Learn To Sing In Harmony

Singing is good for you – and it’s great fun to sing with other people.  Everyone can sing – even if they think they can’t.  You may have some previous singing experience or you may be a novice.  In either case, this five week course will give you the basic singing skills to sing in four-part harmony.

We want you to enjoy the course.  You will have an experienced ‘buddy’ from the Shannon Express chorus to help you along (and you won’t be asked to sing on your own).  Each week will start at 7.30pm with a vocal and physical warm-up.  The rest of the time (up to about 9pm) will be a mixture of instruction and practise – using two course songs as the focus.  We prefer to do all this standing up but let us know if you have any mobility issues so that we can make it easy for you.

The two songs are: 

  • ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ – a great up-tempo number from the musical Annie Get Your Gun
  • ‘Feelin’ Groovy’ (The 59th Street Bridge Song) by Paul Simon.  This is a more laid-back song (“Slow down, you move too fast…”) which is a nice contrast with the other song. 

You don’t need to be able to read music.  To help you learn the two songs, you will have ‘teach tracks’ on mp3 or CD.  We’ll tell you how to do this.  There is quite a bit to get through each week, so you will have some practise to do at home.  Your buddy is there to help as well.


Week 1
After some introductions, we’ll get you singing quickly.  We’ll also need to find out which voice part will suit you best (high, low or in-between) and allocate the right buddy.  We’ll show you how to stand properly for singing and also how to breathe well.  You will sing a short ‘tag’ in four-part harmony before you go home.  We’ll give you a copy of Song 1 to start learning and some notes to read and practise at home.
Week 2
We’ll do some more work on breathing and then give you techniques for singing with freedom and confidence.  The rest of the time will focus on the first of the two course songs – both separately, with all the men in your voice part, and then as a chorus.  You will go away with a copy of Song 2 – more homework.  Don’t worry, it’s more straightforward than it sounds and you’ll learn the songs easily if you practise.
Week 3
Using the skills you’ve learned so far, we’ll work on making your voice ‘big’ – what we call ‘resonant’.  We’ll do more work on Song 1 and make a start on Song 2.  You will then need to put some work in at home to learn the songs.  If you need help from your buddy, just ask him.
Week 4
It’s important that we have good unity of notes and words, so we’ll look at the way we shape the sound to get a good blend of voices.  We’ll then concentrate on the two songs and use them to consolidate what we’ve learned.  We’ll also look at how to perform them to best effect.  There will be final homework again…
Week 5
This is concert week!  You will need to know the two songs well enough to sing them without holding the sheet music.
We’ll start with a final practise together and then, about 8.15pm, we’ll perform as a chorus to your family and friends.  We’ll give you a certificate and have some refreshments.  That will be the end of the course.  We hope you will continue singing.
Week 6 is not part of the course but, if you have enjoyed the course and want to find out more about singing with Shannon Express, come along and see us.

Our sister chorus, PHOENIX, meets on Tuesday evenings in the same Potton lower School venue. www.phoenixladies.co.uk

Barbershop choruses and quartets generally belong to BABS, The British Association of Barbershop Singers. www.singbarbershop.com