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Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions



Where is Harmony University?

We meet on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.  

1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212

Check out the school website here.   Driving?  Download the parking map here.

Want the Belmont App for your smartphone?  It’s free at “Belmont University”

What happens…what can I expect?


What about locals?

If you are not attending HU all week long but could drive to our campus for a day, we have several options!

Private lessons

Take a private lesson in arranging, conducting, performing, sight singing, and voice from our world class faculty.  You don’t have to be a full time HU student to take advantage of our wonderful teachers…just drive on over to Belmont! 

Saturday Only Pass

Take any of our electives, grab a lunch and dinner, watch the big show, and eat ice cream with all 700 of us!

Show Only Pass

Come watch the big Saturday night show…yes, you can have ice cream too.  

Honor’s Chorus

Join our Women’s Chorus, under the direction of Mo Field, or our Men’s Chorus, under the direction of Kirk Young, Monday – Friday from 2 pm to 4:30.  Get music, tracks, and world class life changing coaching.  This is for our drive in locals who can’t take a week off, but want to have a great barbershop experience.  No food, dorm, or other classes are included with this ticket.

Local Quartet Coaching

Are you a local men’s or women’s quartet that can’t be with us for the week, but want to take advantage of our coaches from all over the world?  Look through our list of 60+ coaches and choose the coach for your group!  You will meet from 7 to 9 pm with 1 coach, and have the option of selecting different nights with different coaches.  Once you pay, our HU planners will connect you to your coach.

Are there scooter rentals available? 

We have secured rental for mobility scooters for the week!  The rental company will:

  • Drop off your scooter at Belmont prior to your arrival
  • Pick up at your scooter after your departure
They have 15 300 lb capacity scooter for $130  
They have 2 350 lb capacity scooter for $170


We have been given a group discount with no delivery fee, but you must order by phone. Call All Star Medical @ 615-730-9438.  Ask for Scott, and say that you are attending Harmony University Belmont.  Scott will collect all your pertinent information, take a credit card # for the fee’s listed above, and have your scooter waiting for you on Sunday of Harmony University.  We request you place your order with All Star Medical before June 1st. Call early: last year they were all gone by June 1st.

When is Harmony University for the next 2 years?

  • July 23-30, 2017 (Sunday to Sunday)
  • July 22-29, 2018 (Sunday to Sunday)

What is the price of tuition in 2018?

We are confident we will have only a modest increase of our 2017 price points of 5 – 7%.  We have negotiated rooms, but other variables (food, transportation costs) are out of our control.  We anticipate this figure to be $765 for a resident BHS member price.

Is Harmony University Tax Deductible?

For the vast majority of our barbershop attendees, HU is NOT tax deductible.  If you are a music educator receiving continuing education hours or credits at HU, the answer is  YES.  

If you a music coach/director and are claiming this income on your tax return, and HU is a business expense to further your career, mostly yes.  

Teachers, check in with your school district and tax advisor, as many districts must grant authority to attend HU before you can claim these hours or credits.  

Barbershop directors and coaches, it is less clear in the US tax code.  Read more...HERE

I registered for HU but I need to select my courses. How do I do that? 

After you’ve registered through Eventrbite (and have received confirmation via email that you’ve successfully registered) the site will automatically direct you to our scheduling platform, SCHED. If you would like to revisit the website at any time, you can log into SCHED by visiting:


sched-logo-vertical-blackPlease note: You must register through our Registration page before you’re able to select courses for HU 2017. To view a list of available courses in general, visit our Course Offering Information

What information should I know about Airport Arrivals and Departures?


If you are FLYING into Nashville (BNA), our airport shuttles to Belmont run approximately every 40 minutes on Sunday, July 23rd between 12 pm and 6 pm.  Give yourself a little extra time for delays.  Look for the big HU signs held by our spunky volunteers in matching shirts.  They will meet you at baggage claim, ready to direct you to our chartered vehicles.   If you are significantly later or earlier than noon to 6, you will need to catch an UBER or taxi to Belmont.  Quotes range from $15 for an Uber to $33 for a Taxi.  Please try to avoid midnight arrivals, as our volunteer’s manning room check in would like the chance to go to bed.

If you are DRIVING to Belmont, plan to arrive between noon and 5 PM for registration. 


