Singing harmonies has always been somewhat of a struggle for me. As a session musician, this is literally part of my job, so that’s a problem. My typical process for harmonies would be as follows:
- Guess at singing something that sounds good
- Upon review, realize that I sang a 4th and not a 3rd or 5th (I ALWAYS do this for some reason)
- Either completely scrap the first harmony, or try to salvage it another way
Sometimes clients will give me the song key, but I’m not great with theory so that doesn’t always help.
A Class for Singing Harmonies
Before we begin: This is not sponsored (thank god), and I won’t include the link because honestly I don’t know if I recommend the class. If you want it, let me know and I’ll add it.
I found this class on good ol’ Udemy, and chose it because although it didn’t have great reviews, it claimed to teach exactly what I needed: Hear harmonies instantly and perform them with ease.
Here is the beginning of my course if you want to see instead of read:
The Class Overview
Hoo boy. Okay, so I’ll give you the positives first:
- I learned how to tell harmonies
- It wasn’t expensive
Now the negatives:
- Very poor quality audio (no video, there is just a screen)
- The videos are about 4x longer than they need to be, because a lot of it is the instructor thinking of things to say or playing the wrong piano notes
- There are entire lessons dedicated to knowing whether notes are ascending or descending. Meaning, “Is this note higher or lower than the last note?” I’m sorry but if you can’t tell that, a harmony class is probably not going to help you. These lessons were completely unnecessary
I don’t think either side outweighs the other. I got what I paid for, I learned harmonies. However, I think improving these negatives would improve the class GREATLY.
Here is my midway review:
Finishing the Course
Here is my final video:
Not much changed between the first and last half. I just think the quality control was non-existent here.
There was even an entire video that was in another language. Apparently no one caught that or they didn’t care.
In short, if you want to learn harmonies and you don’t really care about quality (at all), go ahead and take the course. You will learn.
However, here are small things that could be done to drastically improve the quality of the class:
- We need SOME type of video, it’s a video class. Even just a slide show or something would be enough to keep us from falling asleep.
- The audio sucks. It’s super hard to hear and sounds like it was recorded on a flip phone. If you don’t want to re-record it, maybe just EQ it and take some of the hiss out of it or something.
- It should also be edited so the long pauses and mistakes are removed. There were 6-minute videos with less than a minute of usable information on them.
- Remove the “ascending or descending” quizzes, as anyone taking interval training can tell if a note is higher or lower
- Increase the amount of actual quizzes that are useful, maybe even with some downloadable quizzes to play later
I will say, musictheory.net has a quiz on intervals you can take for free. I’ve tried playing it before and did terribly, but I feel like my score has improved since taking the class.
Here is the class if you want to check it out for yourself.
If you need expert harmonies on your project, I’m officially certified now I guess (haha) but I also have years and years of experience. This class won’t affect my clients at all, just my ability to figure things out sooner. Contact me if you need harmonies on your project!
I also made this graphic if you want a handy reference for intervals. Feel free to pin or save!