Blackpink, Big Bang, BTS, and Girls’ Generation are just a few of the most famous K-pop groups that are well known over here in the states. K-pop is a music genre that stands for Korean Pop or Korean popular music and is a huge deal in South Korea to not only fans but aspiring artists. When you walk around a major city in South Korea, teenagers and young adults fill the streets to perform their dancing and singing hoping to be discovered next by a big label. Street performances are often popular in major US cities like New York and Los Angeles, as they are in Korea yet more competitive. Korean pop agents are always looking for the next big artist or group to cast, which makes chances seem attainable until every talented dancer or singer can attend classes for a shot at becoming a K-pop star. 

Going to school for K-pop is not uncommon in South Korea. Students are known to spend hours after their school studies, studying dance moves and singing lessons. Even with classes, aspiring K-pop performers must go through several auditions to be hand-picked by a record label. When chosen by a record label, they are then sent off to a demanding training school for years and willingly give up their freedom to get a shot at become a K-pop sensation. Once in an official training school, students are expected to study music, dance, and language on top of their other studies which some dreamers drop out of to mainly focus only on their music careers. On top of studying, they are trained on strict diets, proper etiquette, public image and overpacked schedules. The market is so saturated with competition, that there is so much pressure to be the most hardworking talented star to make their way to the top. 

Going to a K-pop training school has its risks, as students must sign a contract beforehand. Exiting a contract could cost more than finishing out a term which could be anywhere from months to 10 years long. There is even a chance of never becoming famous with all the practice and schooling put into being a K-pop star. Yet knowing the risks, many K-pop enthusiasts still rush to the plate to take on the challenge. Popular training labels, like SM Entertainment or YG are known for managing the biggest K-pop artists such as Bigbang and Blackpink members. Even after debuting as a big artist, there is still struggle to stay at the top of the charts. With K-pop as one Korea’s major music genres, everyone is working towards the same goal and surviving to stay relevant.

Written By: Chena Morrison