Singing is hard. But like anything else, practice helps — whether you’re a professionally trained vocalist or just want to sound less pitchy for your next karaoke outing. Besides, traditional vocal coaches are an expensive investment if you’re not planning on a career that’s musical in nature.
Vanido is a new app that might be able to help, claiming to be a “personal singing coach” by offering personalized daily exercises to improve both your voice and your ability to recognize notes.
The app is built around “real-time visual pitch detection” — i.e., detecting what note you’re singing and showing you the results visually as you sing it. Each day the app will give you a set of three exercises to try, broken up by four categories: agility, foundation, chest voice, and head voice. Vanido looks to gamify your daily practice by grading your performance on a three-star scale, and awarding experience and level ups (although right now, there’s no social features for comparing stats with friends).
I spent some time trying out Vanido, but while the app is a cool concept when it works, it’s still very much a work in progress.
Vanido fared well when it came to recognizing notes, and dialed in on my range pretty accurately. But I ran into some issues when it came to actually working through the exercises. While the voice recognition works seamlessly with the iPhone’s built-in microphone, the daily exercises require a pair of headphones with a mic, and despite my best efforts in trying (along with multiple pairs of headphones) I couldn’t get Vanido to smoothly process notes.
That said, the app is incredibly well designed, with bright colors and a fun interface, and for what it’s worth, the developers fully acknowledge that things are still in active development. As it is, the exercise list has a note that “new games are added with each update,” and the main menu of the app has a grayed-out “Vocal Heat” warm-up that should be coming soon, so there’s clearly more to come.
Vanido is available now on the App Store for iOS users, with an Android version also in the works. I’ve only really used the app for a single day, so it’s hard to tell at this whether or not the daily practice will actually extend my range or make me a better singer in the long run.
Still, assuming the app continues to get updated and those mic issues get sorted out, I can see it being a fun addition to my daily schedule. And who knows, maybe some day I’ll finally be able to hit that high note in “Take On Me.”