Practice Makes Perfect

Adam Kirkpatrick

Need to find a good restaurant? There’s an app for that. Wonder if it’s going to rain…

Georgia (Aug 13, 2014)

Need to find a good restaurant? There’s an app for that. Wonder if it’s going to rain in your neighborhood this weekend? Yep, there’s an app for that, too.

Now, an enterprising KSU associate professor of music who admits to having a “mad scientist, entrepreneurial bent on the side,” has created a mobile application that teaches people how to sing better. It’s called “Sing With The Best.”

College of the Arts Associate Professor of Voice Adam Kirkpatrick launched his app on iTunes in December, and it has been downloaded hundreds of times since then.

“We sold a couple hundred in the first 10 days,” he said. “What amazed me was that in addition to folks in the U.S. buying it, we had downloads from places like China, Israel, Russia and Australia.”

With funding help from KSU’s Office of Research and the Kennesaw State University Research and Service Foundation (KSURSF), he was able to successfully apply for a patent in October 2010, paving the way for the commercialization of the app.

“This marks the first economic development enterprise at KSU and, as such, represents a significant achievement for the University,” said President Daniel S. Papp. “It is the first product from a patent to come to the market from a faculty member, so we’re excited to share in its success.”

Kirkpatrick, a classically trained operatic tenor, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and earned his Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University.

He has entertained audiences in operatic roles and concerts professionally in many theaters throughout the United States, singing with such esteemed names as the Cincinnati Opera, Atlanta Opera, Atlanta Ballet and the Santa Fe Opera. But he says you don’t have to be an opera singer to benefit from his app.

“My SingWithTheBest.com is a place where singers of any style, pop, rock or opera, can learn powerful principles and exercises to improve and strengthen their vocal performance,” Kirkpatrick explained.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, if you sing rock or country, opera or R&B. My methodical voice training program can make a better singer out of anyone.”

The system he devised carefully measures various factors like finding the right pitch, notes, octave, timbre, etc. – all the elements that go into creating a pleasing singing voice.

The app has a continuous spectrographic display, as someone sings, that somewhat resembles what one sees when playing along on a TV set with the music rhythm game “Guitar Hero.”

According to Kirkpatrick, the app has many powerful features, such as pitch display and 3D spectrogram, which provides a voice visualization display of the frequency, amplitude and time of each selection.

By selecting the pitch display mode, the software program will display the note being sung and highlight the note name in green when the singer is fully in tune.

“It creates an image, mapping out your unique vocal fingerprint, and highlights the desirable bell-tone harmonics of the voice in green, and noise in red,” Kirkpatrick explained.

“Sing With The Best” also offers a vibrato meter to help singers achieve their best vibrant tone and, just in case, a noise meter – which might help budding singers keep in harmony with their neighbors. There also is a record/playback mode so singers can critique their performances. An archive function saves recordings by time and date, easily allowing singers to chart their improvement.

“This would be a great tool for parents to purchase for their children to provide professional-level feedback to their aspiring singers,” he said. “It is also a great tool for choral and choir directors to hone the vocal skills of their members.”

 

-- Robert S. Godlewski



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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