Learn to Sing And Play Guitar At The Same Time

in How To Sing Better

Singing and playing guitar at the same time. Yehaw.
Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

Learning to sing and play guitar at the same time can be like learning to rub your stomach while patting your head. It might be difficult and frustrating at first, but with these tips and some practice, you’ll develop the right coordination in little time.

First, there’s no easy trick to playing and singing at the same time. When I first started to play and sing at the same time, it sounded like a trainwreck. I’ve since been able to improve to the point where my performances are “fluid”, I capture the essence of the song, and I’m free to really express myself. Although it took quite a bit of trial and error (plus patience) to get to this point, it has become a very rewarding experience.

While learning, I discovered the following “tricks” that could be used as “stepping stones” while developing my singing/playing coordination. By using them, you should hopefully be able to cut down on the learning curve.

  • Start With a Simple Rhythm: Use a simple rhythm like one strum per every beat while singing. Tapping your foot to the rhythm (which is a good habit to develop anyhow) will help. So will a metronome. Yes, the song may sound boring and predictable, but once the overall rhythm is consistent, you can begin adding variations.
  • Alternate Strumming and Singing: This is a great way to begin combining chords and vocals together. Essentially, you play a chord once, then sing the melody/lyrics that occur during that chord, then play the next chord, and so on. Alternating back an forth helps develop the timing and coordination. As you improve, add additional strums so that the singing starts to overlap the strumming.
  • Make the Harmony Automatic: Practice a song without singing several times until it is memorized and mostly automatic. This frees up brain cells to concentrate on singing.
  • Play Along: Learn covers of other’s songs and play along with the CD/mp3, etc. It’s like a set of training wheels for rhythm and timing.
  • Sing Gibberish: Try singing the melody with whatever words, sounds, or syllables you come up with. Even humming can help here. It acts like a small stepping stone to singing with the actual lyrics (which takes a bit more coordination).
  • Record Yourself: Recording your practice allows for critical listening and helps you identify areas of the performance that need improvement. Plus, it’s a great way to track your progress and see how far you’ve come over time. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t sound perfect. It’s all part of the journey.

Again, there’s no shortcut to learning to sing and play guitar at the same time. However, with patience, practice, and by using these stepping stones, you will be well on your way to making it automatic and enjoying more freedom to express yourself.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tommy March 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

Hi there,

Great blog you have there. Looks like a really good resource for people into learning the guitar.
I also wrote a blog there recently for people wanting tolearn to guitar.


sur le pont d'Avignon August 9, 2013 at 6:03 am

Admiring the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material.
Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: