Published August 2021
I took a look inside dozens of online singing courses, chose the best ones and field tested them. I believe these courses can have a healthy place on the menu of a singer/ singing student. Even as the main course.
See, online tools (also for example karaoke apps) can be great for a singer. Good online courses are complimentary to personal lessons or even cover things that personal lessons don't. They can offer the bigger picture that individual lessons not always do. A good singing course can be a tool to keep your vocal progress on track.
What you'll know after reading this article
You'll know what is the specialty of each online singing course. What makes them stand out compared to others in terms of teacher background, content and teaching style?
Note: I am not here to rate the courses or judge the vocal technique that the course creators teach. Different teachers teach differently and I acknowledge that. Not everything in every course will fit my vocal worldview 100%. Having said that, I only include courses whose creators I trust to know what they are doing - so the courses I recommend leave you in good hands.
Who is teaching: Linor Oren, aka: Me (yes, I know no shame)
Volume included: 5 modules, 58 lessons, 2 personal feedback opportunities
Specialties: Removing mental and physical blockages; optimizing practice to reduce vocal training expenses
The premise of my work is that most of the things we need to learn is what not to do in singing. Most of us activate our muscles too much, and usually use the wrong ones. Same goes for the thought process and perceptions we have about singing - we use the wrong ones there, too.
So I operate in two main channels: improving the mentality of singing and practice and featuring bodywork in our singing.
Bodywork is any method which gets your body to organize in a relaxed yet sing-ready way. A few examples of such methods are Yoga, Alexander Techniques and Pilates. I use them all in the course to troubleshoot singing difficulties.
First, feel if you are tensing something up, then release it and align your posture. Then apply a healthy vocal function. Then you can add which ever technique you have learned anywhere on top of that, and it's 1000% more likely to work.
The course has 5 modules.
- First module is all about the mentality of singing and practicing: replacing self-deprecating habits with productive ones: choosing a suitable song for you, and providing a motivating way of practicing.
- Second module teaches anatomy and conduct a full body scan to identify your main vocal issues. Then you send me a clip of your singing for analysis, and I point you to the relevant lessons in the course, which will solve your issues.
- Third module is the largest, and you should not do it all at once, or go through it chronologically. It teaches how to solve the vocal issues you have found, going through the body parts one by one and releasing them.
- Fourth module teaches the most popular vocal skills such as range, power and support. At the end of which you are asked to send a second video for analysis.
- Fifth module talks about the stage and gives career advice.
About the teacher:
I'm a classically trained professional singer, and have toured internationally.
For 15 years I have been teaching voice and coaching singers of all styles and levels, working on their stage skills as well.
Conclusion Make Singing Click
This is an integral system of learning, teaching mainly how to clean up unproductive singing behavior and gaining more helpful behavior.
It's working through removing muscle tension and personalizes the course to your needs. If you follow this system, it will save you a lot of money worth of singing lessons. The reason for this is that the course will show you how to make the best of any technique you learn in any lesson and internalize it and keep it for the long haul.
Cool perks of Make Singing Click
Who is teaching: Multiple renowned teachers
Volume included: over 350 video lessons
Specialties: Asynchronous coaching (video correspondence with a private coach); multiple specialization and expertise of staff.
Price: Subscription based, at 25 USD and 99 USD per month
The Exchangely concept
Singdaptive has a new program called Exchangely. It’s not an online course in the same format as others. Instead it is a personal guidance through the vast content of the website, guided by a real teacher.
The beginning of the process is free: you fill in a thorough survey (10 minutes) about what singing is for you, then get a free mini-course composed according to your quiz. You also get to send a video and get feedback from a teacher, addressed to you by name, and pointing you towards the material you currently need, or the specialist you need.
After taking the survey, you are invited to participate in a free exchange with personal feedback on your singing.
What an exchange contains
A personal film for you by the teacher, addressing you and your issues directly
Specific questions you can answer in writing
Video tutorials - usually with one exercise each. Might be from another teacher/specialist from their extensive team.
*You usually get a couple of tasks each time - all very well-guided.
*Tip: on your phone you can record and upload your videos directly onto the website. Super handy. I recommend doing the writing tasks on the computer first, for faster typing. Then wait a minute: it will save even your drafts! And go on your phone to complete the tasks which require filming.
My experience with Exchangely
The exchange feels very personal, the teacher talks like she is your friend. Very positive and supportive and addressing all the points that are personally relevant to you.
Moreover, the teacher takes your level into account and takes you from there, so you avoid unnecessary repetitions of things you already know, or missing important steps. That’s a very advanced level of personalizing.
