Believe it or not, your iPhone can help you become a better singer! There are many apps that you can download for little to no cost to help you with your music training in between singing lessons.
Here are eight recommendations for iPhones and iPads from two top vocal coaches.
If you want to practice vocal exercises with the help of a live instructor, TakeLessons Live is a great app to download. As you work your way through a variety of singing classes, you’ll get valuable practice and expert guidance. With a free membership option for access to online classes, there’s no excuse not to take advantage of this app in your spare time!
VoCo Vocal Coach
It’s hard for us singers to find the time and space to warm up our voices when we are constantly on the go between voice lessons or auditions. But with VoCo Vocal Coach, you can take the app’s warm-up exercises with you wherever you go – for free! I like this app because it has a variety of interesting warm-ups, including scales and arpeggios. Using the speakers built into your iPhone, you can sing along with the tracks, plug in your headphones, or sync your phone to your car’s stereo system. You can arrange basic vocal warm-ups to start and then work your way up to a more advanced level. Also, you are able to adjust the range of where you want your warm-ups to start, depending if you are an alto, soprano, tenor, bass, etc.
In addition to the app’s audio demonstration for each exercise, it actually shows you a visual of the warm-up, as well. Lastly, there is also the option to purchase additional warm-ups through the app.
I highly suggest downloading a piano app if you are a singer, because you never know when you are going to need your first starting note or need to hear a chord before you perform. There are many great piano apps that will display a visual of a piano keyboard, and you can click any note you want to hear (sort of like your own personal pitch pipe!). One example is Touch Piano!, a free app available from the iTunes store. This is a great app to have right before you go on stage to perform or in the audition room, especially if you have to sing a cappella. You want to make sure you are singing on key and that your first note is on pitch!
As a singer, it’s important to always keep up with your ear-training exercises. It can be boring, but to be a professional singer, it’s important that you can hear the difference between high and low pitches, and if you’re singing in tune or out of tune. Lucky for you, the free Ear Worthy App can help you do just this! This app makes learning basic ear-training skills fun and simple, and it challenges you at the same time.
This fun, free app will strengthen your sight-reading skills. Using the app’s timer, you will be challenged to identify as many notes in both bass and treble clef as you can within 60 seconds. If you really feel up to a challenge, it also has the option to do this with the solfège method! The great thing about this app is that the more you use it, the quicker you will become at sight reading.
Practice Center App
Created by professional musicians for professional musicians, this app will help you get the most out of your practice routine! Designed for the iPad, the app can be downloaded for $4.99, and it allows you to actually video record your practice session. When recording the video, you have the option to save it and view it later, or even upload it and send it to friends! It’s great to record yourself singing, so that you can listen back and hear things that you need to improve on. The app also has several built-in features, such as a stopwatch, metronome, and tuning notes.
An app I have enjoyed with my students has been NoteWorks. The graphics are great for younger students, and the music track on the home screen is pretty fun, as well. The home screen allows you to choose your level, and shows you the range of notes on the staff you’ll need to identify, as well as the speed of the notes. There is also a “help” option, which is awesome for true beginners.
When you’re ready, hit play! The notes will float from right to left on the staff, and there is a keyboard below. There is a small crab that eats the notes as you identify them. The goal is to not let the notes hit the train at the end, because it gets power from them reaching the end of the line, and the train progresses forward, ending the game if you’re not quick enough. If you’re using the help option, the correct note on the keyboard will light up in green. I’ve encouraged several of my students to play this game in their practice time, and I have found it to be quite effective in their recognition of notes on the staff, as well as the keyboard.
Theta Music Trainer
Another singing app I have enjoyed using myself is Theta Music Trainer. The free version has been just fine for my purposes, although there are several other options. The categories include sound, pitch, rhythm, scales, and intervals. There are dozens of games and activities to keep students occupied for hours, and the best part is that they are truly fun!
One game I’ve enjoyed within Theta is in the Melody category: Parrot Phrases. The game starts with a tip or hint to begin, and then plays the scale for you. After you have the scale in your ear, the parrot plays the three notes you need to identify, and you play them back on the keyboard.
Like NoteWorks, I enjoy the integration with the piano, which helps students identify the notes on the keyboard, as well as the notes using solfège. This game is one that I would use with a student who is more advanced with their knowledge of solfège. If I wanted to tailor this game to a beginner student, I would sing three notes on a vowel and then have the student sing them back on the same vowel, and then try to identify the solfège.
These fun and affordable singing apps prove that you can always find a time and place to warm up and practice your theory. Whether you’re in between voice lessons, waiting in the wings for an audition or performance, or even just jamming with friends, you can use them with you on the go.
Readers, what other singing apps do you love? Leave a comment below, and let us know!