Singdaptive: The SingerPath #a-singdaptive-chat

Steve Evans quote on SingerPath
The founders of Singdaptive chat about SingerPath: a survey driven profile for singers that helps navigate singers towards their goals.

kevin Hello @steve @kathy @greg  – we’re on deck for our 2nd #a-singdaptive-chat. Today’s topic, “How Can SingerPath Change Learning for Singers”.

We are only a few weeks away from launching the public beta of Singdaptive. Our platform will become the best adaptive learning portal for singers who want to get to the next level. Our initial public beta will focus on the introduction of SingerPath – a personal learning profile generated from a 10-minute survey any singer can take. Why and how is SingerPath so valuable for to singers who want to improve?

To help get us started, where does a singer find SingerPath at and what is it?

steve I thought we dropped that feature?

greg  Ha ha!  Well, I see a big space at the top of the main page to take an intriguing survey…

kevin  Speaking of dropping, Jamie, our graphic artist, is working on our ‘hero image’ for the main page. He took some video footage of a bird to animate. As he was filming, the bird pooped – that’s the footage we got. 

So we know it’s true:

kathy Since I’m pretty sure we DIDN’T drop it, or POOP on it like that bird – I will comment: SingerPath is an individual profile that suggests a focus for the singer who wants to grow their skills.

steve If the foo shits… Looking for splatter animation now.

kevin  And we are now officially off the rails 

kathy I am blown away by that GIF. That man is incredible. Back to the question: SingerPath helps a singer focus their efforts so they can grow and reach their goals

steve Your SingerPath is like Google Maps, except where you’re going is singing greatness. Technically, I guess you could say it’s like a mathematical vector, representing the ideal trajectory you can take on your path to becoming better (than you were yesterday).

greg  I remember, way back when, we had this idea to create a survey that would help singers find out more about themselves, assess where they were at and help discover ways ahead.  It was a great idea – but then – how many versions did that survey go through?!

kathy a few!

kevin  It’s been helpful that with each version of the survey we were able to get ground truth by talking to singers who took the survey.

steve And the survey results really just “seed” the algorithm.  As you proceed down your path, your “SingerPath” will get better and better at understanding you and your goals. 

kevin I’m interested to remember way back, what sparked the idea for SingerPath? 

steve That was before I was born.

kathy I feel like Steve is the star of today’s chat.

greg  I was looking over some of our early work on the survey – and it was sprinkled with phrases like: “your road”, “steps”, “travel”, “moving” – all ideas about an individual finding their own way.

kathy When I go on YouTube to try to learn from a video, I have to sift through a bunch that are not good quality, then a bunch more that are not the thing I’m looking for, then finally I find a helpful one. So much of the learning we try to do online is frustrating. (Don’t get me wrong – I love YouTube)

kevin It’s not just YouTube. I teach Interactive & Multimedia learning at the University of Victoria (#pretendingtobeaprofessor). One thing we discuss a lot is the need to work harder in the online world to know your student. This is obvious in the classroom – but is often forgotten in a digital environment. So you find a site with singing lessons, you’ve just come off tour and the first lesson is “The human voice can make sounds….” 

kathy  That’s it! Improving at ANYTHING requires that the teaching you are getting is well-matched to your needs.

greg But don’t you find that one of the limitations of the classroom is that you have to keep pace with the pack a lot of the time – when this may not be the best thing?

kevin There is no question in my mind that a combination of in person teaching mentoring, partnered with digital, self-directed learning is ideal. 

kathy  That is why we made a survey, so we could figure out what a given singer is interested in, and what they are hoping to accomplish.

kathy YES!! AMEN!

kevin  Let’s get into how is SingerPath organized, what can a singer expect? Here’s an image that shows a part of the SingerPath results:

Viewing your SingerPath on Singdaptive

kathy  I remember interviewing dozens of experts on the voice and singing, and they often echoed the idea that when it comes to singing, there are many ways to get involved, and finding a clear path can be overwhelming.

greg Totally!  Or, people expect that there is – or should be – one clear path for everyone (like you go on a reality show, everyone votes for you and you have a career forever – NOT)

kathy The first thing our survey does is help a singer decide on a focus for the type of singing situations that really ignite their passion. Singing in choirs? Singing with a band? Writing songs? Musical theatre? A cappella ensemble?

Based on what the singer says their interests are, the recommendations for that singer’s focus are changed

kevin  Singers do all sorts of different things, we are most interested in what you’ve been doing recently and what you dream about doing in the future.

steve I guess a chorister could – maybe wants to –  but probably isn’t required to learn screaming technique?

kathy The way we sing – and I mean the vocal technique and everything – is different based on which situation we are in and which genre we are singing. That choral singer may be curious to learn heavy metal screaming techniques just for the sake of learning however.