Every exchange consists of more than one task, so not stingy, but also quite focused. Not too much.
What I love is that they give you an exercise, then ask you to upload a vid of you doing the exercise. Making sure you do it right.
There is also a feedback request where you should let the teacher know how the tasks are for you so far.
About the pricing
There are two subscriptions, between which you can upgrade or downgrade at any time:
The Standard Plan is €25 per month. This Includes a number of personal exchanges to set you on your learning path, several Premium lessons per month along with a monthly personal exchange with your instructor. You also have access to their full library of courses and lessons.
The Premium Plan at €99 per month is like the Standard Plan, but includes unlimited personal exchanges with your Lead Instructor or the team. This is seriously an amazing value for this rate.
About the teachers
Singdaptive has a renowned set of instructors (representing the BBC, Disney, The Voice, etc.). They have vocal coaches as well as medical specialists, technologists and choral directors.
We don't pay money to get a lot of information. We can get shirtloads of voice tips and technical knowledge, career advice - all of it - online for free. What we do pay for is guidance. Systems, methods. Exchangely is Singdaptive's way of doing so. They closely tailor the program to you. I have not seen any other voice training source doing it that way. It’s refreshing and definitely worth trying out.
Cool perks of Singdaptive
Who is teaching: Robert Lunte
Volume included: Five Modules (called "stages") + a bonus module, over a hundred video lessons.
Specialties: Science-based vocal technique; oriented towards power in your voice (mainly for contemporary singing)
Price: $199 (more courses available)
Course set-up and practice tracking
This course is accessible on your laptop, but also on an app on your phone called Kajabi, which allows you to use the material quicker. This makes smartphone access more handy than usual.
The search option in this course is very handy: you can look for a word and it will point you to the relevant lessons.
Tracking your progress:
- A quiz at the end of the chapter is mandatory, and will unlock the next stage.
- Peer review of lessons: you are encouraged to share your clips with the community of students and get feedback from them. Great way to be held accountable and get things done.
TVS is also supported by a book (a massive, impressive book), also called The Four Pillars of Singing, which you can either buy as a hardcopy or read online through the course.
The start is about the set-up: recommendations about how to build the practice environment, gear and products for amplification.
Most instructions in the course point towards contemporary singing. However, the technique is applicable to all singing styles. Even classical singing will use the same principles and techniques (without the need for most of the gear, obviously), especially anything to do with vocal cord function, free sound mechanism and support.
This is a long and thorough course. There is extra emphasis on vocal onsets (the beginning of the sound, which determines the quality of the rest of the sound); visualisation of singing vowels with colors (!); creating combination of vocal techniques as singing setups (as in, what you need to have in mind and in your muscle memory before starting the sound).
First 1.5 chapters include set-up, terminology and principle lessons. Vocal elements such as jaw positions (embouchures) and tongue positions, vocal fold mechanisms. Exercises and warm-ups are introduced in the middle of chapter 2.
Super helpful stuff:
- Laying the foundation of how often and how long to practice.
- Showing how to work with a mic to prevent tension - good, important!
- List of vocal terms definition used in the course.
- Sign language! Robert’s way of communicating certain vocal instructions in the context of an online singing lesson, the signs are also used in the course.
- ITRs: Integrated training routines: combinations of exercises for different vocal goals and making your own routines.
- A long library of additional vocal exercises
- Vocal effects such as distortion, screaming
- The training page: another way to quick access all the routines and exercising, along with reminders for the practice structure. Robert is demonstrating - just sing along!
- Audio files for practicing the exercises: Female and male versions (starting in different keys) as well as different speeds.
Robert teaches in a flow speech, improv-style yet coherent manner. He also demonstrates the techniques he teaches, sometimes performing for the camera (which is much fun).
His style of presentation is theatrical, sometimes amusing, and charismatic.
TVS teaches science-based up-to-date vocal techniques. He obviously takes his methodology very seriously, making it structured in his unique way which will get you sucked into his studio language.
Important to know:
Robert will tell you when you need to sing along with him, or when you just need to watch. If he’s demonstrating and not inviting you to join, don’t. You might have not prepared properly for that yet. Jumping straight to singing along difficult exercises is not good for your voice. So take it step by step: When Robert teaches a certain technique or exercise which involves a few elements - Those would all be separately explained either on that lesson, or on another. Make sure you have covered all the lessons which teach all the elements, then go ahead and follow the exercise.
Conclusion The Vocalist Studio
This course is great for training technique and building a strong instrument, as well as learning about the physiology of the voice. Even though it seems on the surface that it's for rock and pop singing only, I personally liked many of the techniques there as a foundation for classical singing.
