion?” Whatever the answer, he would say “I’m a terrific professional singer. How would you like me to drop by and sing a special song for your girlfriend (wife)?” The deal was struck, Ken was paid $25. to come by and sing the couple’s special song for them. (He’d do another song as a bonus.) Guess what? He made money. He found a need for his services that no one else was meeting.

Don’t always look at the obvious

As a singer that wants to be paid for performing, don’t always look at the obvious: joining a band, getting on American Idol, winning a record contract. Keep your eyes open for ways to make money singing that may not take you to fame and fortune, but will earn you some bucks while you are having fun.

More and more restaurants are hiring single singers who use backing (karaoke) tracks. What about setting up on a street corner with a hat? Sounds crazy? Maybe, but I, for one, am very tired of hearing terrible performers on the street. When I hear someone who is really good I am generous with my tip.

Look around. Become aware of what ISN’T being done by entertainers in your town, and find ways to make new things happen.

Al Koehn is a nationally recognized voice teacher, known for achieving amazing results with simple and highly effective techniques. For more articles from him, click here.