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singing while playing


(@hanaya)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

I'm new to guitar, and one of the things I really want to do is be able to sing while playing. I've picked a song, and can play the guitar end of it well enough that I don't need to think a lot about it while playing. I want to add the singing part to it, but its very difficult. I have trouble with things like keeping the beat, and even though I know the guitar part very well, I lose it when I start to sing. It's very frustrating.

Does anyone have any tips, or suggestions on things I can do to learn how to sing and play?


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(@kevin72790)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 840
 

What everyone is gonna say is practice, practice. So practice. ;)


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 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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What everyone is gonna say is practice, practice. So practice. ;)

AND slow it way down. When I started singing and playing, I would strum and sing very slow. Almost at a speaking level. Then once I would get the strum and the word to match up pretty well.. I would speed up. You can get there. Some songs are more difficult than other but once you figure out how to do it with one or two songs it gets easier.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@jmaikos)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 21
 

It may sound silly, but try singing it in your head while playing the song. Then slowly start singing out loud while you are playing. It may help. Good luck


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(@hanaya)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. I'm definitely going to take it slower. I've been playing in almost all the free time I have, because I've been enjoying it so much. And I really want to get better, and enjoy the beautiful music I can make once I get good enough.

Does anyone have any good suggestions of easy songs for me to start with that could be sang while played?


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 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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What is the song you were talking about that you can play pretty well? If you can play it without thinking much then there isnt any reason, that i can see, that you couldnt do that song.

What genre of music do you like?

No matter what the song is, the first thing is to make sure you can either sing it without thinking, or preferably play it without thinking. The rest will come with practice and slowing it down to a crawl.

You can do it man.. If I can, anyone can. LOL

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@denny)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 452
 

Another thing I might add is to make sure the song is in your vocal range. I say this because if you have to strain to sing it, you might lose focus on your playing. That's where capos can really be a great help.

Denny


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(@redneckrocker)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 174
 

It's also much much easier in my opinion to sing to a song I'm strumming than a song I'm trying to pick out notes. Probably because I'm better at strumming.

+1 for slowing down, then gradually speeding up to where you want it.

~Mike the Redneck Rocker.

"The only two things in life that make it worth living are guitars that tune good and firm feeling women" - Waylon


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(@ballybiker)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 494
 

i'm at that stage too.....but to help i've recorded myself playing...then sang to the recording....it helps 8)

what did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?....

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


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(@chris-c)
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No matter what the song is, the first thing is to make sure you can either sing it without thinking, or preferably play it without thinking. The rest will come with practice and slowing it down to a crawl.

+1 to what Jim said.

Don't forget that when you sing while you play guitar then you are actually playing two instruments at the same time - and both have their own need for concentration and accuracy. If you don't think that the voice is an instrument in its own right that needs practice, study and technique then just ask any singer about it! :)

I'm trying to learn to sing and play now too. And I find that a good starting point is simple songs that I can sing easily without even thinking about it - accompanying basic songs. Unfortunately, this narrows the field down to a few songs like Happy Birthday or some of the nursery rhymes... ... so when everybody has gone out.... I swallow my pride and let 'em rip!! :D 8)

Cheers,

Chris


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(@odnt43)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 158
 

Pick a song that fits more than one genre, and has a steady, even tempo, and has just the I IV V chords....a good example is "Me And Bobby McGee".
If you have "a good foot" keep time with foot taps....if not, consider a low cost metronome to help keep you in time with both voice and guitar.

"A child of five could understand this...send someone to fetch a child of five !"--Groucho Marx


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(@rum-runner)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 424
 

I echo the remark about the metronome. Try using that or a drum machine to help keep the beat and it will naturally help keep you in time. I discovered this when visiting with a friend who I consider a very good musician. I'm still in grade school musically, and when I tried to play and sing he commented that my timing was off compared to when I just play and don't sing. he then turned on a drum track and asked me to play and sing again- much better results. A metronome should also do the trick if you don't have something to produce a drum beat. Do it to the metromone for a while and in time it should come more natural.

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


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(@causnorign)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 559
 

I'm new to guitar, and one of the things I really want to do is be able to sing while playing. I've picked a song, and can play the guitar end of it well enough that I don't need to think a lot about it while playing. I want to add the singing part to it, but its very difficult. I have trouble with things like keeping the beat, and even though I know the guitar part very well, I lose it when I start to sing. It's very frustrating.

Does anyone have any tips, or suggestions on things I can do to learn how to sing and play?

Strange as it may seem, I have just the opposite problem. I can't play unless I sing (even if its silently in my head). Seems the singing just keeps me on track. One thing for sure though, you don't wanna hear me.
Eric


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(@lee-n)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 142
 

I agree with everyones reply here, practice slow etc but there is also another aspect that many don't think about with this particular subject. We all practice many things on the guitar in the form of exercises, not always very musical but we all agree they are an important part of teaching the finger muscles etc to perform certain actions so that they eventually have little problem coping when faced with the infinite permutations encountered in all the songs you might learn.

The trouble with playing one song over and over slowly until you can sing at the same time is you are training your brain to respond in that one instance, although this should still be part of your practice and will possibly help you get better at it eventually it isn't an effecient way of teaching yourself the ability to learn a song quickly and sing it at the same time. Get a bunch of guitarists in a room to play a variety of rhythms and ask them all to keep their foot tapping a constant quarter note without fault, you will find many or even most can only do it over certain rhythms without drifting into eighth notes or going out of time altogether. Singing at the same time is no different other than it's even harder to do than keep your foot tapping.

The problem arises when we try to do anything that isn't a straight even rhythm but there are many exercises you can do to improve this ability and they don't all have to be with a guitar in your hand. Practice as many timing permutations as you can think of with the guitar, without the guitar, counting with your voice, clapping etc and you will start to find singing at the same time becomes a lot easier. To give some ideas without a guitar, start with the real easy ones..

Clap quarter notes while tapping eight notes with your foot
Do the same in reverse
Do the same with vocal counting and clapping, then try vocal with foot.
Do all the above in every variation you can think of but this time keep quarter notes on one and only the "and" of eight notes with the other.
You can work the guitar rhythms into the above ideas very easily.

Then move onto some more complicated exercises. i.e..

Count quarter notes vocally and clap only the 'e' of a sixteenth
Do same as above but move the clap forward a sixteenth every beat so that you clap only 'e' then 'and' then 'a' etc.
Keep clap same as above but now do quarter notes with foot and the 'and' with vocal
Pick any song you like, sing it while trying some of the foot clap variations over the top
Work the guitar into the same sort of exercises

Also make exercises similar to above but now leave a few gaps on one part of your body or vocal only, for instance tap with your foot eighth notes for one bar, just the 'and' on the second bar, only the 'e' on bar three and the 'one' and 'a' of bar four.... or whatever :)

Use the guitar often but don't underestimate how much this can help you even without the guitar which means you can practice this anywhere, all you want to do is train your ear and body to get comfortable with separating and feeling the beat instead of localising it into one part of your body. Also these kind of exercises are useful to any musician even if you don't want to sing.

Lee


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