The Vocal Pitch Independence Skill Set
Want to learn how to sing with a backing track, guitar chords, karaoke, your friends band or piano? The VPI skills are crucial to your success and enjoyment.
Hi, I’m Chris, I help beginning singers know exactly where to start & experienced singers find their next vocal breakthrough.
The Vocal Pitch Independence Skill Set
What the Vocal Pitch Independence Skill is, why all singers MUST have this crucial yet often forgotten about skill and how to build it.
Have you ever sung with a singer, gotten all the right notes...then sung with the karaoke and everything fell apart? Fell apart as in...you couldn't find your first note? Panic sets in, then despair. You know you can sing this song, but you can't seem to sing it independently of the singer. So what you need to build is the skill to sing your own notes, without the help of a singer.
The first step to this is singing with an instrument instead of another singer. If you spend time singing with individual notes on the piano, and especially if you sing in a very comfortable range to start with, you can then be more independent from the singer.
To this aim, I made two kits that help you do just that: The Find Your Range Kit and The Single Note Exercise Set. You want to sing through these again and again, several rounds each day until you feel you can effortlessly find a note on the piano in your voice (assuming it’s in your comfort zone) and match with that. If you haven't learned the skill of singing in tune (which is where I started), then you'll first need to go through my playlist and practice those exercises until they are really strong. For most beginning singers, if the piano is playing notes that are in the easy range of the singer, practice and repetition will increase pitch accuracy.
And that's it? No...not yet. Even though the piano will help you become independent of the singer, you are still dependent on...the piano. So our goal next is to become independent enough from the piano so that we can sing the correct notes without the piano helping us, that of course is assuming the following circumstances: we know the song, we have been given our first note and the range is easy.
So...how do we become independent of the piano? The trick here is to have the piano sometimes play your notes and sometimes not, on a melody you know. If you can do that super-duper consistently over time, then you'll have a piece of the VPI (Vocal Pitch Independence) Skill. That piece I'll call VPI-Melodic. It means you can sing the melody of a song without help from the piano besides your first note.
I know of incredible pianists who can hear a song a couple times and play it on the piano...yet can't match pitch! How is that so? Even though a piano player may know where notes are on the piano after hearing them, they may not have a crystal clear sense of where those notes sit in their own voice. It requires coordination of multiple teeny tiny muscles in your throat and big muscles in your body working together to find each and every note in your voice...and having those positions for each pitch memorized in your body/voice. THEN it requires a clear communication path between your brain and your voice. Most of us growing up gradually reduce the variety of sounds we produce until we mostly just produce sounds of speech...singing requires a MUCH wider range of sounds and it takes time for our voice to re-aquaint itself to the former range of movement it used to employ as a child (screaming, crying, singing, whispering, shouting, etc).
So the VPI skill is the connection between your musical ear-training skill and your brains communication pathway to your voice. Now what about sight-singing or reading music with your voice like in choir? Wouldn't that develop the VPI Skills?Yes, it absolutely would. However, it's not the fastest way to develop the skill...and you may still not be able to sing with a backing track even after having learned how to read music. When you pick up sheet music and attempt to sing what you see on the page, you'll realize there are a lot of preliminary things you have to learn first. With sight-singing, you have to memorize solfegge, understand what you are seeing in sheet music, pay attention to the rhythm, figure out what staff you are on, have a way to check that you're playing the right notes, know the names of each note, what key you are in etc. So if you want to read music and especially sing written music, you'll learn how to read music much more easily if you develop the VPI Skills first. The VPI skills will prepare you for reading music which is quite a bit more demanding in every sense, but also prepare you for sing with chords or a backing track much sooner. Why you may not be able to sing with a backing track accurately even after having learned to read music...When you learn to read music with your voice, called sight-singing, this helps you create the sounds from the page to your brain to your voice...in other words, you can sing something you've never heard before. This is just like how we are able to read the English language and hear the sounds of these words in your head, without actually hearing them aloud. It's an awesome skill for music. The trouble is, most sight-singing doesn't show you how to hold on to your notes when you hear other notes in the background. When we sing with a karaoke track, we are immediately testing that skill...the VPI Harmonic Skill.
So what if you just had a super simple melody that you could sing where other chords or background music shows up, challenges you to stay on your right notes, then disappears so you can find your notes again? That's what the VPI Skill tracks do, and that's why they are a much better starting point for building your ability to sing the right notes with chords. Then if you want to learn how to read sheet music, go for it! It will then be much easier after a few months or so of VPI Skill practice.
Is the VPI Skills Kit for You?
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The VPI Skills Kit is for you if…
You are not ready for, or don’t need the VPI Skills Kit if…
The 1-3-5 Vocal Pitch Independence Exercise Set Harmonic & Melodic
Audio Tracks + PDF Worksheets + Sheet Music
For singing with a backing track, guitar chords, piano or any other instruments, most beginning singers will need this exercise to get better at singing the right notes with chords.