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The best apps for your singing training 2020

Sing better thanks to the app

Singing apps put to the test

(Image: © Shutterstock, Paul Tarasenco)

The range of apps is now hard to keep track of and there is a whole range of useful apps for almost every area. Of course there are also a variety of apps for us musicians and especially for singers.

Almost everyone who tunes an instrument from time to time probably has a simple tuner app on their smartphone. But which apps are the right ones for vocal training? What can be practiced with the apps? And which apps are the right ones for practicing? We'll show you which apps are available and which ones are really worthwhile.

The overview

There are so many singing apps out there that end up using similar methods. Most apps contain standard exercises with runs / scales that are sung and check your intonation. Some apps do this better than others, some like to crash or are simply not programmed as lovingly and professionally. Here you will find a small selection of six apps that I find extremely well done.

iReal Pro app

  • available for Android, MacOs and iOs
  • can be used on smartphones, tablets and computers
  • costs a one-time fee of 14.99 euros
  • no free version

iReal Pro is a play-along app that contains a variety of playbacks for songs of different styles. In addition, there are various chord changes excercies (also as playback), which are especially made for jazz musicians. Different styles of jazz or chord progressions can be practiced here.

The playbacks simulate a band. The sound is not particularly inspiring and otherwise these recordings cannot be compared with a real band, but here you have the opportunity to set keys, rhythms, tempos and volume ratios individually. The volume of the various instruments can be regulated via a mixer, while the slide function can be used to change tempos very quickly. With the large selection of rhythms there is something for everyone. In addition to the usual jazz grooves / swing, you can set everything from glam funk to bluegrass to tango argentino - so you can play around and try out a lot in the iReal Pro app. In addition, many more songs can be downloaded from playlists from the iReal Pro forum.

If you want, you can practice improvising on the chord changes for hours, because the playback continues continuously, unless you press the stop button. The chart only shows the chords and the form parts, but not the melody or text. In addition, you can set larger chord diagrams for guitar, piano or ukulele.

I think the app is a good way to practice songs that you already know or know. Unfortunately there is no melody function for those who are new to the song.

The band only plays the accompaniment. Because there is neither an intro nor a starting tone. So you have to use the accompanying chords to hear where the melody is - very awkward. Grades would help. However, you have to do without it with I Real Pro. In this respect, I think the app is only of limited use for singers.

Alternatively, you can use a Vocal Real Book download:

On a newer generation iPad you can then do a split screen and see the notes from the Realbook and the iReal Pro at the same time. That could help. However, you still don't have the starting note. The only thing that helps is reaching for the instrument.

iReal Pro App - Music Book and Backing Tracks

Conclusion:

The app is very practical for all those who want to try out their repertoire in different keys, tempos or rhythms. As I said, you can't expect to be inspired in any way by the accompaniment. The whole thing is only intended for practicing things like timing, intonation, form or improvisation. So very pragmatic things. If that's exactly what you need, the app is a good thing. And for 14.99 euros you get a lot of playalongs.

Voxercise

  • Free version with basic exercises available
  • Individual packages can be booked for warmups, transitional exercises, riffs & runs, each € 5.49
  • Complete package costs 14.99 €
  • Available for iPhone & Android

The Voxercise app makes a tidy and professional impression. I became aware of this because all kinds of singers use or advertise this app on Instagram. The app also has very good ratings in the iTunes Store.

Voxercise itself applies as a warm-up app and the exercises are based on that. What is a shame at first: There is no way to test the app slimmed down, but only a measly demo with three exercises and at least a video about correct breathing and support. For the complete package, the app is also relatively expensive.

How good are the Voxercise features?

In the app itself, you can set your range and choose whether you want to sing the exercises with piano or vocal accompaniment. The integrated tuner shows whether you are singing exactly right or too high or too low.

Also included are videos demonstrating how to do the exercises, which is definitely a plus.

The app is recommended in terms of professionalism and usability, even if it is a bit expensive compared to other not so nicely designed apps.

Voxercise - Vocal Warmups for Everyone!

Vanido

The app with the reminder to practice

  • Free version available with three calisthenics per day
  • Premium version with an endless number of exercises can be booked for € 25 per year or € 3.99 per month
  • Currently only available for iPhone, Android in planning

Vanido is also a nicely structured app that determines your range when you open it for the first time and then takes the first kick in the buttocks: You can set a time at which Vanido reminds you to practice. Vanido encourages you to do three exercises a day. That doesn't sound like a lot, but if, like me, you sometimes don't even get to structured practice or simply forgets it, this little unit is great for you.

What can the Vanido features do?

Vanido also contains exercises that primarily train and measure intonation. I think it's a bit of a shame that you can't vary the pace of the exercises. For Vanido, the focus is on the training and "challenge" aspect. In the free version you will only be unlocked for further exercises if you have sung the previous exercises correctly.

Another plus point: Vanido has a link to Spotify and AppleMusic and enables you to sing along with your favorite songs and practice. This way, the practice doesn't become too monotonous.

However, Vanido is also a very expensive app that has to be paid for on a monthly basis and the content of which cannot even be downloaded to the smartphone. If the subscription expires, the exclusive content is gone.

Vanido - the app with the reminder to practice

Sight singing

Singing from the sight made easy

  • Free version available
  • Premium version with additional setting options for a one-time fee of € 7.99
  • Available for iPhone and iPad

This app may be more relevant for some of you than for others: Sight Singing trains you to sing according to notes. Although I almost never (have to) sing according to notes myself, I think the app is really good as an exercise for the targeted singing of intervals.

