The Vocal Gym for Homeschool

The Vocal Gym for Homeschool

Does your child wish they could take voice lessons, but you're having trouble finding a practical solution? The Vocal Gym for Homeschool might be your answer. The Vocal Gym Homeschool is a very sophisticated, online course for voice training that specifically addresses the homeschool setting.

Several instructors teach the course, but the primary teachers are Jim Bostock, founder of The Bostock Institute, Richard Fink IV, founder of Throga, and Cesar de la Rosa, a professional vocalist. The Vocal Gym is also used by professional musicians, so it might seem advanced for those who are absolute beginners. However, students can move at their own pace, and take as long as they want on each step within the subscription period, either six months or one year.

Students do not need to know how to read music, although a basic knowledge of music theory would be helpful. They do need to commit to diligent practice. Consequently, I think the program will work best for students who like to sing and are motivated to improve their skills. Students also need to be old enough to work independently--probably at least ten years old.

This program works well on phones, tablets, and computers. Parents create a homeschool account, then a child account. A Vocal Profile assessment measures the student in seven dimensions: flexibility, breathing, intonation, range, tone, articulation, and strength. Students can take a quick assessment that takes three to five minutes or an in-depth assessment that takes 15 to 20 minutes. The assessment asks a series of questions to judge where the student is in all seven dimensions; students do not need to record themselves actually singing. The Vocal Profile assessment is dated, and students will take it again at the end of the course. You can access the quick version of the assessment for free, although you do need to sign up with an email address—there’s no obligation when you do this. This preview also provides access to some of the flexibility exercises so you can get an idea of how the program works.

After a brief orientation, the first few lessons provide an introduction and describe optional activities that students can complete to receive additional hours toward the course credit. The activities include listening to music, watching musicals, watching documentaries about the music industry, and sometimes providing responses or performances.

The first video lesson begins with an explanation of how the voice works. The instructor describes how we produce sounds by inhaling, then completing what is called the cycle of phonation: actuation, vibration, resonation, and articulation. The video includes illustrations of the various parts of the body that show where each process takes place, while the instructor explains what happens at each step. Just below the video, students are provided with a visual aid and asked to identify the four steps. Written descriptions of the four steps are provided for reference. Finally, an exercise asks students to name an instrument other than the voice and identify its components that act as actuator, vibrator, resonator, and articulator. (This exercise might be tough for some students to do without assistance.)

The lessons approach vocal training from two directions. The first consists of guidelines to follow to increase vocal awareness and develop coordination and efficiency. For example, among the guidelines is maintaining the same tempo throughout an exercise.

The second approach is through the seven dimensions of singing measured in the Vocal Profile assessment. Most lessons are presented under the heading of these seven dimensions, and under each there are instructional videos, exercises with suggestions for customization, two assignments, a quiz, and optional artist and musical activities. Often there will be more than one video for a lesson, but all videos are relatively brief, usually fewer than ten minutes. Key lesson content is repeated in written form and is sometimes reinforced with questions that students answer online or with vocal activities. MP3 tracks for practicing vocal exercises are included. Students need to be able to practice in a private place if possible, so the tracks are accessible on phones or other portable devices in case students need to go outside, into the garage, or elsewhere.

The two assignments under each of the seven headings are very similar. The first asks students to write journal-style entries online that are to be shared with a parent or teacher. The second, a “Vocal Music Listening Log” asks students to listen to a recording of an artist who demonstrates vocal flexibility, range, or whatever the focus of the lesson is, then answer questions regarding the performance. (The Homeschool Toolbox, visible only to parents, has printable pages with the journal prompts and listening log questions plus other pages that require written responses.)

Quizzes are completed online, and students can see immediately if they get an answer incorrect. A built-in glossary is available within lessons as well as during the quizzes, which makes it easier to get correct answers. Students need to get 80% correct to move on, but they can retake quizzes as many times as they want to improve their scores. All quiz scores are emailed immediately to parents. Quiz keys are included for parents under the Homeschool Toolbox.

For the optional artist activities, students choose a link (free Spotify links) to music from the genre of their choice. For the optional musical activities, students choose from options that include films and soundtracks. Some soundtracks are available free on Spotify, but film links are to Amazon or Netflix where students will probably have to purchase access. For both options, students write in which selection they chose, their response after listening or watching, and the time spent. (The time spent contributes toward total course hours.)

After the lessons under the seven areas, there are two more large sections. The first, “Targeting Exercises,” has additional lessons on each of the seven areas, a lesson on the value of maintaining a journal about vocal skill progress, an assignment to create the student’s own vocal exercise, a quiz, and optional artist and musical activities. The second section, “Applying the 7 Dimensions of Singing,” has a lesson that helps students diagnose their own weak points and two more lessons with tips for improving performances. In addition, this section has two assignments, a quiz, and the optional artist and musical activities. The first of the assignments has students identify seven songs that help them practice or reinforce each of the seven dimensions; they write how or why each song is effective. The second assignment might be very challenging. Students are to select a simple, familiar song, then sing it ten times with the same tempo, lyrics, and melody to reflect emotions: sad, happy, frustrated, bored, angry, tired, disgusted, surprised, afraid, and in love. A listener should try to guess what emotion is being conveyed with each performance.

Under “My Courses,” students also can access “Beyond the Gym” which provides customizable, guided vocal exercises and tips. This is best used after completing the Vocal Gym course, but they can access it earlier if they wish. This is also where they find the “Pattern Vault” with hundreds of MP3 accompaniments.

The Parent Portal

In the Parent Portal, parents can see the last lesson the student was working on, click on a link for a progress report, view how much time the student spent training that week plus detailed information about time spent on various lessons. Parents can adjust the targeted amount of time students are to spend each day. Through the Additional Activity Log, parents can also grant students credit for time spent with music-related activities, such as attending a performance. The records are all printable.

The Homeschool Toolbox is accessed from the landing page rather than from within the Parent Portal. The toolbox provides parents with information about each lesson, pages for the written assignments, activity instructions, quiz keys, optional assignments, and recommended musicals (e.g., “Hairspray”) and documentaries (e.g., “Tricky Dick and The Man in Black” about Johnny Cash and the eight-episode series “How Music Gets Made”) for students to watch.


Voice lessons can be very expensive, and it can be difficult to find an instructor, so the Vocal Gym for Homeschool provides an excellent option for students who want to learn to sing well.

Pricing Information

When prices appear, please keep in mind that they are subject to change. Click on links where available to verify price accuracy.

$189/semester or $349/year; additional students are $59/ semester or $99/year

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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: low
  • Learning Environment: independent study
  • Grade Level: grades 5-12
  • Special Audience: adults
  • Educational Methods: traditional activity pages or exercises, oral presentations or recitations, music, multisensory, life applications, interactive, highly structured, experiential, critical thinking, creative activities, auditory
  • Technology: video, supplemental digital content, online
  • Educational Approaches: eclectic
  • Religious Perspective: secular

Publisher's Info

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."