We depart for home on Sunday, July 30th. Because Belmont has a group coming in on Monday, they must turn around hundreds of rooms quickly, so we must depart in the morning!  Everyone needs to be off campus by 9 AM! 

We offer our return shuttle service to the airport from 4 AM – 9 AM.  You may catch a flight anytime you wish, but we must be off campus by 9 AM.   No exceptions.

What should I know about the dorm rooms? 

Ah, the college life.  Our housing at Belmont is two people to a dorm room.  You will each have a bed, bed sheets, a light blanket, a wash cloth and ridiculously small bath towel (with fresh sheets and towels mid-week), a dresser, and a closet.  We recommend you bring a nice big towel, bar soap, shampoo, and the toiletries you require.  Since the most precious thing we have is bed space and we are just about sold out, we are not allowing one person to a room this year.  If you are sensitive to snoring, bring some earplugs. 

 Your room has a second door that opens into your bathroom.  This is a shared central bathroom with one other room.  The bathroom has a shower with curtain, toilet stall with a door, towel hooks, and a wide counter top with two sinks.  Here is the tricky part:  you can lock the OTHER dorm room’s door for your privacy when you are using the bathroom, but you must remember to unlock their door when you leave.  In other words, you can’t lock people in the bathroom (as a college prank), but you CAN lock out the other room… the bathroom they just might want to use at some point.  Since 4 people are sharing one central bathroom, you should have a quick chat about your plan for who wants a shower at what time, if you want to leave items on the counter or store toiletries in your room, and if you are a sleepwalker.  Yep… it happens!  This dorm design means that if the bathroom door is unlocked, both rooms have access to the other room.  While we have not had issues with security, we do want you to know this ahead of time.

 We will assign you to a room by

  1. your request (if you made a roommate request)
  2. gender
  3. quartet or chorus
  4. similar age

Shared bathrooms are also gender matched, unless you are a husband/wife suite.  We will share a draft rooming list after registration closes and get your feedback.  You can make corrections and alert us if you wish to change your assigned roommate.

Suites are by gender:  Men’s suite, Women’s suite, and couples suite.  Do not bring a 3rd person in a 2 person room, or you will (sadly) be asked to leave Belmont.  2 to a room.

Because of the high temperature of Nashville, all dorm rooms are air conditioned.  This tends to dry the air, and people suddenly have vocal problems with this dryness in the room.  Drink a lot of water, and you will be fine.

We will have free WIFI available in your room.

Elevators and stairs are available to each floor of all dorms.

Belmont dorm security is tight. They monitor every public space with cameras and 24-hour security staff.   We will all be very safe, but we also are being watched pretty carefully.

Any special rules I should know about?

No alcohol is allowed on campus, regardless of age.  

We removed some adults who violated this rule last year and banned 2 more from returning. This is not a Barbershop Harmony Society policy, but is a condition of our using the Belmont campus. We must respect Belmont’s request and will back them up 100% of the time, even for faculty and BHS employees.  No alcohol on campus.  Instead, walk 300 feet across campus and enjoy 1 of 3 bars located right there!

Belmont ALSO requests that you not bring

  • skateboards, roller blades, those weird hover/board thingies.
  • tobacco, e-cigarettes, or any illicit drug.

No unregistered room guests

Just the students who have paid to be with us please.

No unregistered students

Please pay for this event.  We make this very affordable, and have removed people from our campus for this each year.  

Can I choose to have a single room instead of a double? 

We do not offer a single room option, as we have become too popular, and we would rather have students than empty beds. If you must have a private room, we can review suggested hotel links from the Belmont area here:

Nearby hotels and accommodations 

What information should I know about Keys? 

Because we are on a modern college campus, your room key has two parts.   The first key is an electronic card that you hold in front of a reader to gain access to your dorm building.  It’s kind of a fat credit card.  Then, attached to this card is a typical metal key.  Belmont changes out locks quickly for keys not returned by our departure day on Sunday, and they charge $100 for each key set.   Eight people were late last year, but BHS was already charged $800, and they all paid us back… but we were sad. 

We will charge you $100 for keys not returned at checkout.  

What will we do every day?

For the exact master schedule visit here: http://www.barbershop.org/harmony-university/master-schedule 

Sunday(s) are about travel, checking in (or out).  More below about departure and arrival times.

