Where Does “Singdaptive” Come From? #a-singdaptive-chat

We discuss our name, how we see singing - and the power of adaptive learning.

You’ve made it to Singdaptive’s monthly chat! The transcript below has been lightly edited.

kevin (CEO, Technologist) Hello all and welcome to our first #a-singdaptive-chat. Our topic today is “Where does Singdaptive come from?” We founders at Singdaptive have lived through many name brainstorming sessions in our life time. But this name is dripping in vision and direction. So, let’s explore what the heck it means and where it came from.

Before we talk about the name, any quick thoughts on naming companies in general:-)?

greg (VP-Publishing, author, lecturer) Well, it’s not as simple as coming up with a cool website name…

kathy (VP-Curriculum, singer, voice teacher) I had no idea how complicated naming a company could be with all the trademark checking and brand confusion and lawyers … whew!

kevin Out of interest, the naming document we created to choose our name had over 330 name possibilities. However, it did include a dozen Star Trek references and some gems like: Hatchosaurus and Singadoodledoo

kathy those are special names


greg Even though I’m bummed that we didn’t go with a Star Trek name, I am very pleased that we are boldly going where no company has gone before…

kevin A great singing Star Trek reference here

steve (CTO, software engineer) ouch. I just don’t think this brand will live long or prosper using Star Trek references.

kevin Ok, back to our actual name – Singdaptive. Let’s start with the obvious part, “Sing.” What does this mean to you?

steve We were pretty certain “sing” would be in our name, though even that decision was a long and arduous one.

greg What leaps into my mind is VULNERABLE. There is nothing in between the one singing and those listening – no physical instrument (piano, trumpet, etc.) separating the two. To sing is to be personal – and exposed. I suppose that is what I feel when I sing and why the human voice reaches me at such a deep level.

steve Having “sing” in the name is perhaps like getting a tattoo. Even when our company gets old and wrinkly, we’ll never forget what we’re committed to.

kevin The tattoo reference is so true. We want singers to know we are for them, forever. Singing is unique among all other instruments even though it is a universal instrument. 

Learn about the new way to get 1-on-1 vocal coaching with Exchangely by Singdaptive.

kathy I think singing is one of the most primal and natural things to do for humans. Everyone and anyone can sing. For me singing has always been a huge part of life – I can remember singing with my dad when I was a little kid as he played guitar. Then girl guide campfires – the singing was the most awesome part for me! I studied voice formally, became a teacher and performer. Singing is part of my identity.

kevin That’s getting personal. Each of our singing and music backgrounds are different. What has singing meant to each of us?

steve My earliest memory was singing in the back of the station wagon with my brother on long road-trips (no seatbelt), using my grandma’s cane as a microphone.

kevin A cane is the best mic ever!

kathy Road trip singing! YES! have great memories of that too.

greg That sounds fun @steve It reminds me of being 3 and gyrating around with various mixing bowls on my head, belting out my own songs.

Child with bowl on head by floki shutterstock 248772466
Dancer, singer, and inventor of the portable bomb-shelter. Image credit: Shutterstock 248772466

kathy I love the thought of Greg as a three-year-old belting out songs with mixing bowls on his head! Kids sing freely don’t they?

kevin Singing for me started with the dreadful grade 5 experience of being asked “to not sing during choir practice.” But music became a part of my life through trumpet, piano, composing, etc. Later, in high school, musical theatre and a girl, @kathy, got me into singing. However, a technology addiction switched me deeply into how to better the lives of singers through great sound and more access to creativity tools. That brought me through my years at TC-Helicon.

greg Yah @kathy and hopefully they don’t ever, ever, ever, ever meet with that message given to the 5 year old Kevin!

kathy It’s an awful experience that too many kids have endured. Being told not to sing. It should be outlawed!

greg amen


steve In 18 years of working on vocal technology at TC-Helicon, I never once experienced the same kind of goosebumps I can get by hearing the naked voice of an amazing singer. At the end of the day, I think tools and technologies should revolve around improving, sharing, collaborating, and exploring new creative possibilities. 

kathy I agree about the naked voice @steve. There is something alarmingly intimate about hearing another human sing – when the singing is totally authentic and raw.

kevin I may have had a bad learning experience with singing. But what’s a powerful learning experience you can remember about singing or singers?

kathy Learning to trust myself and my voice has been a rollercoaster ride, but one breakthrough was when I was struggling in my voice lessons to learn some new techniques. I had a solo in a concert one day, and I remember just before I opened my mouth to sing, I said to myself, “screw it. I’m going to forget about technique and just sing this the way my gut is telling me to sing it.” Now, it was the “Kyrie” of a mass, so it was not the type of music around which I had many instincts. But I totally nailed it. My voice teacher complemented me on my technique too. My problem was that I was trying too hard and needed to trust myself. It was really cool – my voice just filled the auditorium. 

greg Hey @kathy you are one of the most informed singers I know in the world; so I am curious: does that “just screw it” message still come to you when you perform these days?

kathy Yes! When I am in front of an audience, I consciously try to focus on connecting to the song and the listeners – and NOT think about technique. That means my technique must be second-nature and I have to be well-prepared!