The app is available in a slimmed-down version for free and can then be increased. Set the key / octave, tempo, degree of difficulty, time signature and a few other little things with which you can put together a practice routine.

Sight Singing - Singing from sight made easy

SwiftScales

Practice singing with piano accompaniment

  • Free version including 4 beginner exercises
  • Ad-free Pro upgrade costs € 4.49 once
  • Available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones & tablets

I noticed the SwiftScales app in the AppStore because of its many positive reviews. SwiftScales is something for the singers among us who don't feel like having their exercises always tracked and want a companion to warm them up with. In contrast to the other apps presented, SwiftScales does not measure the pitch, i.e. the pitch of your singing.

What can the Swift Scales app do?

The amount of advertising that is displayed again and again is a bit annoying. If you really want to practice, you probably neither have the time nor the inclination to watch promotional videos. However, advertising can be avoided if you opt for a "paid version".

The free version contains 4 exercises with further different focuses. So there are not necessarily "only" 4 exercises, but rather 10 to 16. Great for getting to know the app.

In contrast to the other apps, this one is not particularly expensive, but you cannot check with this app whether you are singing correctly, which I find a bit unfortunate depending on my level of knowledge.

But what is on the plus side: There is the possibility to create your own scale exercises. Great for those who always want to have their favorite exercise with them on their smartphone.

SwiftScales - Practice Singing with Piano Accompaniment

Tenuto

The music theory app - reading notes, recognizing notes, ear training

  • No free version
  • A one-time fee of € 4.49
  • Available for iPhone and iPad

With Tenuto I would like to introduce you to an app that is not only specialized for us singers, but is definitely also very useful. Tenuto is a comprehensive and inexpensive app for € 4.49 that practices reading and recognizing notes on the guitar tab, piano and ear training.

In my article about Singer clichés I went into more detail on some faux pas that we singers like to tap into - an insufficient knowledge of music theory in general is part of it and I am convinced that every singer who plays in a band is taken seriously wants to deal with a spark of harmony & co. If only to be able to communicate properly with his bandmates or to be able to write a song.

If you want to practice this practically, the app is exactly the right thing for you.

What can the Tenuto app do?

In a playful way, you are asked to recognize keys based on the accidentals, to name chords correctly and to hear intervals correctly. The latter is particularly relevant for singers, for example when we like to Background want to sing or want to sing the backings themselves on our studio recordings. If you can't sing a suitable third ad hoc, you're a bit stupid.

Tenuto - The Music Theory App - reading notes, recognizing notes, ear training

ScatAbility

  • Free version with basic exercises available
  • Individual packages with five additional songs can be booked for € 10.99 each
  • Available for iPhone and iPad

Learn to sing scat solos. ScatAbility is clearly an advanced vocal app. Because the virtuoso handling of the voice, which this app requires, requires previous knowledge and experience. But for aspiring jazz singers, ScatAbility could be helpful and inspiring. However, app training like this does not replace the usual methods of learning to improvise.

The free version contains the so-called Scat Pack 0 with seven songs, each sung by professional and sometimes well-known jazz singers. The songs consist of simple chord progressions and have different grooves and tempos. Most of the playbacks were created with "Band in the Box". The developer Michele Weir recorded some of the piano accompaniments herself.

That's how it works:

1. Listen
2. Sing along
3. Improvise
4. Record
5. Listen

Each track contains a sung scat solo.
So you can listen to the solo and sing along or sing your own improvised solo over the playback. Playback can be stopped and restarted at any time. You can choose whether you want to hear the countoff on / off or not.
The loop function allows you to hear a certain point in the song in a loop. Personally, I find this very practical. It is particularly helpful in difficult passages because you have to hear them more often before you can master them.

What other functions does the app have?

In the settings you can find the buttons: Info, Mixer, Notation and Rec

Under INFO you get all the information z. B. About the style, the tempo, the key and the instrumentation.

At the MIXER you can regulate the volume of the instrumental playback, the voice and the solo melody played by the synthesizer.
So you have the choice whether you just want to sing along with the playback or hear the voice and / or the instrumental melody.

At NOTATION you can find the chord progressions on a sheet of music. The cursor marks the measure currently being played while recording. Unfortunately, the solo is not listed. I would have liked that as a jazz singer. So you just have to rely on your hearing and don't know exactly which notes are really being sung.

When you on REC presses, you have the opportunity to record your own voice and listen to it later. The recording can then be saved or deleted.

If you liked the free version, you can buy additional practice packs from the seven jazz singers. For 10.99 euros each, you can get five more songs.

In the general information you will find a lot of valuable hints, tips and information about the individual songs, the different levels and about the use of the app e.g. B. in a group. There are even suggestions for exercises and homework. Top!

Under the point GLOSSARY a lot of terms from jazz theory are explained. Great and enormously educational! Because you should have a basic knowledge of music theory in jazz if you want to learn to Scatten.

ScatAbility with good exercises and valuable tips to learn Scat

My conclusion:

  • None of these apps can replace a real singing teacher and individual singing training. But neither should they.
  • If you want to have a bit of routine on the go or need a reminder to practice, the apps are great for you.
  • Especially because there are many different variants, there is sure to be something for everyone. It is also worth spending some money on this.
  • The only thing that is not fun is that the really nicely prepared apps are also quite expensive.
  • On the other hand: Anyone who makes music at least as a part-time job can then also deduct the costs as advertising costs from the tax in the tax return. Nice too.