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How to Become a Singer

by Chetna Vasishth

This article is a transcript of a videoChetChat with Anoushka Kotak, a Pop singer incumbent freshman at Berklee College of Music, who talks about pursuing a career in music, admission to music schools round the world, Music Schools in India, costs, scholarships, opportunities to earn, True School of Music and much more. Catch her conversation about how to become a singer, how to become famous true school of music india, music school Chennai, Berklee college tour etc.

Anoushka Kotak took a gap year after her IB education and attended The True School of Music. She then applied to music schools around the world and got admission to each one of them. She has decided to attend Berklee College of Music from the forthcoming academic year

1. How early did the interest develop in becoming a singer

  1. By the end of IB she was certain of a career in singing
  2. She decided to take a gap year and prepare for music school admissions
  3. She wanted to study abroad since her interest is in Western Music
  4. Initially she learnt through Karaoke.com. Later she learnt classical, breath control, techniques etc. and tried to incorporate that into her training
  5. She practices singing at least 2-3 hours a day

2. Music Schools in India / Music Career in India

  1. The True School of Music (TSM) is a music college in Bombay
  2. Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM) is a music college in Chennai
  3. KM Conservatory (AR Rehman’s music school) is a music college in Chennai
  4. Shankar Mahadevan Online Academy
  5. TSM has a western music department as well as a Hindustani music department

3. The True School of Music (TSM)

  1. The western music faculty at TSM is from Amsterdam
  2. The Indian music faculty is also from Shankar Mahadevan Academy
  3. This is a three year program
  4. Courses include instrumental – vocal, all the instruments – keyboard, drums etc., sound engineering, production, DJ courses, Hindustani music also
  5. Practice rooms, drum rooms, instruments, recording rooms
  6. The program can be done part time as well along with an undergraduate courses
  7. SAM may be a degree course with an affiliation with a university abroad
  8. Accommodation – TSM does not have dorms or hostels, but they help out students looking for housing

4. Placements / Internships

  1. Bombay has a good Bollywood scene
  2. Bombay has a good indi scene as well, independent artists are performing at lots of venues
  3. Original songs and not cover albums are appreciated
  4. EP – extended playlists are out
  5. Scope is getting better in Bombay

5. Studying in India vs. Abroad

  1. Degree –
  2. If you’re into Bollywood or Hindustani / Carnatic or Bollywood music than India is a good place
  3. But if you’re into western then going out can give your tremendous exposure
  4. Also there are other courses like sound engineering, production etc.

6. Difference between Countries

  1. Conservatories in Europe make you the master of your instrument
  2. In UK there are several school doing contemporary music and you can also combine business and commercial music courses etc.
  3. In US most schools teach opera and classical, there are very few schools doing contemporary music
  4. Conservatories in Europe are either contemporary or Jazz music

7. Why she chose Berklee College of Music

  1. It has 12 music majors
  2. One of the top music schools in the world
  3. Networking with alumni which is doing so well

8. Admissions to Music colleges /Music Schools

  1. Some colleges in Europe require you to visit and audition
  2. Berklee visits the major cities of India on a tour and does a live audition around big cities of India
  3. Interview is a pre-recorded piece sometimes
  4. Berklee admission process includes – one prepared piece, one piece for sight reading, ear training and rhythm clapping and one piece of improvisation with a random chord progression that you need to sing over
  5. Types of songs – try looking for common elements between the criteria of each college
  6. Recording time and again is time consuming and expensive
  7. When sending videos to the college you can combine genres, mash up and experiment – work on your strengths, don’t sing something very complicated but a place you are doing very well
  8. High school scores – most music schools do not look for any of these, no essays or transcripts. When music schools are part of a University, then they require SAT scores and common app
  9. In UK there were multiple essays, UCAS essay, one college specific essay and special essays for a scholarship
  10. When you are applying for commercial music courses, you need to talk about your interest in business

9. Cost

  1. US is the most expensive
  2. UK is relatively cheaper and has lots of scholarships
  3. Europe is cheaper sometimes than anywhere else in the world
  4. Language – sometimes in US you need to audition in Italian or Latin or even German or French for opera course.
  5. Jazz is usually English
  6. TSM course is Rs. 4 lakhs a year for a vocals course. Three year course, with the third year being more expensive

10. Opportunities to Earn

  1. Can teach at the foundation course
  2. Performing at Gigs is an option
  3. Teaching at a high school or taking private classes
  4. Can give music for a web series on YouTube
  5. Can score a web series
  6. Can work for a music company
  7. TSM is a part time course so there is time to work as well alongside

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