The human voice is the most expressive “instrument” in the orchestra of sound that is music. Nothing can express or invoke the emotions of the listener like a beautiful voice! Of course, developing your vocal ability takes time and practice. It’s important to understand and develop proper breathing technique, pitch recognition, and range.
The traditional method of learning to sing is to study with a qualified vocal teacher. A good teacher understands their students’ strengths and weaknesses, and can develop lesson plans designed to address their needs. They will work with you to develop the techniques necessary to develop your abilities. Your teacher is also there to push you to move outside of your comfort zone and guide you on the path of learning.
Today, however, computers and technology are changing the way we communicate, get our news, and even learn new skills. If you’ve always been interested in becoming a vocalist, there are many online and singing software options available that can supplement your vocal lessons. Advances in music learning software have grown and include many different singing software programs to help you to learn to sing.
While nothing can entirely replace the benefits of working with a qualified teacher, these singing software learning programs can help you develop the skills necessary to become a good vocalist. If you are just beginning, these packages offer a cost-effective way to help you to decide if you’d like to pursue your studies further. Let’s take a look at some of the singing software options available.
Learning to Sing Using Singing Software
Learning to sing requires enthusiasm, persistence, patience, focus, and dedication. Without these basic attributes, no teacher in the world, human or software will help you to learn. These three software packages and your desire can get you started on a lifetime of learning!
1. Cantovation Sing and See – $49 Mac and Windows
This software package takes an interesting approach to learning, by enabling you to see your voice on your computer screen, and using pitch analysis algorithms to give you feedback as you sing.
A piano keyboard on screen highlights the note you are singing, and then displays a graph that shows your voice in relation to absolute pitch using a visual musical scale. When you sing a musical interval, the software shows how your voice makes the transition between notes, and whether you overshoot or undershoot the target pitch. This helps you to develop pitch accuracy and intonation, two vital skills you’ll need as a vocalist.
2. eMedia Singing Method – $49.95 Mac and Windows
eMedia’s Singing Method software is a set of over 230 step-by-step lessons designed to take you from the beginning stages to an advanced level of learning to sing. It covers folk, pop, jazz, R&B, classical, opera voice, and show tunes, and features over 80 complete songs, including hits by John Lennon, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Diana Ross.
Also included are live piano performance versions and MIDI file versions that you can speed up or slow down. Interactive feedback shows whether you’re singing in tune and the performance evaluation mode offers specific feedback on mistakes and gives you an overall score.
Progress tracking allows you to print personalized reports and keep track of your scores to measure your improvement. The program also includes a built-in metronome, and you can learn to sight read with interactive ear training and quizzes to test your pitch knowledge. The lessons feature Ory Brown, who has a masters in music education and over 25 years of experience, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and on the Late Show with David Letterman. This package is a great value for the price!
3. EarMaster Pro 6 Sight Singing and Ear Training – $49.95 Mac and Windows
This is a comprehensive ear-training program for singers of all levels. It includes two courses with over 2,000 exercises for sight singing, ear training, and rhythmic studies, ranging from beginner through advanced stages. As you progress through the exercises, the difficulty level raises automatically to match your new skills.
With a detailed statistics window, it’s easy to track your progress and analyze your strengths and weaknesses. You can review your results lesson-by-lesson or day-to-day. This helps you identify areas needing more work and you can then customize your lessons to focus on those areas needing work. This program not only works for singers, it can also be used by any musician to improve their ear.
These three singing software programs are only a sample of what’s available online for the vocalist. There are also hundreds of free lessons on sites like YouTube, live online lesson opportunities, and many other eBooks, study guides, and videos out there!
Learning Using Software vs. One-on-One Learning
These singing software packages will teach you a lot about your voice and the techniques involved with singing, but are they enough? The software approach offers flexibility and the ability to progress at your own pace while structuring your lessons around your schedule. However, it also requires a level of dedication that may be lacking in some singers, especially in younger students. It can be very frustrating when you have difficulty mastering a challenging technique. This is where working with an experienced instructor to help you through the rough patches can be the difference between a lifetime of music and giving up!
Singing software is an excellent tool that can work well for some individuals who are driven to succeed, but most of these packages work best when combined with studying with an experienced music teacher. There are no shortcuts to learning to play any musical instrument properly, including learning to sing. With practice, the latest cutting-edge learning tools, and the help of a qualified teacher to keep you motivated and inspired, you can achieve your dreams of learning to sing. The most important step is the first one, though: just get started!
Photo by Mike Finkelstein