Biblical Womanhood and Christian Living
Learn to Sing in Harmony? Of Course You Can!
By Mrs. Chancey
May 19, 2008 - 12:10:47 AM

I grew up singing a shaky soprano. My speaking voice is low--much closer to a contralto--and I had a hard time reaching the high notes after age ten. I struggled for years to keep up with the melody on hymns like "Angels We Have Heard on High" with its incredibly soaring "Glorias." And finding the alto notes seemed impossible. It didn't matter that I could read music and play piano. The musical notes on the page did not translate into singing for me--only into fingering on the keyboard. I couldn't pick the tune out from notes on the page to sing a lower part, so I just kept on squeaking out those soprano notes.

Then a good friend started singing alto in my ear, and my world changed. Finally! I could hear and follow along with the alto parts in all my favorite hymns! I no longer had to strain to reach unreachable notes, and the more I sang with my friend next to me, the easier it became to hear the alto line without even trying hard. The world of singing in harmony opened to me, and I found a new joy in hymns and songs of praise.

Most people are not born with a natural gift for harmonizing; it really has to be learned. But many people imagine that learning to sing in parts can only come through professional training or years of hard practice. This is simply not the case! Even if you can't read a scrap of music, you can learn to harmonize and sing within your own personal range. And the wonderful family team at the Genevan Foundation for Cultural Renewal has given us the tools we need to sing beautifully together.

Following their delightful CD "O Sing a New Psalm," the Serven family has crafted two fantastic new collections of hymns and Psalms--"Glory, Laud, and Honor" and "Nations Praise." These CDs do not just contain tracks of beautifully sung hymns, however; they are also training CDs that contain individual tracks for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. After listening to ten hymns (Psalms from the Psalter on "Nations Praise") sung in four-part harmony, you can go straight to ten bonus tracks just for your range and learn your part for each hymn.

When our CDs arrived, I immediately popped in "Glory, Laud, and Honor" and enjoyed the beauty of four-part harmony resounding through the house. Then I listened in turn to each set of tracks for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, singing along with the alto and enjoying every minute. I was surprised on a couple of tracks to find that the alto I'd been singing for years was really a mixture of tenor and alto--I'd just picked notes out and sung my own harmony without realizing it! So I was able to brush up on my alto for hymns including "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" and "Come Thou Fount."

After loading "Nations Praise" into the CD player, I stepped into the kitchen for a few moments. When I came back into the living room, I found my second-born son, Alex, parked in front of the CD player, nodding his head in time to the music. Alex is our family singer and the one who loves music the most. He was fascinated by the separate tracks for each part and wanted to listen to the tenor a few times through. I was surprised later to find him singing along to Psalm 2 in a fairly accurate tenor, and I encouraged him to keep up the practice. If a nine-year-old can learn to sing in parts, then anyone can!

While these CDs have been created to very high standards, I was refreshed to hear very normal, ordinary voices joined together in song. The singers are definitely talented and enjoyable to listen to, but they do not come across as paid musicians of operatic standing. This makes singing along and learning parts even less intimidating. Knowing the Serven family personally has made it even more fun to listen to their voices (along with the clear tenor of Chad Roach) singing together.

In celebration of the release of these new tools for cultural renewal, the Genevan Foundation is allowing LAF to give away the two CDs to one fortunate winner. If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, please drop a line to by Friday, May 23. Be sure to include "CD drawing" in the subject line so we don't miss your entry! We'll contact the winner by email by Saturday morning, and the Genevan Foundation will send the CDs directly to the winner. We're happy to be part of promoting these excellent new resources for individuals and families to grow in the grace, knowledge, and beauty of Christ Jesus through song!

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