Following this course will give you solid abilities, and you will be supported and commented on by other students, which keeps you on the right track.
Cool perks of The Vocalist Studio
Who is teaching: Multiple teachers
Volume included: 3 beginner courses, 30 lessons each. Advanced and technique sections, dozens of mini courses in each.
Specialties: Different styles, multiple perspectives on teaching, combined live webinars
Price: $29.95 /month or $129 /year
Included are three courses for beginners, by three different teachers. So you get three beginners' courses for one. You can do them all, or choose.
Each course can take 30 days and be divided into 4 weeks, building up from the fundamentals (like posture, breathing, warm-up) and finishing with performance advice. Like a crash course. You can, of course, take longer, and are encouraged to take your time.
Beginners' course by Jon Statham
It's an intro to the entire course platform.
Jon’s course goes deep into musical understanding. For vocal technique I believe the other two courses are more suitable.
I personally would follow Jon's course for theoretical and musical knowledge. For vocalization I recommend Camille’s and Jonathan’s vocal exercises.
Beginner’s courses by Camille van Niekerk and Jonathan Estabrooks
The two teachers use the same syllabus, but they deliver the material a bit differently, naturally.
It’s nice to have two approaches to the same content, and also to be able to follow a male or female teacher, if you want their voice type to be more similar to yours.
Also nice to see the instructor and the keyboard/guitar they are playing simultaneously displayed.
Only in Camille’s beginner’s course: every time you are given an exercise in a lesson you will get an audio track of that exercise (or complete warm-up) you can follow. Each track comes in four versions: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and bass.
There are two other sections: Advanced Level and Tricks & techniques.
In the advanced section there are 18 tutorials, which are actually mini courses of about 4 lessons each! They include: how to sing in different styles (and your own style), sing in a group, Christmas carols, extending range, runs&riffs, belting, combining singing and playing (popular request amongst my students), performance advice. The tutorials are taught by multiple different teachers.
14 mini courses (called tutorials). Breath, range, tone, vibrato, harmonising, pitch.
The advanced section seems to be focused on style and performance advice and the trick/technique is more technical voice tips-oriented. They are both essentially extending to further technical elements they want to teach, and then adding musical and presentational topics.
Common topics between the advances and tricks sections
There are a couple of topics on which you will find tutorials in both the advanced and the trick section. What’s the difference then?
Taking the Belting tutorials from both sections:
Mark Mekailian (in advanced): nice yelling exercises and baseball pitch metaphor (throwing from the back). A couple of vocal exercises meant to create the belt quality sound.
Camille (in techniques): starting with body breath exercises. Chest vs. mixed voice belt. Caution about vocal health. A couple of vocal exercises meant to create the belt quality sound.
*The 2 tutorials are two individual approaches to belting. They have some common principles, but give different exercises and ways to achieve the belting quality. But I don’t see a difference in the sense that one should belong to advanced and one in tricks and techniques. Perhaps they want to make sure we don't miss this important skill!
Same goes for the range tutorials: we have Camille (in Advanced) and Abram Poliakoff (in techniques). Different exercises but same principles.
Conclusion 30 Day Singer
It's a platform full of content, but it is pretty well-structured. The lessons are slow with a couple of exercises on each, which is very user-friendly, encouraging gradual learning. The extensive content covers most, if not all desired vocal topics, and then some. You learn musical theory and ear training, styles, accents. There is something to learn no matter what kind of singer you want to become.
Perks of 30 Day Singer
Who is teaching: Dr. Dan
Volume included: 10 Modules, 3 hours of video lessons
Specialties: Contemporary singing, focused and task-specific technique establishment
The course is concentrated on selected exercises for specific vocal skills. Dr. Dan guides you to give each of them time so they can sink in properly.
You are also encouraged to record two songs of your choice in the beginning and end of the course, and there’s a Facebook group where you can (but don’t have to) share these. That's a great idea, you can see you improvement after going through the course!
The technique taught here is indeed essential, and quite fundamental, and the practice is guided steadily. The "building blocks" taught in each lesson are built up so you are sure to make a lot of progress.
Holding you accountable, making sure you succeed
You are not just one-sidedly deciding what and when you are watching which part of the course. There is a way of doing the course, and it will check with you if you are indeed doing it.
Intro to every module instructs the new relevant length and frequency of the practice, you start with a short practice and add time to it every week.
The course demands feedback on your practice progress, and which exercises helped you or were most enjoyable. This requires accountability from you to do the course properly, practice and not skip important things.
