Archive | April, 2012

Interview: Opera Singer

9 Apr

This week’s interview is a little different—I interviewed an opera singer!  We met though our hobbies and once I found out she was an opera singer, I knew I wanted to interview her for “She Works.”  Obviously, it’s not a job that just anyone can do; one has to have a real talent for it.  The job itself is very interesting.  I hadn’t considered the fact that opera singers (like actors or dancers) need to audition to get jobs.  I think it would be difficult to have to keep looking for a job–I definitely don’t enjoy job hunting!  However, as with anyone with a career in the arts, it is her passion that motivates her!


1. What is your job title?

My job title is Independent Contractor as singer/performer of Opera, I suppose, or freelance Opera singer/performer.


2. What are your job responsibilities?

My job responsibilities include preparing the music required of me for each specific performance to the best of my ability including but not limited to learning, memorizing, coaching with a professional opera coach, and interpreting music as a musician and actor. Also, before that, regularly studying with an experienced voice teacher to assure vocal quality. Then, attending rehearsals, and performing in the scheduled performances.


3. What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the beauty of the music, being able to collaborate and create beautiful music of my own accord as well as with my colleges and directors. I love doing my part to create a believable character. I also love being on stage and creating an emotional and enjoyable experience for the audience- contributing my talents to create something interesting and beautiful.


4. What is challenging or frustrating about your job?

Something I both enjoy and frustrates me is that both singing and performing are constantly challenging.  There is no end to how much one can improve.  As an artist, I am constantly striving to grow and improve my singing and performing ability.

Also, opera is not mainstream, and therefore only understood and supported by a select amount of either educated or wealthy people.  Especially in the U.S., opera is only known and experienced by this small closed circle of people, as opposed to Europe where opera is more integrated into society.  Because of these two factors, the field is very competitive.  There is not a high demand for singers since the art’s support is limited.  The competitive aspect of my job is difficult for me because I am not competitive by nature, and went into the field more because of my natural talent.  However, my love for the job and art is enough that I am willing to fight for it.


5. Is this your dream job, a stepping stone toward your dream job or something you kinda fell into?

This is my dream job!


6. What did you study in college?

I studied to be an opera singer in college and got my Bachelor’s of Music in Performance, emphasis in voice.


7. What did you want to be as a child?

I’ve wanted to be a singer since I was a kid.  My dreams and desires changed as I got older.  When I was five, I used to love Cyndi Lauper and wanted to be a pop singer!  Then, for a while, I just knew I wanted to be some kind of artist, then I wanted perform in musical theater, and then opera!  I still love Cyndi, though.


8. Do you earn enough money to make ends meet? If so, are you comfortable or barely getting by?

I don’t make much money but I knew that this would be the case.  For that reason my parents were not happy with my choice to be a singer.  However, I also have a part time job as a receptionist which helps me to get by.


9. How secure is your job? Has the recession affected your field?

Performances always end!  I am constantly auditioning to put myself out there.  It is like constantly applying for jobs, because performances are always for a few weeks or maybe a little more than a month, and then they are over!  It’s freelance, so I am constantly looking for shows, companies or competitions to audition for.


10. Would you recommend this type of work to someone else?

I would only recommend this career for someone who is in love with it!  A performer has to have enough motivation to work a lot more and be more competitive than the average person to be successful.


Friday links

6 Apr

Spring Cleaning: How To Tidy Up Your Job Search

Is Your Job Search Based On Hearsay?

How to Get Accepted for a Job After Being Rejected

Shameless Self-Promotion Is a Good Thing in Job Interviews

Group Interviews: How to Impress Everyone

5 Skills Everyone Needs to Have on a Resume

6 great questions to ask on a job interview

7 Tried-and-True Steps for Negotiating a Job Offer

Interview: Special Ed Aide

2 Apr
This week I interviewed a woman who works with autistic preschoolers.  I’ve worked with kids for a while, so I know that preschool students are at a difficult (albeit cute) age to teach.  Working with special needs children poses extra challenges.  This interviewee said that she and her co-workers occasionally get slapped or bitten by frustrated students.  She made the comment that any time you work with people, you might get hurt or insulted but these kids are more up-front about it!  Although challenging, it sounds like a very rewarding job.

1. What is your job title?
My job title is:  Special Ed. Preschool Autism Paraprofessional.  I’m a classroom aide for an autism program.

2.  What are your job responsibilities?
My duties are to support the classroom teacher in the daily curriculum.  It is a very structured one-on-one program.  Each student has his or her own individual educational plan. My assigned subject is pre-literacy.
In my classroom, I am one of 8 aides.  The students rotate from each aide to another for a different subject or activity every ten minutes.  This helps to keep the students stimulated.  I enjoy it as well because I get to work with every student in the class.

3.  What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy most working with the children daily as they respond and develop their abilities.  It’s rewarding to see the progress they make by the end of the school year.

4.  What is challenging or frustrating about your job?
Working with autistic children can be a challenge.  Although autistic children share some common characteristics, each individual child responds differently to lessons and how they are presented.

5.  Is this your dream job, a stepping stone toward your dream job or something you kinda fell into?
This job was something new to me. I have not worked in education before this and basically took the position because it sounded interesting and was available.

6.  What did you study in college?
When I started college, I mostly concentrated on business courses thinking I would be working in an office.  At the same time, the most interesting classes to me were humanities subjects, especially literature.  Later, when I returned to college, I took general ed. classes as well as some computer courses.

7.  What did you want to be as a child?
When I was a young child, I wanted to be a full-time mother.  In high school, I thought I’d like to be a interior decorator.

8.  Do you earn enough money to make ends meet?  (If so, are you comfortable or barely getting by?)
I earn enough to make ends meet and be comfortable.

9.  How secure is your job?  Has the recession affected your field?
My job is reasonably secure, considering I work for a school district.  Special education has been fairly protected.

10.  Would you recommend this type of work to someone else?
I would recommend this type of job to anyone who enjoys working with children who need a lot of help.  It is challenging both physically and mentally but also very rewarding.  It is a real joy when an autistic child responds to what you are trying to teach them.  They can be very affectionate at times and that’s a perk.