(Kpop Behind the Scenes) Kpop Idol's Trainee Life

YG Entertainment's new boy group Winner. After going through rigorous training programs, they are about to make debut as professional singers.

As you may already know, k-pop idols should go through their training period before making a debut. K-pop agencies train the trainees in their own systematic ways, and trainees need to hang in there if they want to become stars. SM Entertainment, home to famous k-pop stars such as TVXQ, Super Junior, BoA and EXO, is regarded as the k-pop agency which formulated the training system for the first time, while Korean music industry has been producing many competitive singers through the meticulous training system. So, let's talk about k-pop idol's trainee life.

Super Junior's Eunhyuk and Donghae had been trained hard as SM Entertainment's trainees.

Kpop Trainee's Daily Schedule
Countless trainees have to go through rigorous training program. From morning till night, trainees take a variety of lessons. Vocal and dance training are the most important parts of the program, and through the hours-long training, trainees improve their singing and dancing skills. They take monthly test, and they receive daily homework too.

Apart from vocal and dance training, trainees have to receive educations of foreign language and acting. These days, k-pop idols are active not only in Korea but also in foreign countries, so to become well-equipped to be active as worldwide stars, trainees study foreign languages even before they make official debut. And it is also essential for k-pop trainees to receive education of acting because most of idol stars are recently managing both singing and acting as talented all-around entertainers.

With these tight schedules, trainees practice hard early and late. Oh, of course, if a trainee is a school student, he or she starts the training after school. Training hours for school students is usually from 6pm to 10pm.


2NE1's Sandara Park in her trainee days.

Extra Homeworks
But that’s not all. Trainees have to keep their weight under control through regular exercise and food intake regulation. Keeping weight under control could be more difficult than you can imagine because the trainees do intense exercise and only eat tiny bird-like amounts to lose weight. K-pop agencies set each trainee’s weight loss goal and they check trainees' weight day after day.

And there are some k-pop agencies which give sex education and etiquette lessons to their trainees. A fair number of trainees are teenagers, and the agencies try to offer basic educations that the trainees should have. Recently, k-pop agencies are strengthening the education that builds their trainees' character because they believe building an upright character is as important as improving singing and dancing skills.

Girls' Generation's Yoona's old picture. She also went through her trainee period.

Possibility of Debut
However, unfortunately, not all the trainees can make debut as professional singers. Some of them give it up at their own free will, while others are made compulsorily redundant for many reasons. The probability of success is one in three, usually.

Well, averagely, you can say k-pop idols' length of training period is 2 years. However, it depends on who it is. 2AM's Jo Kwon has put up with 7 years' training period, while Super Junior's Kyuhyun debuted only after 3 months' training period. And the Girls' Generation members’ average length of training period is 5 years.

The video below shows TVXQ's Yunho being embarrassed as seeing himself dancing in trainee days.