Creating vocal harmonies

A KS3 and 4 Music Project. Understand the basic principles of vocal harmony and create harmonies for your favourite songs

This project is ideal for exploring how to go about creating your own vocal harmonies. The activities will work best if you’ve already done some whole-class singing. Even if you haven’t had any experience of singing in parts, the warm-up exercises and songs will introduce this, or serve as a reminder for singers with more experience. Students will learn what intervals are and how these can be used to create vocal harmonies. This will be done through practical work as a whole class and in smaller groups, and also through reflection, evaluation, and discussion. The project culminates in students working out their own vocal harmonies for melodies of their own choice.

Learning how to name intervals and which ones to start with when singing harmonies will be introduced through vocal warm-ups and songs that use mostly thirds and sixths. Students will then transfer this knowledge to their own choice of melody, experimenting with harmonies above and below, and using different intervals. All the warm-ups and songs can be performed completely a cappella, with backing tracks or with accompaniment. When students progress to harmonising their own choice of melodies, you can introduce chordal instruments or even ICT- based backing tracks to provide reinforcement of chords and rhythm.

KEY CONCEPTS AND VOCABULARY

  • Harmony
  • Melody
  • Intervals
  • Bass
  • Riff
  • Intonation
  • Reflection

Download the 'Creating Vocal Harmonies' Music Project PDF

 

Jane Werry is a specialist leader in education and Director of Music at Hayes School in Bromley, having taught secondary music for over 20 years. She is an experienced choral director and also works as a freelance singer in genres ranging from oratorio through light opera to pop.

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