greg I think my learning experience is one I have gained through interviewing hundreds of singers for various publications. It’s a bit of a curve ball perhaps – but what I learned is that a singer actually needs to know a whole heck of a lot of things other than singing! (from acoustics, to tech stuff, to rhythm, to voice care…)

kathy That’s so true. It takes a lot of time and energy to develop our voices, which means we often forget about other really important things like how to communicate with your fellow musicians, how to choose repertoire, how to communicate with an audience…

steve The biggest lesson I can remember was playing trumpet, but I think it can relate. I was young, and had been practicing relatively hard for a competition / recital. I got up and played for the judge and thought I did fairly well. At the end he said, “thank you … <blah blah good but you’re not going to win blah blah>, and you should keep your eyes open and engage with us so we can see that you’re enjoying the music too.” It was totally unexpected, but something that’s stuck with me.

kevin @steve was it the fact he wanted to see the enjoyment that stuck with you?

steve Yes. And that I was closing my eyes. Wasn’t really conscious of it. Perhaps I realized there was much more to it than I thought. To this day, it’s still an area I’d love to explore.

kathy It’s tempting for me to worry about the singing and then that brings me out of the communicating.

kevin Being in a zone where we trust ourselves (let go of baggage) is so important in learning anything. 100% honest story: in working on online lessons that Singdaptive will be releasing in the fall, I was listening to a lesson by our instructor Mark Baxter. There was an exercise that worked on the upper part of a singer’s range. I was busy in the details of deciding on titles and said, “wait a second – I should try this exercise.” I did – and was like, “damn, that sounded good and felt great!”

greg @kevin – hope you told your 5 year old self that!

steve Do we have a lesson on “how to be yourself on stage, and not turn into a robot?”

kevin Of course we will. We’ll also have a lesson on Dance Like a Robot on Stage :-) 


kathy @steve, it’s not called precisely that, but we have already developed a few lessons related to authentic performance and being yourself on stage.

kevin So that leads us to the second part of our name “daptive”. Where does that come from?

steve Dapper: neat and trim in dress, appearance, or bearing.

kathy Ha Ha!


kevin Wow, look at you two adapt.

kathy Nice segue, Kev. “Daptive” comes from “Adaptive.” Singdaptive offers an adaptive learning experience where your learning path is personalized.

greg I’ve gotta say how happy I am that we figured out a name that reflects a deep company value! The best learning experiences I have had in my life have been those where the teaching moved “with me” – changed and transformed as I grasped things. And that is precisely what we want to accomplish with our company.

steve Adaptive is a great word, especially these days. To me it’s almost the opposite of “fear of change,” which I think is pervading our western society right now, especially with the populist movement.

kathy Wow, Steve. That is so true. I never realized our name relates to global issues. Fear of change can affect all of us. Being adaptive ourselves is the only way to grow. It’s not just the singer who is growing and adapting, it is us! We adapt the content mix based on each individual singer who uses our platform.

kevin Adapting can be focused on the singer and how being adaptable is so important. But just as important is that it’s a learning value often forgotten online. To teach, you need to know something about your student. At Singdaptive we want to know something about a singer’s singing life and adapt our content for them. 

steve So we have being personally adaptable, and having a learning platform that is adaptable. A third meaning could be this: given the highly dynamic nature of the human voice (pitch, timing, intensity, timber etc), I’d argue that any technology used to enhance, measure, or improve our singing must also be highly adaptable. That was certainly my experience designing vocal products at TC-Helicon.

kevin All of us behind Singdaptive have good and bad experiences with online learning. Care to share some of those?

greg Well, I don’t know if this is a “bad” experience – but I have taken a lot of online courses and I have really learned some cool things from some great instructors. But mostly this has been passive – there are times when I wanted to ask a question, take a quiz, practice something or just find out what extra resources they would recommend for me. So, I have often been left wanting more.

kevin My challenge has been finding courses that start where I’m at. Often, courses are way ahead or behind me – and don’t offer me of finding the best place to start. But most important can be a relatable instructor.

steve I think it’s a bit of a challenge finding consistent quality out there. Especially on some of the larger e-learning sites. Really hit and miss, I’ve found. There are lots of really inexpensive courses to be had, or even free, but they seem to be scattered all over the internet, and like Kevin says, don’t necessarily meet me where I’m at.

greg I think a truly great online learning experience for me was when I was doing something in the “real world” that was the same as what I was learning in the online course – so that I was constantly trying out stuff at the same time rather than seeing the online learning as a “chunk” that had to be gotten through before I did something in real life. Yes @steve you remind me of spending hours wading through YouTube videos to try to find something just right.

steve In the making of the tech behind Singdaptive, I’ve taken a few really great tech courses. And I’d agree with Greg in that real-world exercise is key.

kevin Our experience with singing, singers, education and online learning all played a role in our company – and we wanted a name that held us to our values. Singdaptive is the first multi-instructor adaptive learning platform for singers. We can’t run away from that vision without changing our name!

Where do you want to see the Singdaptive name in 10 years?

greg I’d love to see the name on a computer screen that is sitting back stage at a choir competition or a club, with a singer (or bunch of singers) huddled around trying something out before or after performing like a warm up, laryngeal massage, or a lesson on how to set mic gain!

kathy I want the name Singdaptive to be coming out of the mouths of singers all around the world who have turned to our platform time and time again as a place to discover new knowledge and grow their skills.

steve Above toilets and urinals at every live music venue in the world. Even my local pub.

kathy WOW! Kev! I’ll take that!

kevin “The lights are bright on Singdaptive” :-) @greg parting thought?

greg Make it so.

Kevin : ) Thanks for a great chat!

Discover the new way to get 1-on-1 vocal coaching with Exchangely by Singdaptive.

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