Vocal Exercise: Find Harmonies & Improvise Better

In this video I will show you a method to find richer, more interesting harmony notes in the songs you are singing. By doing this you will hear the underlying structure of the music better, rather than just focus on the melody line. This will in turn give you more choices. The exercise will also greatly improve your improvising skills!

Singers are musicians, too

Singers often do not think of themselves as musicians. But there is a false expectation that we tend to place on ourselves with singing, and that is that we should be expected to play and know everything ear. I wouldn’t expect to pick up a bass guitar and be able to play a great riff without learning first, and the voice is no different to that.

By practicing in the way I show you in this post, singers can gain more awareness of the underlying structures within the music, and how our vocal instrument works within it. Singers can then feel more informed and immersed in the music as a whole – not just learning and singing the melody lines of their songs.

Let’s not be the

butt of one of those

singers’ jokes…

Vocal exercise for finding harmonies & improvising

Step 1: Using your backing track or accompaniment, isolate only the root notes of each chord, and sing those notes only. Tip: I like to hum to double this up as a warm-up exercise.

Chords of a Song

Step 2: Now do that again, but this time sing through the 1-3-5-7 of each chord. Use a simple sound such as “doo”. You might want to see my previous blog post How to Sing in Harmony where you can grab a free cheat sheet with these values of each chord written out.

And that’s it!

The benefits of practicing this way

By taking the time to learn your songs in this way, you are going to greatly improve your musicality. You will become more an informed singer, you’ll hear more within the music, you’ll become more flexible in your approach to singing and of course, be able to find great harmonies and feel more comfortable improvising away from the melody line. You will also gain the respect of other musicians you might be working with.