How to Learn to Sing Harmony

May 13 2020

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Many of you singers out there have the most beautiful voices, and you are so confident grabbing the mic and busting out a melody-but as soon as the vocal director asks you to switch to a harmony you panic!

Look-we’ve all been there and in this blog I want to share with you how I started hearing harmonies and became more and more comfortable with them.  These techniques are probably more for the beginner, and wonderful vocalist of the earth-there is something you need to know.  THIS WILL TAKE TIME!  Developing a skill is not an overnight process.  You may get frustrated, you may want to give up and go back to just singing melody.  But I guarantee you-if you practice, you will soon start to “hear” harmony and be able to sing them.

Are you ready?  Good.  Now follow these steps along with the video.  There may seem like a lot of steps but that is basically because I have broken it down like a baking recipe.

Step 1:  Go to your piano and sit down.  (If you don’t have a piano, download one on your phone from the app store and do this from wherever you like to sing-the car, your living room, the shower ::preferably not with the water running::,  or your room).

Step 2:  Play middle C.  If you don’t know what that is-see this diagram:

Step 3:  Sing this note on LA

Step 4:  Play the E note on the piano and sing that note on LA.

Step 5:  While singing the E, Play the C note on the piano and hear where that sits.

Step 6:  Play the C and sing the E without playing it.  Your ear memory should still have that E in there.  Once you have sung it-check your work by playing the E.

If you have sung it correctly over the C-you have just sung a major 3rd harmony.  Being able to hear the third interval over a note is the BASIS of hearing and singing a harmony to a melody.

I like to think of a harmony as another melody line sitting a 3rd or a 5th above or below the melody like in this super cool diagram I drew.

As your brain starts to recognise these harmonies on one note, you will soon be on your way to combining many notes to form a full harmony part.

Repeat these steps daily for ear training practice.  As you advance, there are some cool ear training apps out there to check out such as “My Ear Training” or “Perfect Ear” that can challenge you to grow.  Again, this will take time and there is no quick fix to developing your ear and ability to sing harmony.  I can say-the effort you put in will be SO worth it!

Happy harmonising everyone!

Chelsea