It doesn’t matter if you’re a guitar player who wants to sing along with your music, or a singer looking for accompaniment – it can be tricky for all of us to learn how to coordinate playing the guitar and singing at the same time! Luckily, there are several ways to master how to sing and play guitar, and with a good amount of practice, you can learn how to master the skill.
Before you begin, however, it’s smart to have a strong foundation in both playing the guitar and singing separately. Make sure you’ve learned the basics and corrected any bad habits, such as poor posture or incorrect technique.
Next, you can move on to trying out the methods detailed below. Everyone learns differently, so try out each, figure out which one feels the most natural, and practice it often. With time, you’ll learn how to sing and play guitar like a pro!
- Find an easy song that uses only a few easy guitar chords and has an uncomplicated rhythm.
- Memorize the words to the song and practice just singing it.
- Get a metronome and set it on 4/4 time, then play the song while singing, “1 and two and 3 and 4…” repeatedly.
- After this exercise, begin singing the song and playing your music in 4/4 time.
- Choose a song, set it up on your iPod/MP3 player, and sing or hum along with it.
- Practice until you can sing it without the music. Experiment with singing it in your head, too.
- Play the song on your guitar until you can play it without thinking about the chords, the progression, or anything else.
- Sing and play at the same time. Don’t concentrate too hard – default to your memory, and your subconscious should take over!
- Distract yourself (and really work on your multi-tasking abilities) by watching television while playing and singing the song slowly. By shifting the focus elsewhere, you’re less likely to get tripped up and it will become a more natural feeling.
- Pick a song and memorize the words. Sing it aloud and sing it in your head without the guitar.
- Play the music on your guitar until you have memorized it too, and can play without even thinking about it.
- Now, go through the song (singing and playing) measure by measure. Repeat each measure, or a few measures at a time, until you can get through without errors.
Guitarist Ken Tamplin offers some great advice on how to sing and play guitar at the same time. Ken’s basic advice is to train yourself to play the song and sing the song on autopilot. He recommends the following process:
- First, get your guitar parts down.
- Practice and patience is the key to synchronizing your guitar playing and vocals.
- Stop thinking about playing and singing as two separate things.
- Play guitar and practice counting out loud in 4/4 time.
- Practice playing and counting in 4/4 time in your head.
- If you can, get a drum machine. Practice playing and singing along with the drum machine, adjusting the tempo as necessary.
American musician and poet Sidney Lanier once said that “Music is love in search of a word.” You, too, can express yourself through your music and words! Find a method that works best for you, and enjoy the process of learning how to sing and play guitar like your favorite musicians.
Photo by SabrinaDan Photo