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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
WyoWoman How do I teach someone to sing harmony? (59* d) RE: How do I teach someone to sing harmony? 04 Jul 08


All of the above, yes. Especially what Jess A. said: "Also, playing two notes and getting him to say which is higher or lower. Plus interval recognition, singing scales and arpeggios, getting familiar with the concept of seconds, thirds, fourths fifths etc, and then playing a note and getting him to sing a third above or a fifth above or whatever."

I'd start with just one note, then add another and learn to recognize if it's higher or lower than the original one. This may sound like baby steps, but ... even those of us who have sung harmony so long it has become automatic for us actually started out this way. Then practice singing a third above that one note until you can absolutely nail a third above any note you're given. Then a third above two notes, then three, etc. Then learn different intervals -- fifths and fourths mostly -- just a tiny bit at a time.

Part of what happens in trying to learn harmony is that we try to do all of it all at once and there's too much going on for our brains to distinguish what we personally ought to be doing. And then we tell ourselves we're stupid for not being able to and that we just aren't a "natural" harmony singer. It's all learned -- with some of us, it was learned so early that it seems intrinsic, but it's all learned.

My bandmate Lynn started really working on her harmony singing about four years ago and has had a huge breakthrough in it now. When we rehearse, we break down the harmonies -- sometimes note by note repeatedly -- until we nail it. What I notice about the process is that what gets in her way the most is her telling herself she's stupid and harmony-challenged and will never get it. As soon as she shifts into the "just working it out" phase and starts to listen to the notes instead of her own self-deprecation, VIOLA! there's a harmony.

Onward! It's completely do-able. If you can hear, you can harmonize.

--WyoWoman


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