Master Your Singing Learning with Technology: My Top 3 Must-Have Apps.
Written By Mary Williams – Choir Leader, Singer & Blog Writer
Do you want to learn music faster, be more accurate and embrace technology on your smartphone to make it easier? Gone are the days of learning at your rehearsals, and hoping you remember it! Nowadays, most groups I belong to supply learning tracks and resources so we can practice at home. So to help fellow choir singers and vocalists, I’ve written this blog about the apps I use called “Master Your Singing Learning with Technology: My Top 3 Must-Have Apps” to help singers everywhere.
I’ve always had a deep passion for discovering the most effective and efficient ways to learn new music and enhance note accuracy. We need to support and bring up those who may find reading sheet music challenging – if not entirely downright daunting when it comes to being part of a choir, band or solo vocalist.
Over the years as a singer and music director, I’ve witnessed firsthand the tremendous impact technology can have on myself and a singer’s growth, empowering us to learn, improve and flourish.
There are countless tools available today to help us achieve our musical aspirations, and it’s my absolute pleasure to share my top three favourite singing practice apps with you.
These apps have not only made my learning journey more enjoyable, but they have also completely transformed the way I teach and practice. They have played an instrumental role in helping me become a better singer, and I wholeheartedly believe they can do the same for you and your fellow singers.
It’s a joy to see how technology can bring us together and help us all shine in the world of singing music.
Overview: AnyTune is a fantastic music practice app. It allows me to upload the vocal song tracks we are learning in my chorus, quartet or choir and sing along with the music. This is a better option than Apple Music or a similar music streaming service because of its outstanding features.
Platforms: Website, Apple, Android
Among many other valuable things it can do, it allows us to isolate parts of a song that we may need to work on that we find tricky and put it on a repeat cycle until the words and notes stick in your brain.
You can also slow down or speed up songs without affecting their pitch, making it perfect for tackling those tricky sections working on timing and intonation when you can’t get all the notes whilst playing at full speed.
Say you have changed the pitch of a song. You can move the track up and down in semitones increments with a simple click on the screen.
Key features of AnyTune
- Import songs from your library or the cloud
- Slow down or speed up playback without affecting the pitch
- Loop-specific sections for focused practice
- Adjust the pitch of the song to match your vocal range
- Add markers and notes to track your progress
I recall some of my singers struggling with a particularly fast-paced section in a finale piece we were learning for a joint chorus concert last November. It was too fast to hear the notes and timing and sounded like a complete car crash when we tried to sing it.
I suggested they use AnyTune to practice at home at their own speed and pace, and we slowed the section right down. This allowed them to focus on hearing the notes, hone their technique speeding it up little by little and gradually building up the choir singer’s confidence.
Over a few days of practice, they could sing the passage at its intended tempo, and their improvement was remarkable when we all met together again!
TE Tuner (TonalEnergy Tuner) is an all-in-one tuner, metronome, and tone generator I’ve found invaluable working with my choir. It’s designed to help musicians improve their intonation, rhythm, and overall musicianship and reflect on what they do.
Platform: Apple, Android
The best thing ever is the smiley face when you hit the perfect right notes – it’s like getting a gold star sticker. I suspect we are all big kids, really – especially me!
During a recent A cappella rehearsal, my choir had difficulty singing a chord in tune, and I identified the issue. In one voice section, the problem was caused by both a leap from a lower note to a high one and then needing to use the correct vocal placement for the vowel. It was essential to get this right – otherwise, it would sound wrong.
I brought out TE Tuner on my Ipad and had everyone watch the visual feedback as they sang. Then I gave guidance to help sort out the singing issue. This immediate visual representation of their pitch helped them understand where they were going, sharp or flat – and they could make the necessary adjustments.
Everyone was happy when we achieved a Green smiley face on TE Tuner.
I also use this app as a pitch pipe. Plus, I rate the metronome feature on uptempo numbers going through a speaker to ensure we stay in tip-top time. Usually, with a frustrated sigh from my choir when the metronome doesn’t stay in time with them :-). However, that’s why we need it, as the metronome doesn’t lie!
Key features of TE Tuner
- Chromatic tuner with a wide range of pitch detection
- Metronome with various time signatures and subdivisions
- Tone generator for practising pitch matching and ear training
- Visual feedback to help you stay in tune and on time
- Record and playback feature for self-assessment
WhatsMyNote is a sheet music scanning app that has been a game-changer for many of my singers who don’t read music, don’t want to carry a keyboard or even know how to play the right notes on a keyboard. You don’t need to know with this App.
Platform: Apple, Android
It allows singers to identify the notes quickly, play the note in the correct key signature, and see other musical elements in a piece of music, making the learning process faster and more enjoyable.
I use it to upload a PDF of my sheet music or take a photo of my music. You can change the stave (and it’s finally tuned for barbershoppers and A cappella Singers). So I usually ensure it is set to the bass clef playing an octave higher than written for female voices. Then you press the notes you see on the screen with your finger. It’ll play the one you touch! I’m not a natural or keen pianist, so I’ll often use it to give my chorus their starting chords when working mid-song rather than use the painfully out-of-tune piano in the hall or drag my dodgy keyboard (that’s another story!) to rehearsals.
We use this in our rehearsals when people want to check their lines. For example, in a lead/alto one sectional recently, I spotted my diligent section leader, who didn’t have a keyboard, running her finger along the screen. She was playing the group their notes out loud where they were making mistakes so they could hear the right ones. Doing this helped the singers quickly grasp the correct melody, improve note accuracy and answer any doubts they were feeling, and their confidence soared.
It’s a game-changer that anyone can use.
What’s My Note Key Features
- Scan printed sheet music or import PDF files to get a touch screen sheet music “note player”.
- Recognises notes, rests, key signatures, and more
- It provides instant playback of the scanned music as you touch the screen, note by note. However, it doesn’t play back the whole song (there are other apps for that).
Embrace the apps to make your music learning easier and quicker!
Regardless of your age or experience as a singer, welcoming technology into your musical journey can radically transform your growth. The apps I’ve introduced today to help master your singing learning – AnyTune, TE Tuner, and WhatsMyNote – have become an inseparable part of my teaching and personal practice.
I warmly encourage you to explore these apps and witness firsthand the difference they can make for you and your singing friends. As you embark on this adventure, you’ll find yourselves developing greater accuracy and confidence as performers.
So, go ahead and let technology lend a helping hand, and remember to enjoy every moment of your singing journey. I wish you all the joy and harmony that music has to offer!
Thank you for reading the singing blog post “Master Your Singing Learning with Technology: My Top 3 Must-Have Apps. I hope you find it useful.
Please subscribe to my blog. And then please share my post on social media and recommend my website to your friends and choirs. I’d love to make more of my hobby writing, and I need your support to make it happen.
Come and join my choir if you live within driving distance of Bristol on a Thursday evening.
PS It costs money to run this blog for hosting, theme and other website costs. If you liked this article, please show your support to cover the costs and click here to make a small donation or buy me a coffee.