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  • Writer's pictureKaylee Nichols

Back to School: Things I wish I spent more time with in college.

I am in my 4th year as a professional opera singer. As an undergrad who knew NOTHING about the world of opera, I definitely have some things I wish I would have worked on more.


With my current set of skills, I can play melody lines, bass lines, some harmony in the right hand, a few chords, but not a full accompaniment. At this point in my career, it would save me some coaching time if my skills were up to scale.


As an opera singer, you have to communicate in a number of languages as if you were a native speaker. This is an area where I have to spend the most time when preparing a score. Now, I'm having to play some catch up and work on languages myself. Imagine the time you'd cut in half if you already had a handle on Italian when you have those recit scenes!

Exploring outside opportunities

I went into grad school not having a proper understanding of what a summer program was. So going into grad school having to audition for them right away was trial by fire for me. There are some opportunities for undergraduate singers to continue training in the summer. I recommend exploring if they might be a good option for you. Even in grad school, I graduated without any professional experience under my belt. This wasn't detrimental to my career, but it meant I had to work really hard that first year to network and get things moving. That blog is coming soon.

Listening to singers and operas that didn't pertain to my voice part.

I'm still working on this! It is so easy to get sucked into listening to operas that you have future roles in. I love these operas, but there are so many other good ones out there! There is also a history of amazing singers out there to learn from. I'm currently working through a long list of shows that I've never seen. My goal is to finish that list by the end of the year!

Stopped to smell the roses

Don't overschedule!

Yours truly as Cherubino in at Lee University. Photo by Landon Jones

What are things you wished you had spent more time on? If you're a teacher, what do you wish your students would spend more time on?

Let me know in the comments!

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