This is a public version of the members-only ArtistWorks Vocal Lessons, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of ArtistWorks Vocal Lessons.
Join Now

Vocal Lessons
«Prev of Next»

ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Singing Harmony: Finding Your Note, Holding Your Own -NEW!

Lesson Video Exchanges () Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
ArtistWorks Vocal School
information below Close
Course Description

This is only a preview of what you get when you take ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons at ArtistWorks. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Now we're going to get into
finding notes for each harmony singer to
sing and
working it phrase by phrase.
Working also on learning how to hold your
own harmony part and
not drift into somebody else's note zone,
we'll call it.
So I bring back my singers, Michael and
>> Hello.
>> Hello guys.
>> Hello.
>> Folks, lady, gent.
All right, now, using Lean On Me, cuz
we're just gonna keep using
the section of the song and developing it
step by step, as you would with
any song that you were working, you know,
you take it step by step.
All right, once again, we're in the key of
Now, most songs have more than one chord.
So as I was speaking about in the Harmony
101 lesson,
harmonies are based on the chord that is
part of the harmonic structure,
it's called, of the song.
In this case, it goes from a D to a G.
G G, B, D.
Back to the D, D, F sharp, A and
then it goes to another chord, etc.
The harmonies, as a result, are going to
be based on what those
chord tones are, as the song moves along.
Now remember, there's a, a, free school
for you to learn, music harmony.
And if what I'm saying sounds like a
foreign language, I really recommend that
you make use of this fantastic perk that
ArtistWorks is giving each
of you and learn more about music theory,
you get the language of music and things
start making a lot more sense.
In fact I'm gonna use this moment to share
a really quick story,
sorry for having you guys hang out on this
but, hope you enjoy the story.
Okay so, I grew up playing music on piano
classical, and
around musicians a lot of time, but at a
certain point when I decided to sing with
bands, I moved into much more contemporary
music and
they were talking about this and that and
what chord to play.
And I would hear things in my,
my creative imagination that I wouldn't be
able to communicate to them.
No, no that's not how I wanted the sound
let's see.
And it was so frustrating so I realized
that I needed to learn some music theory
and that moved me forward to in this case
going to Berklee College of Music
where I, I majored in composition and
But you don't have to go that far.
But you're in music, so learning some of
the language can make,
help make so much more sense, to what
you're doing, especially on harmonies.
Otherwise you have to just go with
searching around and finding notes.
[SOUND] All right, back to this lesson
So in the key of D, I'm going to start
with Michael.
And we're gonna do the first phrase.
Now, he may or may not know what note to
start on.
I'm gonna let him find it.
And see what, where we go from there.
I'll coach it at that point as needed.
[SOUND] Okay, so we've got me, and
you just come in where you, kind of
randomly feel.
>> Okay.
>> Ready?
>> Mm-hm.
>> Okay.
One, two, three.
>> [MUSIC]
Lean on me when you're not strong.
>> Good, we're going to do that again.
>> [MUSIC]
Lean on me when you're not strong.
[MUSIC] See? He's getting more and more
One, two, three.
>> [MUSIC]
Lean on me when you're not strong.
Now there's little tweaks that I can do
which I will get to.
But the first thing is just at least
pretty much what your notes are going to
be, and then just drilling it.
Because as you drill it,
you get, as we've already talked about,
more and more certain.
Now, you're part, I'm gonna suggest that
you come in on, when you're not strong.
Let me do lean on me, by myself.
[SOUND] That's a hint.
>> [MUSIC]
Lean on me when
you're not strong.
Okay, good.
Now let's find these notes that
you started on the right one, for this
particular harmony.
And the way that the melody goes,
when you're not strong, so it's [SOUND].
>> Okay.
>> Sing that.
>> [MUSIC]
When you're not strong.
>> Good, again.
>> When you're not strong.
>> Good, again.
>> When you're not strong.
>> Good, again.
>> When you're not strong.
>> Cool.
I hope you're singing along with this if
you wanna sing the, this harmony part.
Let's do it again together.
One, two, three.
>> When you're not strong.
>> That was so much stronger, too.
[LAUGH] All right, now I'm gonna do it
with you, and then we'll add you.
>> Okay.
>> So I do Lean on Me by myself.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
Much better.
Now, there's a little aid
when you're singing any part,
whether it's the melody or harmony.
If you feel you're drifting, you can put,
you can close your ear,
and you'll hear yourself primarily inside.
We hear ourselves two ways at the same
time, it's kind of like a stereo system.
The sound that's comes outside and enters
our outer ear and
the sound that is called bone conduction.
It's the vibrations from the inside moving
through the bones, and
we hear it on the inside.
So you hear it two different ways.
And by the way, that's why the first time
you ever record yourself, and
maybe more than the first time, and you
listen back, you'll sound different.
Obviously if you have bad recording what
do you call it
gear that can influence it as well, but
there's that,
wow I really sound different, and that's
one of the reasons why.
So, I want you to close your ear next to
me cuz I'm standing here, not over there.
>> Oh.
>> There you go.
Okay, that's your starting note.
Okay, I'm going to do Lean On Me,
you join in on when.
One, two, three.
Now, when you come down on a note,
sometimes you come down a little too far,
you as the general you.
So you need to think, in that case, up a
little bit as you're coming down.
That sounds strange, but.
And then it goes flat.
>> Okay.
>> Here we go.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Perfect.
Here's, these are the micro areas that you
drill as needed.
And so I wanted to show you each of these
little aspects.
So, okay, so the, the notes aren't
perfect, but they're close.
So how do you do it?
You hear yourself.
You think closer, one note to the next.
The relationship is a little closer, not
so far.
And then you drill it with that vowel.
And you just do it over and
over again, until it sits perfect.
And then you've got it in your pitch
Then that leads to more confidence.
do you know where you're starting?
>> Mm-hm.
>> Cool.
One, oh so now, we're gonna do the first
phrase and the second phrase.
Notice I'm not just sweeping through the
whole section.
Little by little.
One, two, three.
Keep going.
Now this happens frequently where you
think everybody's in the groove,
and all of a sudden, oops.
One or more of the singers actually hadn't
memorized their part yet
because they're still figuring it out.
I have witnessed many arguments that have
come up where one
person is like, well, you already told me
what you [NOISE].
All you need to do is just drill it.
It saves a lot of aggravation, and it gets
everybody on their part really quick.
So we've got.
And then, what are you going to sing?
And then you go back.
you go back
to it.
>> Okay.
>> There's a lot of repetition in harmony.
Each harmony part kind of tends to repeat
a lot of stuff.
Obviously it depends on the song, but
it happens a lot.
So, as you find the notes and drill them,
phrase by phrase, gaining greater and
greater certainty for yourself and
each of the singers that you're working
Notice you take it apart, you put it back
You take it apart, you put it back
The ability to stay on your pitch, on your
note, has so
much to do with hearing what you're
knowing what the vowel sounds are going to
which we're gonna address a little bit
more in a moment.
And don't worry about rhythm yet.
Just find the part, drill it until you're
certain, and
then you know what your melody is.
Then don't listen so much to somebody else
whose singing with you,
really stay on target of what you're
This will establish, for you, yourself,
as a better and better, harmony singer.