There are plenty of reasons, why you might want to learn how to sing and play the guitar.
Maybe you want to join a band or plan to perform solo or you just want to impress your (fe)male audience 🙂
Either ways, I always found it deeply satisfying to just grab my guitar and sing along.
If you want to start writing your own songs, check out some useful tips I already mentioned in this article.
Needless to say, there’s a wide range of combining these two musical skills, from just shredding some chords to playing complex riffs.
In this article, I’ll guide you how to get started in 3 simple steps and share some secrets to tweak your performance.
First Step – Practice Separately
As with learning to drive the car or to ride the bike, we get confused if we have to practice multiple things at once.
Like with accelerating and braking, it’s now strumming, changing chords and singing the right notes that’s hard to coordinate for beginners.
Technically, It’s all in our brains’ hemispheres, where multi-tasking is processed.
The best way to learn it, is to practice both activities separately.
When you never played the guitar before, you need 100% of your focus and concentration to master a basic level, so that you are able to play the most common chords and know 2-3 different strumming patterns. It will take you approximately 2 or 3 months, depending on how often you practice.
Once you have a solid foundation with regard to changing chords smoothly and keeping the rhythm, you can start chanting along. I would recommend practicing the song a capella in the first place. We run at risk to perform vocally inaccurate and disguise difficult parts of the song if we don’t force ourselves to clean it out beforehand.
Don’t be dis encouraged, If you have troubles with singing. You can work out everything, if you want.
I know from my own experience, that nothing is more frustrating than singing off-key (without understanding why). You can learn more about how to sing on pitch and train your ears with tools like the Earmaster.
For those, who are struggling to sing higher notes or perceive their voices a being too quiet, you can find some tips in 4 ways to improve your singing voice.
Even if you’ve figured out a proper singing technique, you always have to learn the lyrics by heart.
Not until you’re able to sing and play on autopilot, you will experience the freedom to pour emotions and spontaneity into a song.
Second Step – Start Simple
For your first song I rather recommend choosing something with simple chords and a melody within your vocal range.
One of my first songs, was “House of the rising sun”. A classy one for beginners.
Although I was more into Rock and Pop, it was fun playing the first song on my own.
You want to know a secret?
There are thousands of songs you can play with only using the same 4 chords. Here’s an amazing video showing you what I mean.
Once you are able to play some basic chords, a whole world of music opens up to you. I still enjoy grabbing my axe and playing a catchy song I have just before heard on the radio.
Third Step – Adapt the Song
One of the biggest beginner’s mistakes is to stick to the original pitch of a song, no matter what.
Especially for male singers, it’s often very hard and sometimes impossible to match the high pitch of professionals.
As a result, you end up screaming, squeaking, flipping or singing in falsetto. Neither ways will help you deliver a stunning performance.
But you know what? There’s a wonderful thing called capo.
It enables you to adapt every song to your own vocal range while playing the same chords.
You can comfortably try, which pitch suits best and play on.
No layman in the audience will be able to tell the difference.
The melody of a song is the only thing, that will be recognized. So make sure to sing on-key 🙂
Even professional singers tend to tune down their own songs half step when playing life.
So, you’re in good company!
With Experience Comes Complexity
The more you play around with step 1-3, the better you will know your guitar skills and singing abilities.
Soon, you’ll be able to tailor every (cover) song to your musical level and always make a good impression.
Once you feel established and want to further raise the level, go and leave your comfort zone.
– Move the capo up a notch and sing half-step or full-step higher
– Play different strumming patterns
– Incorporate guitar picking
– Enrich the song with licks
To sum up, singing and playing the guitar simultaneously is not rocket science.
You just have to develop some basic skills on each instrument and devote some training to it.
Make sure to always operate within your vocal range to make the best out of your performance.
Over time, raise your standards and let your music flourish.
If you liked the article or have something else on your mind, just leave a comment!