How to sing the melody while others sing harmonies was a question I received recently. I have this question posed a lot actually. Students sometimes have a hard time holding their own and singing the melody with the harmonies blaring in their ears at the same time. For beginners it can be very difficult not to slip into the same stream of a harmony part and sing along.
But that is what you are doing if you have a hard time not doing this. You are following and singing along with the harmony. You are abandoning the lead and following the other part. You are not holding your vocal ground and singing independently.
You are not differentiating yourself from the other parts. And therein lies the answer in its simplicity.
Singing along with harmonies and holding your melody line is a matter of differentiation. You must be able to distinguish the difference between your melody line and the harmonies. Now this may sound counter-intuitive, but here is a lesson on how to remedy this. All you need is both a karaoke version and an original version of a song you are having a hard time with. Make sure they are both in the same key (IMPORTANT).
1. Sing along with the karaoke track and sing the harmony part that you keep slipping into. I know this seems like you are making the mistake on purpose. Trust me. There is a method to the madness. Do this several times until you are confident you know it (the harmony).
2. Then listen to the melody of the the original track and pay attention to how it compares with the harmony. Repeat this a few times alternating between concentrating on the melody and then the harmony.
4. Then sing the harmony with the original track. Repeat until you have it down.
5. Now sing the harmony with the original track while paying attention to the melody. Repeat until you can hold the harmony line without slipping into the melody.
6. Then sing with the melody with the original track. Repeat until you have it down.
7. Now sing with the melody with the original track while paying attention to the harmony. Repeat until you can hold the melody line and not slip into the harmony you are paying attention to.
8. Then sing the harmony with the karaoke track.
9. Then sing the melody with the ORIGINAL track.
10. Repeat 8 & 9 until confident you can switch back and forth with no major adjustment.
11. Sing the melody with the karaoke track.
That should about do it! Let me know how it goes in the comments. And ask any questions you might have in there as well!