Of course there are some universal skills and concepts that apply across genres, but a lot of the fine tuning is very different in choral, theatre, rock, classical…

kevin I think it’s interesting to note that in SingerPath we don’t focus on your genre. This isn’t to say we don’t have content that is genre specific -but in recommending a strong learning focus – genre is not as important as you’d think.

greg So, Kathy, are you saying that a singer could actually sneakily reveal hidden singing interests in our survey?

kathy YES! Our survey may give a singer the chance to actually acknowledge and name secret interests or dreams

greg Kathy: did you?

kathy Yes. The survey helped me realize in myself and actually put on paper (a powerful gesture) that I really wanted to get back into more musical theatre. My first love.

kevin Next up is the biggest section of SingerPath – the Values… walk us through how that works.

steve Values pervade everything, regardless of interest.

kathy I’m so excited about this part!! We embrace the whole life of a singer. That is why we created six large areas – our values – for singers to think about when it comes to their own growth.

steve In tech terms, our “values” represent our best efforts to break down the “problem space” of singing.

kevin  We separate the values into 3 levels of a singer. It’s important to note these levels are relative to each other and represent a blend of our intuition of singer’s skill/experience and, to an extent, interest.

steve We all need to come to terms with our strengths and weaknesses, else Simon Cowell will have a field day.

kathy One big challenge that can be disheartening for singers is that they are incredibly strong in one of the six areas but don’t attend to the other areas. Our portal with help singers celebrate the areas where their skill is already strong and get motivated to develop other areas they may have never even thought about before.

greg  It’s not like we have to wait to celebrate before everything else is accomplished – it can co-exist with challenging ourselves.

kathy Here is an example. A singer may have really worked hard on musicianship but is berating themselves for not connecting to an audience. But all it is, is that they have never invested in our ability to engage and connect with an audience. Just like musicianship, audience engagement is an important area to develop. Here is another example: You may never want to submit a composition to a publisher, but the process of song-writing is incredible for any singer and an important part of growth. Many amazing singers have never tried creating their own songs – they can now find the motivation to do this.

greg So, it is kinda of like there are some paths we don’t think we should travel – but that thinking could be flawed – and we may just need a bit of support to move in some really inspiring directions…

kevin Everything the singer has answered in terms of interests and values is then dumped into a massively brilliant bin of coding excellence #steveisawesome which leads us to the subject of focus.  What’s going there, Steve? 

steve Our algorithm looks at where you’ve been, where you’re going, your strengths, your weakness, and comes up with the biggest bang for your buck, in terms of what you need to focus on to meet your goals.

I think we’ve made the focus section challenging. I’m the first to admit that I often focus on things I’m already good at.  A kick in the pants to work on the things I suck at is what I pay good money for.

kathy Sign me up!

steve We hope your path is more like an adventure, and less like an all-inclusive cruise.  There’s Netflix for the latter.

kevin One thing we looked at to help influence the focus algorithm was studying the results of confident singers in various interest areas like choral, gigging bands, soloist, etc. We then found common trends with their values. This helps us nudge singers towards their goals.

steve and not only does your focus feed into what content we show you, it also feeds into what content we create in the future – so there was a purpose for those several months we spent combing through data with seemingly no end in sight!

kevin still combing

steve uh, Kevin – isn’t your head more like this?P

kevin fair enough – the second gif represents my combing life more than the first

kathy  I’m so glad we have science geek people on our team to analyze all the data

kevin  So basically, focus is catalyst to an exciting learning path for singers. But this means the values are so important. Without going into every value specifically, where did these values come from?k

kathy try combing that!

greg  I’d say they came about organically – all of us have worked with a variety of singers pretty intensely for years – and one thing that became very clear was that those who had real satisfaction in their pursuits had some values in common. And it didn’t matter what their genre was or if they were professional musical theatre singers or loved their nursing home gigs.

kevin  Between us (founders) we have expertise in formal training, vocal coaching, empirical studying of singers, recording and live sound for singers, designing mobile and physical products for singers. 

kathy That’s right! The six values came about when we realized … Musical skill is important no matter the genre. Then, since the voice is inside the human body, health is important too. We want our voices to last! Ever-developing skills that come from training, practice and rehearsal are a must. Understanding acoustics and sound makes all the difference. Creativity and bringing something of yourself to the stage – now that’s why people pay for live music. And finally what is the point of anything, if we can’t connect to other people?

greg I think you just named our six values.

kathy – in the most rambling paragraph ever! Here it is: Musically Informed. Vocally Healthy. Performance Ready. Audio Savvy. Artistically Free. Audience Engaging.

kevin  and we have our instructors and all our contributors who we work with on a regular basis. Our values are not just our opinion – they have been molded from so many minds focused on singing.

So moving towards closing this chat out… What can SingerPath do for singers?

greg I have to say that my BEST experiences in school were those few times when we could go at our own pace – faster or slower than others – it didn’t matter which. Which is what really excites me about what we are doing – people can find a path they want to be on and then go at the pace they want – that includes rushing along to see the next vista or stopping to really look one area really intensely.

kathy Well said, Greg! Singers can access a wider range of concepts and teachings on their SingerPath that will complement their current singing activities.

greg But should I add that this pace-thing really comes into force when we launch our e-learning content?!

kevin  Steve, because today is officially CTO of Singing Companies Day (I just decided that BTW), final last words?

steve Where other sites are focused on “the next amazing method for singers”, we’re focused on attracting the brightest and most authentic coaches from around the world, so that we can match up their experience with your needs. 

kathy Nailed it.

kevin sign me up (already signed up). Thanks everyone!

steve  Thanks Kevin!

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