Yes. I believe that anyone can learn to sing in harmony. It will be easier for some than others, but it’s possible for all of us. A great way to start is by learning to sing rounds – a short song where everyone is singing the same melody, just at different times.
This version of Gathered Here was recorded at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley where, from 2004-2015, I served as cantor and directed the Youth and Children’s Choir.
You can’t see me in the video, but I start the round, and then Rod Lowe, the tenor section leader, comes in and it builds from there. Bryan Baker is directing.
Gathered here in the mystery of the hour
Gathered here in one strong body
Gathered here in the struggle and the power
Spirit, draw near.
If you’d like to learn the round, start by listening to my part. Try to follow my voice all the way through. Listen, rewind, listen again. Then listen and hum along. Then sing the words. Then listen all the way through without making a sound. See if you can track your part with only your ear.
By now, you’ll either know Gathered Here, or you’ll no longer want to.
There comes a time when your body knows a part well enough that you’re free to sing one thing while listening for another. This might not happen as soon as you’d like. When it does happen, it can feel mind-bending and magical.
If you’d like to learn more about singing in harmony, come to a workshop!