A new app promises to make you just a little less embarrassing at your next round of karaoke. Vanido, which is billed as a "personal singing coach," provides daily lessons and real-time feedback to help improve your voice and your ear, as The Verge reports.
When you first sign up, the app—free on iOS with an Android version in the works—determines your vocal range, tailoring exercises to your natural vocal abilities. After that, the app assigns practice activities that involve various singing techniques, including chest voice, head voice, and foundational skills—though it doesn’t actually explain what those categories mean.
Fortunately, users don’t necessarily need to understand those categories to complete the tasks. Similar to playing the music video game Rock Band, notes appear as colored bricks that move across the screen. When they cross over the line, you have to hit that note, which you hear through your headphones simultaneously. A continuous orange line representing your voice illustrates which note you're singing, helping with adjustments.
However much you might want to turn this into performance boot camp, Vanido limits practice time. You can only take up to three lessons a day, although you can repeat them as many times as you’d like.
After a few days of trying the app, I have, disappointingly, not gained the vocal range of Whitney Houston. In fact, I can’t really tell if I’ve improved at all, even though the app records and scores every note I sing into my phone.
It’s hard to tell how well you’re doing based on your “VANI XP” level. And along with the score from each complete lesson, the app includes an encouraging note, meaning that I can’t really tell if I’m "doing great!" or if the app is just trying not to wound my pride. Based on how horrifying my voice sounds coming through my headphones, it's the latter.
Still, being able to see my pitch and exactly how far I've strayed from the note makes my lack of skills into a challenge to overcome, rather than simply an embarrassing disappointment. Each completed exercise feels like winning a game. I would often go back and repeat the same lessons immediately to get a better score. I looked forward to practicing every night, even though I refused to do it before everyone in my apartment was safely asleep.
Hopefully, doing all of these exercises means that someday my voice won't be quite so embarrassing. One day, maybe the app will even give me enough positive feedback to convince me to let someone else hear me sing.
[h/t The Verge]
All images courtesy Vanido