Attention “American Idol” wannabes: It’s time to come out of the shower and into the spotlight. Though musical talent alone won’t guarantee successful singing careers, the proper education from performing arts schools provide the opportunity to make your unique voice heard.Warming Up For many performing artists, choosing singing degrees over more traditional pursuits is the only way to be true to themselves and their calling. That was certainly the case for Sunita Puleo, 29, who holds a bachelor’s degree in music with a concentration in vocal performance from American University (Washington, D.C.).”[Vocal performance] was more of a challenge to my whole being than my government major, which I dropped,” explains the New York City native. “Singing involves my brain, but also my heart, body, and soul. It’s very physical and emotional work to interpret a song well.”And, performing arts schools offer plenty of hands-on experience, which is critical to gain the practice necessary for perfection. “There were lots of opportunities to be in musicals, concerts, and recitals,” says Puleo of her degree program. “Tons of coaching was readily available.”Singing Her Own SongWith a degree under her belt, Puleo continues to sing, teach voice lessons, and direct children’s musicals, and she recently released a CD of original songs. Though she’s always been a singer, singing schools propelled her to a professional level.”My classical and jazz vocal training enabled me to sing folk and pop music with better tone and in a healthy way that preserved my voice,” she explains. “I can often use a wider range of notes and styles because of my training.”Making Beautiful MusicFor those pursuing singing degrees, Puleo recommends researching the technique taught at the singing schools that interest you. “Make sure it will not end up hurting or straining your voice,” she cautions.Once accepted into performing arts schools, Puleo advises taking as much real-world coursework as possible. “Double-major if you can, or get a master’s degree in something complementary, like music production or marketing,” she counsels. “You can come out with an awesome voice, but if you don’t know how to market your talent or team with others who do, no one will hear it.”To launch successful singing careers, Puleo underscores the importance of well-rounded musicianship. “I’ve met many instrumentalists who refuse to work with singers because we’re known for not knowing or caring about things like keys, time signatures, improvisation, and style,” she says. “Love music, not just singing.”Spoken like a true American idol.