Singing Success Review – A Surprising Disappointment from Brett Manning!
Brett Manning was one of the pioneers of online singing products from around 2004, and Singing Success was one of the first online singing program in the industry.
I bought his first edition of Singing Success back then when it was 12 CDs and a workbook with a bonus DVD priced at $199 USD.
It was a bold move for Brett Manning to set the price that high when the market's reaction was not yet predictable back then. It turned out to be a huge success!
Fast forward to the present, Brett Manning repackage Singing Success as an online membership monthly program. Does it still uphold the industry standard? Is it still the most-promising singing program?
I will give you a complete review and analysis into this best-selling singing program in the world.
Singing Success Review Summary
Product: Singing Success VIP Membership
Description: The best-selling singing program produced by Seth Rigg's protege, Brett Manning, was one of the first online singing products ever. It now comes in monthly VIP membership on their training platform that contains all of the Singing Success training materials.
Price: US $67/month
Best for: Singers of all levels
Product Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Is Singing Success still the best-singing program in the world? I don't think so...
I'm going through a lot of struggle to do this review. And let me just warn you - this is going to be a mixed review of both positives and negatives I see in this program.
I had been a fan of Singing Success right from the beginning years. Not only did I buy the Singing Success 12 CD package, I subscribed to the Singing Success TV for $199/year membership to watch their teachers teach in voice lessons.
As I decided to re-visit this program that I loved in my early years of online voice training, I was somewhat disappointed when I looked into the Singing Success VIP membership platform.
Singing Success VIP Membership - A Great All-in-one package!
First, let's start with the positive side of Singing Success. Ever since Singing Success re-packaged their program, they have included everything, I mean everything, in the VIP membership that has a monthly recurring fee of $67 USD.
All of their singing products and materials are included in this package, which is wonderful, I must say:
Singing Success 360 is the basically the re-packaged and updated version of the original 12-CD Singing Success program. It teaches the fundamental vocal concepts of building the chest voice, head voice, mixed voice, how to transition through the vocal registers, and style training.
Mastering Mix is the advanced singing course that digs into the nuances of the mix technique in the upper register. It contains 12 CDs or training modules and 3 instructional DVD videos that demonstrates the major exercises in each training modules.
Mastering Harmony is a really cool singing course that Brett Manning teaches in collaboration with the Grammy Award-winning producer of Take 6 - Claude McKnight on the vocal techniques of harmony and style. Claude McKnight is really the main teacher in this course. Brett Manning chimes in to add the nuances of vocal technique. The two master teachers are a great match with their own strengths in teaching singing.
Mastering vibrato is a concise 3-CD or module singing course that dig into the technique and science of vibrato. This course is specially-designed for singers who have a problem developing vibrato and also singers and teachers who are interested in understanding vibrato and the mysteries surrounding it.
The good old online channel of Singing Success TV that broadcasts video lessons of vocal students for people to watch and learn from is re-packaged in this platform. The video quality of the lessons are very outdated and only the highlights of the video lessons are available for viewing on this platform.
360 QuickStart Program is a condensed introductory course to the entire fundamental Singing Success 360 program. It contains 10 essential vocal exercises including the explanation and demonstrations, great for students to use while they are on-the-go.
Brett Manning's Top 7 nothing more than one 30-min video of Brett teaching his favorite top 7 vocal exercises. Again, it is an old video lesson re-packaged to be included on the Singing Success VIP Membership platform. Although the content is still valid, the SD video quality makes the course look very outdated.
Brett Manning's Vocal Therapy is a concise program with variations of 10 vocal exercises designed for the recovery of fatigued or damaged voices. The exercises from the School of Mix or SLS are geared towards muscular balance and coordination, which is perfect for rebuilding or warming up the voice.
The Power of Emotion is a 90-minute webinar video taught by Brett Manning himself discussing the secrets of song interpretation, the use of emotion, and stage presentation. Since this is a recording of a webinar, the video and audio quality is extremely low, despite the extensive content that is presented during the class.