Monday to Friday, we will all have:

  •  7 – 9  Breakfast
  • 8 – 9  Early bird class session: Not required, but many of our early risers requested a class in the AM
  • 9:15 – 10:15  General Session: Learn a new warm-up, learn a new song, learn a new tag.
  • 10:30 – 11:30  Class session #1
  • 11:30 – 1:30  Lunch
  • 1 – 1:45  Lunch time elective: Choose one of 10 offerings, Monday through Friday. 
  • 2 – 3  Class session #2: Some of our performing arts students are simply resting between sessions.
  •  3:15 – 4:15  Class session #3
  • 4:30 – 5:30  Class session #4
  • 5:30 – 7:30  Dinner
  • 7:30 – 9  Master Class Choose one of 15 offerings after dinner. 
  • 8:00 – 10:00  Optional Extreme Quartet Brigade activities
  • 9 – 11  Ice Cream, Beaman Hall:  come by and sing tags and rub elbows with…everyone!

Like most music camps, we have several concerts and venues for performances….

  •  Friday night at 8 PM, we will have all our quartets and choruses put on a show, sharing with other HU students what they have been working on.
  • Saturday is our electives day!  Take any one hour class you wish at 10:30, 2, 3:15, or 4:30.  Or, grab an UBER and see Nashville with your HU buddies!  Or, nap all day!  
  • Saturday for our quartets has another option: they can hop on a bus from 12:30 to 4 PM and perform around town.  You will be followed by your coach to get feedback after every performance.  We did this  last year with choruses, but the size didn’t work as well as we hoped, so we are offering this for quartets only.
  •  Saturday night at 8 PM, we will have special guest & featured quartets, in a closing performance, as well as other groups from HU.

What should I pack or bring to Harmony University? 

  • comfortable, casual clothes for 7 days in a very warm, humid place
  • comfortable walking/standing shoes (especially performing groups)
  • sun glasses
  • toiletries
  • bar soap
  • clothes hangers
  • shampoo
  • 1 or 2 towels (Belmont provides very, very, VERY small towels… think dish towels)
  • If you are in a performing group, bring your uniform (Friday or Saturday)
  • pen/pencils
  • printed or electronic versions of our General Session Music (5 charts)
  • practice with our provided learning tracks (available for download) of our general session music.
  • look over the materials sent to you by your instructors (they also have your email, and will be checking in with you with materials needed for your class).
  • If you are under 18, you will need to have a copy of your participation form and liability/medical release form .

Optional Items to Bring:

  • bug spray (we have mosquitos)
  • sun block (it’s sunny here… don’t burn!)
  • laptop or tablet (especially for arrangers)
  • pitch pipe (or download to your phone for free)
  • music manuscript paper (we will sell on site as well)
  • smart phone (use our Belmont app)

What should I expect on Check-In Day?

Sunday, July 23rd is the big day!  The charter bus will drop you off in the Baskin roundabout at Belmont University.  When you get off the bus, you will be looking directly at the Patton and Potter dorms, directly in front of you.  If you are in Thrillkill, you will have a short walk to your dorm.  Go directly to your dorm.  If you don’t remember or know your dorm, look for one of our volunteers, and we can pull your name from our master list to get you on your way to home sweet home for the next 7 days.

The cafeteria will now be open for extended hours to help with our different arrival times.   You now have a chance to eat from Noon to 6 PM.  They are treating this service as one singular meal, so will NOT change out food.  You are welcome to eat both in the early afternoon and evening, but they are not changing food choices.

If you are a commuter, park in the Curb event center, but whatever you do:  DON’T BACK INTO YOUR SPOT.  That’s when they ticket you. Then go to Beaman 124 (HU office).  We will have your registration materials waiting for you HERE! Our volunteers and BHS staff will hand you your 2016 Belmont registration materials plus a water bottle.

Then, check in with the student staff at Belmont for your room keys, go to your room and drop off your luggage, maybe grab a bite in the cafeteria (noon to 6), attend our opening session at 8 PM Sunday night, Massey performing Arts Center, and start off HU 2017 right!

Scooters will be waiting in your 1st floor dorms with your name on it.  Pretty slick, huh?

If anything is wrong (You don’t have a room, you need help with your schedule, you don’t have your 4 t-shirts you ordered, you are missing your name tag…) we will have our HU office in Beaman 124, ready to help you.

What if I arrive late, after 8 PM on Sunday? 

