How to Sing in Harmony: Vocal Training Exercises

Your vocal abilities are in direct relation to the control of your physical being, but can training and exercise help you improve your vocals?

Learning how to sing in harmony with the music and with other singers leads to an excellent singing ability that can produce beautiful, mesmerizing results when done correctly, but can be disastrous when performed incorrectly. Singing in harmony can be a challenge for many novice singers.


Vocal Training

Regardless of whether or not you consider your voice to be a gift or not, you should be aware of the importance of vocal exercises. Knowing how many muscles come to play when opening your mouth to make a sound, understanding how your body works and actual training can vastly improve your vocal skills.

However, why do I need vocal exercises? Isn’t singing much like training?

Yes and no. While singing is part of the training process, it does not constitute towards overall vocal training. For example, if you only do push ups, your upper body will be perfect, but your legs, your belly, and overall shape will not be affected.

It is the same with your vocals. If you only sing as part of your training routine, you will be forever stuck in the vocal range you have.

What’s more, vocal training can help you improve in the areas you are most uncomfortable with. Similarly to how different physical exercises can help you tackle different muscles in your body, the variety of vocal exercises you need to keep the right balance and improve your vocals goes beyond “just singing.”

So where does one begin learning to sing harmony? While rigorous and thorough training is involved, here is a very brief overview as to how you can get started.

Learn What Harmony Is, Exactly

Definition of harmony: The deliberate combination of musical notes, sung, played simultaneously, and in careful coordination to produce the desired effect.

For harmony to be classified as harmony, at least two tones are needed, although most modern harmonies involve three to six vocal sounds.

1. Learn Music Theory

There are many resources to help you learn music theory, (which you should already be doing as an aspiring professional singer and musician!)

This will serve to accelerate the process of learning to sing, and learning how to sing harmony. Being able to recognize musical notes on paper, and by ear will save much time in every rehearsal once this skill is mastered.

2. Thorough Ear Training

It is a good idea to include comprehensive ear training as part of a music theory syllabus. This requires lots of active listening to music to develop “an ear for music.” This involves consciously listening out for every intricate musical element of the song and learning to recognize the sounds of every note and scale.

Training is optimized when using the written score of each song, while or after actively listening to compare the notes heard with the musical notes read.

3. Pitch Matching

This is usually a part of basic singing training nevertheless. Being able to sing any pitch or note within your vocal range physically is crucial to singing in the first place. The skill of pitch matching is just as important when learning how to sing harmony.

4. Learn The Melody of Each Song You Sing In Advance

Once you have a basic grasp of musical theory and you have trained your ear to recognize notes and your voice to match them, you are ready to move onto directly learning how to sing harmony.

Before you start to sing the song, it is helpful to get a feel for the melody beforehand. You can do this by singing off written music notes or along with a piano, or even from another singer who has the correct pitch mastered. When rehearsing with other musicians, it is a good idea for both/all singers to get the melody and pitch right independently, before starting to sing harmony. That way you will only have to tweak the minor differences in pitch, rhythm, as you progress, rather than trying to learn the entire song every time.

5. Harmony Exercises

There are many exercises that various singers can try to perform during every rehearsal, which aim to develop the ability to recognize each other’s pitch, mistakes on their own and to correct these while singing. It is a good idea to incorporate these exercises into each rehearsal, so that rapport is created among singers, making harmony easier.

Practice, practice practice

Remember, practice makes perfect! This is no quick fix to learning how to sing harmony. It is a very tricky skill that just requires the ability to recognize and match the correct pitches quickly.  This ability takes time and effort to develop.


Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey or two...

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