The vast amount of training materials that is included in the Singing Success VIP Membership covers every aspect of vocal training that you can think of, but more doesn't mean good.
Before I start on why I'm disappointed in the newest edition of Singing Success, let me finish giving credits to its obvious strengths.
The amount of values that is offered on the VIP Membership platform is more than a singer ever will need.
Obviously, Brett Manning does have substance in the area of vocal coaching and has established professional authority in the singing industry after all these years.
However, the strengths of Singing Success are also its biggest weaknesses. And I will explain why...
What's happened to the Best-Selling Singing Success?
The original Singing Success program was a 12-CD package with a bonus DVD and a workbook.The majority of the training is done by the audio tracks. Fair enough. This was back then.
I had a big WTF moment when I first re-visited Singing Success recently after almost ten years or so. Almost all of the training is still done by audio tracks - only this time, they are all mp3 recordings.
You might be thinking I'm making a big deal out of this, but for me, that's not good enough for today's industry standard.
I have reviewed a lot of singing products on the market. Take a look at the design and training platform in Robert Lunte's The Four Pillars of Singing. You will be blown away! It is very well-designed with a very effective vocal method and the user-experience is one of the best!
On the Singing Success platform, this is mostly what you see when you enter a course.
Just by looking at the image above, you might not get the feel of it. Let see what you get after you click into each of the audio tracks.
After you click on each of the mp3 tracks, you get this page with the mp3 track playing for you to practice the vocal exercises and a big blank space below. And this is the majority of what you got on the Singing Success training platform.
What a big turn-off!!!
No visual aid. Nothing to download. No instructional videos to go with the mp3 track. Just a big blank space below the audio track.
How hard is it to have some text explaining the exercise so there's something to see visually? You can have that by hiring an intern!
Just to be fair - there is a DVD video section at bottom of most of the courses on the platform. And it looks like this in Mastering Mix:
After you click into these big chucks of videos, you see this in SD video quality (?!!!) finally demonstrating the exercises in video form.
So what am I complaining about? I'm very unsatisfied with the way the training platform is designed on the Singing Success courses.
When you are going through the exercises, you have to pause and scroll all the way to the bottom to find the DVD video section, playing the video, and try to find the spot where the specific exercise you are practicing is explained.
What about Singing Success TV? Don't get me started...
I joined Singing Success TV more than 10 years ago when it was first launched. It used to be very educational and interesting to watch, but not anymore...
Now the Singing Success TV offered on the VIP Membership platform does not included the original content and format. You get a highlighted version of Singing Success TV, which includes these following:
- SSTV Interviews - 13 artists talking about how great Singing Success is in interviews.
- SSTV Performances - 9 Singing Success students/artists each performing a song.
- SSTV Vocal Tips - Countless weekly vocal tips published over the last 10 years or so.
- SSTV Lessons - Not the full video lessons, but just bunch of lesson previews, which is ridiculous.
- SSTV Webinars - 4 full-length webinars given by Brett Manning and Shelby Rollins.
As long as the content is great, it doesn't matter the appearance...Really?
Singing Success has great training content on its platform, as long as you don't mind listening to audio after audio files with no visual aids to go with it.
The truth is that the over-simplified Singing Success training platform is going to give customers very poor user-experience in this day and age.
Let me just throw in another imperfection on the Singing Success training platform:
What's wrong with this picture? The sequence of the mp3 exercise tracks are not even in order in some of the SS courses.
Okay, Mastering Harmony is not one of the main course. What about this one?
In the example above, where track 01? And track 04 is after track 06...
This is really sloppy organization for a leading singing product like Singing Success.
What's the chance of you completing the Singing Success training program if you are not getting pleasant user-experience?
Come on...there's got to be something great with Singing Success!
Yes. Of course.