If you show up to Belmont after 8 PM, go to Beaman student life center, room 124.  We will collect unclaimed keys and registration information from your dorm and store it in our office for your late night arrival.  We will be here until midnight.  If you arrive between 8pm and 9:30pm, all of HU will be in the Massey Performing Arts Center.  You could join us, be a part of the fun, then walk back to registration in Beaman AFTER the first session.  You may be too tired from traveling and just want to get into your dorm… that’s OK too.

If you arrive after midnight, Beaman will be locked, but we will post a telephone number on the front dorms to this building direct you to campus security.  They will help contact us, and we will get you in your room. 

What should I know about Parking?

At this time of year, none of us need a parking pass at Belmont, and you will have a wide selection to choose from.  Park anywhere on campus, but remember… Belmont security will ticket you if you BACK into a space.  

Are there Private lessons available? 

YES! These are for anyone who would like to grow in conducting, sight singing, vocal production, music theory, or arranging in our style.  Music educators, directors, and the curious are welcome!  Go into EVENTBRITE, select the number of lessons you want (they are $25 each), then go into SCHED and pick the day and time, and you are golden!  Some of the lessons are offered at the same time as your Monday-Friday class… it’s OK to miss for these lessons.  If you change your mind and want to add more, you can go back to the payment site, select more lessons, and select lessons. 

HEADS UP:  As our registration grows, some classes will not fill, and we will cancel them, now freeing up that instructor for private lessons.  About once a month, we will send updates on these added teachers (that were not available when YOU signed up).  It’s possible you may want to switch lessons… you can do this in our SCHED system.  It’s pretty slick.

What should I know about electives? 

Electives are based on adult education models:  offer a myriad of great content, and let people vote with their feet!  Sometimes it HURTS to choose one class over another.  We feel your pain.  Some classes will be standing room only.  Some will have 10 people.  The content is still good in a small class!  These are all posted in the lunch time elective and master class tabs on the main page!

If you sign up, it gives us a rough head count, and we will know that 150 people are interested in the class on underwater barbershop techniques.  Now we know to use a larger room. 

The best part is you can decide to switch, or go to another class, or just walk across the street to have an adult beverage.  Your call!

Are Continuing Education credits available? 

About 100 of you are public school teachers who are always looking for continuing education credits.  We offer this with your attendance at Harmony University through Adams State University for a small additional fee.  

Questions?  Check in with our friend Jay Dougherty at jmdougherty@gmail.com

Is there access to a Fitness Center on campus?

Yes! The cost to utilize the facilities at Belmont University is $35 for a week-long membership with no doctor’s note required! 

For the most up to date hours available, visit Belmont’s Website. In general the facilities are available: Monday – Friday 6 AM – 7 PM

  • Monday – Friday 6 AM – 7 PM
  • Saturday 1 PM – 5 PM

I have a medical need that requires refrigeration. 

We will have small “dorm” style fridges available for our students who need to keep medicine, insulin, or special dietary foods.  Belmont does not have any refrigerators in dorms, but they will allow us to keep these for medical purposes on the first floor.  Our fridges will be in a central location, near your check in location, in each dorm.  You will be sharing this unlocked fridge with other students, so please clearly mark your items.  We can’t store your ice or left over pizza… just medical supplies or special dietary needs.

New to Barbershop?

Sheet music

You will notice a few barbershop traditions that look a little different, but hey, it’s how we roll!

We have 2 systems (like SATB)

We have a treble and bass clef (like SATB), even though you are all women or men

Women: The bass clef has a little 8, meaning you sing all notes one octave higher than normal

Men: The treble clef has a little 8, meaning you sing all notes one octave lower than normal

To help you follow your part, all note stems for your part go the same direction.  Tenor and baritone, your note stems always go up, lead and bass, your note stems always go down.  It takes a minute to get used to, but you will quickly see how it helps you find your part quickly when notes are close together.

Learning tracks

As we mentioned above, we provide learning tracks.  This is so you can hear what our music sounds like all together, but also how your part fits in.  Here’s how we recommend you learn your music before you attend HU:

Listen to a full mix (both ear buds in) and follow along with the sheet music. 

Take OUT the ear bud with the three parts so you only hear your part.  Sing a long and really get a feeling for how your part goes.  Try it five or six times in a row.