Structure and content
The interface and design is very cool: you get a main video giving the main lesson, then value-adding and supporting videos for extra guidance. Supporting audio tracks of the exercises and pdf of the lessons. A quiz to sum it all up.
The first module is free, to give you an impression of what the course is like. The other modules are constructed similarly to the first.
Every module starts and ends with a mandatory quiz, which makes sure you pay attention and follow the course. If you get the answers wrong you are corrected and can then retake the test, which guaranties you cannot fail.
All the vocal techniques in the course are built up gradually. The next one in addition to the previous one, etcetera. Extra attention is given to twang, belting and breath management.
While gradual and focused, the course is quite demanding. It brings you to quite extended abilities, if you follow the exercises.
Areas of focus chart - UNIQUE to voice essentials
This chart, which is featured in every module, tells you on which vocal aspects you should focus on with the exercises given. The chart will show you on a scale to which degree a certain aspect is important.
The vocal aspects indicated in the chart: Body Alignment & Tension), Breath Management, Channel (Vocal Tract), Phonation (Onset & Core Tone), Resonance (Registers & Placement), Pitch (Intonation), Loudness (Dynamics & Management), Articulation (Consonant & Vowel).
The course feels personable and engaging. Dr. Dan is speaking very professionally and approachably.
The level of physiological description here is very high: I as a voice teacher learned a lot. The quiz is a good reminder of all the terms and functions you learn.
There’s a discussion section on the side! People can post a question and Dr. Dan answers.
Important, to make the best of the course
It seems like this course gives you what Dr. Dan finds to be some fundamentals of singing. Giving a mixture of teaching forms (video, text, charts, worksheets). I believe the sum of the parts will give the desired outcome. Do exactly as told.
It is vital to watch the videos, not only listen, and read the descriptions on the screen and under all exercises. They give important pointers.
More potential to advance
If you follow down the rabbit hole, every video leads you to more videos dealing in more detail with necessary and relevant tips. For example: after giving a twang on vowel exercises, Dr. Dan warns this exercise may cause one to use unnecessary tension, and points to a video about tension management, leading from there to a 10 video playlist on releasing different muscle tension in the body! Now that's thorough work.
About Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan has twenty years of teaching experience and 25 years of performance experience. He is specialised in contemporary singing.
Conclusion Voice Essentials 1
The vocal work in this course is essential. It is and important if you want powerful, effortless vocal production.
You are given a well-guided path to building vocal technique, accompanied by solid vocal physiology education and working on your songs in parallel. With support from Dr. Dan himself in the comments and other students in the Facebook group.
If you follow this course to the T, I’m sure it will take you far. For serious and passionate people!
Perks of Voice Essentials 1
I teach singing online
Let me find your bright spot.
A singing course can be your big
Different coaches and courses teach different things. I teach the overall, necessary learning method, which will serve you no matter what technique you are working on.
A tiny word of caution
While I acknowledge that different teachers teach different techniques sometimes, I do consider the matter of vocal warm up crucial, and have a rather strong opinion about it. Not all teachers agree with me on how to warm up (which is fine!) but I’ll give you my strong recommendation here.
My recommendation: No matter what course you take, and what you are practicing with your voice - make sure you start your singing on any given day with a gradual warm-up. At least a couple of SOVT exercises (which means singing first on a vocal consonant, such as lip trills, rolled r or ng) starting with a short range (not more than 5 notes up and down, preferably 3 or less). More than a couple of exercises is even better, without over doing it, if you have a lot of exercises in the course to work with. In any case, I wouldn’t jump straight into singing with vowels.
Ultra short summary: what each course brings to the table
Internalize the technqiue long term
Work privately with experts to get precisely the content you need
Extreme singing, bridging to the head voice and belt techniques
How to sound like X? From the ground up
Fundamental but deep and dedicated vocal progress
How to use a singing course in combination with voice lessons
Let me speak for my course, even though I personally believe it applies to all courses. But it will be up to the course creators to indicate how their courses should be used.
Every time you have a lesson with a voice teacher, one-on-one, you learn a bunch of stuff. Hopefully you have identified what should be your main focus for the near future:
- Is it your breath control?
- Is it your posture?
- Is it evening out the quality of your voice throughout the range?
Take one focal point from your lesson at a time. Use the system of learning taught in the course to improve that focal point, then move on to the next. Don't go back for another lesson until you have made satisfying progress with the material you were given in the lesson.
Exception: if you feel lost in the process, and not sure what is going wrong or right, you are probably still in the stage of building your vocal awareness. You should contact your teacher and ask for guidance, or go back to another lesson if you feel the need for outside feedback.
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