Brett Manning is one of the most successful vocal coach in the world. He has tremendous professional knowledge on vocal pedagogy, and he is great at delivering his messages and explaining his theories.
The Singing Success program has more than enough training materials you will ever need as a singer. In fact, too much!
The singing method taught on Singing Success is based on the Speech Level Singing developed by Seth Riggs or the School of Mix, which is an extremely safe and efficient method to train the voice.
What I'm complaining about is the poor design of the training platform.
In a nutshell, it seems that Brett Manning and his staff are just putting all of the teaching materials they have accumulated over the years in one big platform.
A Critique on Brett Manning's Vocal Method
As I mentioned above, Brett Manning's Vocal Method is rooted in Seth Riggs' Speech Level Singing or Mix.
As a Mix teacher and singer myself for many years, I know a lot about Mix - its strengths and weaknesses!
Let's start with its strengths: The Mix vocal method builds balance and coordination in the vocal mechanism that is very safe to execute. Ideally, you won't have to pull and push on any note, and the tone is balanced and beautiful.
With Mix, you will be able to use very little effort to produce a very powerful, yet beautiful tone. And also, high notes are very accessible and easy!
Sounds great so far! But, Mix has its weakness, which is the lack of belt quality in the high notes. Many singers would transition into a soft mix in the high register, which would sound like a pretty falsetto for the audience.
If you are looking for building a belt-quality full voice in the high register, I would recommend Robert Lunte's The Four Pillars of Singing. Read this review.
Brett Manning is vocal method relies a lot on the pharyngeal voice, which is the steely and metallic quality in the voice to build up the high mix voice.
The pharyngeal voice is a very handy and effective vocal tool to get the singers to access the high notes, but it is not a permanent fix.
You cannot sing all day with a "pretty quack" and call it your full voice. This is a mistake a lot of Mix teachers and singers make. Eventually, you have to come back to the basic full voice without relying on the pharyngeal voice.
From what I hear from Singing Success training platform, I would assume that students will tend to have high notes that leans more towards a soft mix vocal quality (Example: Justin Timberlake's high mix).
At most, students can add more power to the soft mix, but that doesn't necessarily change the basic vocal quality.
To understand more about Mix, read my article.
The Pros and Cons of Singing Success VIP Membership
While it's impossible to be 100% balanced and fair in a review like this, I try to present both the positive and negative sides of a product and leave it to you to decide whether or not the product is for you.
- Vast amount of training materials that covers everything a singer will ever need for self-education and training.
- Proven vocal method that is safe and effective in training singers.
- Taught by one of the leading vocal coach in the world - Brett Manning.
- Endorsement by celebrity singers
- High notes will be easily accessible with the SS method.
- Builds a smooth and balanced vocal range
- Poor design of training platform
- Poor user-experience
- Lack of creativity and innovation with teaching materials
- Low video quality on most instructional video
- Vast amount of training materials - students could feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.
- High notes will tend to lack belt or full voice quality with the SS method.
- Too much use of the pharyngeal exercises - High notes could sound shrill, disguising as full voice.
Finally, should I invest in Singing Success or not?
Let me just say - despite my criticisms, Brett Manning's Singing Success is still a very effective training program for singers. I still gave it a 4-star rating.
I just think that, with Brett's status and experience as a singing coach and online marketer, he could have done much better with the current version of the Singing Success training platform.
I mean - no visual aid, poor video quality, no PDF or any written materials to help students understand the vocal theory and method, etc. It seems like they are just throwing everything together in a training platform.
No creativity whatsoever. What up with that? Maybe Singing Success has earned enough already? I don't know...
I don't mean to discredit what they are teaching in the audio tracks - the content is great!
But 90% of the training materials is just listening to the mp3s - that is not enough in today's standards. To understand what I'm saying, take a look at what is offered in Robert Lunte's The Four Pillars of Singing. You will see a very different design of the training curriculum!
I know this review could be somewhat controversial. I'm open to discussions. Leave a comment below if you have questions.