Most important step… take out your part and put back in the other ear bud with the three other voice parts.  Try to sing your part against these three.  Depending on your experience, this will take some time, and it’s OK.  Just keep working at holding your part against the other three.  We have found most singers struggle with this at first, but get better quickly.  Yes, even All-State singers.  You can do it!  You may have to sing with both ear buds in if this step is too tricky.

If the part you are practicing is too hard, try another part.  Most people say singing lead is easier to learn, since you are singing (mostly) the melody.


The Barbershop Harmony Society is a men’s singing organization.  We do have many female coaches and directors in BHS, and even have and even have an official status (Associate) for women.  We are proud that we have many women on HU faculty representing the BHS, and two other barbershop style singing groups for women:  Sweet Adelines International, and Harmony Incorporated.  These teachers were not selected because of their gender… they were selected because we want the best teachers in the world, and this team of men and women are the best of the best.  

Students are welcome regardless of gender.  We hope that women will feel welcome and included in our educational outreach, because barbershop is barbershop, regardless of your gender.  The only time gender becomes an issue in our music is vocal range.  Most of our charts will be too low for most women to sing the bass/baritone part, but you are encouraged to sing whatever the heck you want.  We do have a cultural request that you not sing anything up an octave when singing with us.  You will be singing in your chest voice most of the week, so take it easy!

We like to sing 24/7

We sing at in hallways, in bathrooms, in dorm rooms, in the closet, out of the closet, waiting in lines… you get the idea.  If you are a sensitive sleeper, you may want to bring ear plugs, as you will most likely hear singing in the area at 2 AM.  Weird, I know. 

We don’t always sing the written rhythm, on purpose

If we are singing a song with a firm tempo, barbershop singers perform pretty much the notated rhythm, with a typical slow down on the last few measures.  However, when we sing ballads or often an introduction, we sing these songs in a rubato (free) style.  For our opera friends, think about the recitative.  This takes a little while to feel, as we blast through whole notes and hold eighth notes.  In general, we ask ourselves, how would you speak these words, and then try to sing those words using that timing.  We love harmony and chords, so we hold chords a lot longer than most other styles… particularly at the end and cadence points.  If a whole note is the last note written, you can pretty much count on that being 3 or 4 measures long.  The recordings we have provided are a pretty fair representation of what you will hear at HU.


Barbershoppers are very much like any music style… they have their own words and expressions that may seem odd at first!  Here are a few that you will encounter during your stay: 

First, we call our four parts

Tenor:  A harmony voice that is the highest, treble clef, note stems up

Lead:  The melody voice, treble clef, note stems down (2nd voice down, in the alto spot)

Baritone:  A harmony voice below and sometimes above the lead, bass clef, note stems up

Bass:  A harmony voice part that is the lowest, bass clef, note stems down

 A few common terms you will encounter during the week at HU:

Tag:  The ending (coda) of the song with a flourish of chord changes.  This ending has become such an important part of our culture that we often teach these little endings to each other as a stand alone musical experience.  Much like any musician who “jams” with another, barbershop singers teach these endings.  Our tradition is to teach them by ear, without printed music, which can be confusing at first.  We will teach a tag at each general session, and you will hear hundreds of them during your stay. Make sure your phone is charged to record some! 

Hanger:  One of the voice parts holds one long note on a single vowel of a word, while the other voice parts change chords and words around the singer, and can be as long as 30 seconds.  This is most typical in the Lead part.  Ask to learn the tag “Behind” from someone at HU.

Swipe:  A glissando (slide) from one note to another

Fifth Wheeling:  a frowned upon activity where a person joins a group of four uninvited by singing along.  To avoid this faux pas, wait until they are done and ask if you can sing along on the part you know.  They will smile and say YES!

What can I expect as the general barbershop culture?

We are proudly and unashamedly a G-rated, family show.  We even have 10 part code of ethics for our members that has general expectations on the back of our membership cards.  Here are a few:

  • We shall accept for membership only congenial men of good character.
  • We shall exhibit a spirit of good fellowship toward all members.
  • We shall not permit the introduction of political, religious, or other similar controversial issues.
  • We endeavor to spread the spirit of harmony throughout the world.

We ask the same of you… to be nice, encouraging, and not introduce bad energy or language to our classrooms, our meals, our dorms, and our campus.  We are a super caring group of people, and we are glad you coming to learn with us.  But we expect you to be like us and show the love right back!