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How did you learn to sing harmony?

DSC00325Did you learn to sing harmony “by ear” or through learning to read music?  Take this poll:

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24 Comments for “How did you learn to sing harmony?”

  1. I led singing for about 20 years in a couple of congregations and I can read notes. When I quit leading singing several years ago, I started teaching myself to sing harmony. I read the notes, if notes are available. Unfortunately, some churches we attend do not project the notes–just the words. I can also pick out harmony from listening to songs when notes are not available but it takes some effort. I suspect that if there were a third choice on this survey that says “both”, it would have a good response also.

  2. Learned harmonies through reading music in grade school band.

  3. Learned to sing harmony through listening and singing with my buddies

  4. I learned to sing harmony by listening to my family members singing in worship & at Sunday Sings in the Church of Christ, California Street, Salinas CA. My grandmother was in a radio singing quartet with 3 other members of the church and she sang alto. My memory is filled with their voices & I can still hear her voice along with my Mother & Father’s when I sing during worship. So many wonderful memories that fill my heart around singing. Thanks for letting us share!

  5. My answer is BOTH (though I did vote “by ear”).

    I learned to read music early on, and that definitely helps me pick up specific harmonies to unfamiliar songs very quickly (like, I can sight-sing a new song without problems).

    However, I instinctively hear harmonies in my head… like if someone sings just a melody, I can usually hear harmony in my head to fill the chords, and that comes pretty naturally to me, so my ear probably had the biggest influence on me when I learned to sing harmony.

  6. When I was 10, I sat with my Sunday School teacher who sang alto. I learned to sing the alto part, and did quite well, as my voice had not changed! :-) My father was the song leader and this was pretty disturbing to him. He told me to go sit by Bro. Springer, who had a low, deep bass voice. :-) I learned the alto and bass parts from hearing these two people. Then my father taught me how to read shaped note music by running the scale (using do-mi-sol), and also how to pitch songs that way. That was a difficult time for me! I remember crying and telling my Dad I was NEVER going to be a song leader! (I have lead singing full-time for 38 years!) Never say “never”! :-)

  7. I learned to sing by ear. I learned to sing harmony by reading the music. I really enjoy four part harmony at church as well as Barbershop, but I can only imagine the music of heaven won’t be so limited.

  8. I learned while taking trips with my sister and brother-in-law, Aggie and Jack Bledsoe. We always had books in the car or sang from memory. When we sang fast songs, Jack drove fast! Slow songs…you guessed it. The one disadvantage is that we read shape notes; so now it is hard for me to sing a new song without the shapes. We were a singing family and blessed by it. My pet peeve in worship is to have words to a song on Power Point without music.

  9. Singing is like breathing, I don’t know how I hear the harmony but I know I do. One day someone will teach how to read all that stuff. The older songs are easy to harmonise with as they seem to follow some kind of set pattern, meaning even if I have never heard it before I can “guess” when the harmony is meant to go. The newer songs – I have to learn by listening othe CDs over and over as the new patterns are still a work in progress. I don’t know if it is my polynesian genetics but I can still hear a harmony…one day it may even be what everyone else is singing….

  10. I learned it both ways, first through church, and again through Band and Choir in high school.

  11. I learned to sing harmony by ear while listening to my mother and another precious lady in our church. AIso, as a child, my parents would listen to various “tapes” from the Acapella Company while on long trips. I would sing right along!! I can’t read music, but I can sort of see the flow of things on the page.

  12. I learned to sing harmony by borrowing acappella (tapes at the time) music and playing them on my walkman or my radio when I was going to sleep. I used to sing myself to sleep in my adolescent and teenage years as I lived at a childrens home. Music was very calming and gave me memories of my own home

  13. I’ve known how to read music since learning the piano as a kid – but I had never heard or been part of a group singing a cappella until I was added to the church at 25 years old. With my background in piano, I only recognized chords – so I had a hard time figuring out how to sing a soprano “chord” … and then one summer our congregation had some singing lessons, and one of the song leaders (who is now my husband!) explained that sopranos only follow the top line, altos the second, etc. Was *very* helpful! :)

  14. I learned harmony before I could even read the words to songs. Now I can do both, but congregational and devo singing taught me.

  15. Rick Bingham (alias Ringham Bingham

    I led my first song in worship on a Wednesday night in 1962. I was 9. Scared to death. Brother Wiley Davis had help me to learn “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand.” I blew a pitch-pipe. Hummed what I thought was a ‘G’, and started singing. To my utter surprise, the congregation followed. I learned to sing harmony by trial and error and by sitting next to the older brothers while they sang tenor. I tried to sing bass, because singnig tenor was not very manly for a Oklahoma country boy. But alas, it was tenor then and tenor now. I thank the Lord for all those wonderful men and women to have sang with me….and still do. I know God smiles.

  16. I was seven years old, riding in the car with my mom. She had just sung the alto part while i sang the melody, and then we switched. And that was it. been singing harmony ever since !:)

  17. Mauricio Amaro Da Silva

    aprendir a cantar em harmonia com a compania acapella
    quando eu tinha 15 anos um amigo mim deu um tape da compania acapella
    album sweet felloswship

  18. I’m 14 and I sing soprano, alto, high tenor, low tenor and sometimes even try for bass! (growl growl.Oops you heard that! You weren’t supposed to hear that!)I learned alto by sitting by my Mom in church and probably got strong about 10 or 11. My older sister used to carry the alto part by herself at age 4 or 5. My family loves music and we sing together a lot!

  19. I learned to sing harmony where you got your start with A Capella…. Williamstown Church of Christ. And I learned a lot of it from Jim Judy Zetterberg. I’m pretty sure if you think really hard you’d probably remember them also. :-)

  20. I’m am fourteen and learned alto at about 9 or 10 by singing while sitting beside my mom in church (our church is mennonite and we sing four part harmony. I am exceedingly thankful that!) I learned high tenor and tenor w/my dad ant about age 12..I’m so glad God has given me the ability to did!

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