Singing and playing guitar are two completely different skills. Performing both at the same time requires multitasking ability. But our brains are not functioned to focus on two different tasks at the same time.
So, how can artists sing and play guitar together? The answer lies in practicing precisely with patience. You train yourself to process one task (usually the guitar part) in a very short time and use the rest of the time for the other task and continue this throughout the whole song.
In this article, I will guide you on how to sing and play guitar at the same time from the beginning level.
Start With A Simple Song
Choose an easy song that you like and has simple lyrics, chord progression and strumming pattern. 4/4 beat is the most natural beat to play on a guitar. Select a song that uses not more than three to four chords and doesn’t change much in the middle.
The target is to build your multitasking ability by synchronizing between guitar playing and singing. If you choose a song with unfamiliar chords it will take much time & attention to hold and change the chords. You will find it difficult to sing as you have no time to think about the lyrics.
Songs can be played on guitar by strumming, finger plucking, or playing solos. Singing with finger plucking or playing solo at the same time is far difficult. So, I would recommend the beginners select songs that are easy to play by strumming the guitar.
Work Separately On Guitar & Vocal
I have already mentioned playing guitar and singing are quite two different skills. You need to master each one individually.
All of us can sing or hum a song or melody more or less. Many people think of singing as a virtue that you only earn by born or naturally. But the truth is every one of them has practiced day after day & year after year to become a good singer.
As like a guitar, the vocal is just another instrument that you need to master.
Take Necessary Preparations
After selecting your song, have a good listen to it. Of course, you may have already listened to the song many times before. But this time, listen carefully to spot every chord change and toned accent in detail.
Make sure you can count the beat of the song. Count the beat inside your head while you are listening to the song. Use metronome if you can’t figure out the count of the beat.
Find the guitar tab of the song. Here are two websites to find almost every guitar tabs for free.
Store The Guitar Part In Your Muscle Memory
Practice chord progression from the guitar tab again and again. Use a metronome to maintain the correct rhythm and tempo of the song. The key to success in this step is to start practicing in a slow BPM without making any mistakes.
Slow practice gives you time to think about the next step & avoid mistakes. You can start with 60 BPM. Once you can play the whole song without making any mistake in 60 BPM you can push yourself to a higher BPM level. Like this, gradually speed it up to the original song’s BPM.
Take extra care in the sections where the song rhythm changes from verse to pre-chorus or chorus to bridge. Make sure, you are equally strong in every part of the song.
You need to play the entire song effortlessly. So, you must practice until it stores in your muscle memory.
Once you can play from your muscle memory, you will be able to do multiple tasks at the same time. You can test yourself. Try to play the song while discussing with friends or while enjoying a tv show. If you can do that without any mistakes, your muscle memory is working.
Memorize The Lyrics & Song Melody
While you are listening to the song, follow the lyrics to memorize it. If you have a good memory of the song lyrics & melody, chances are very high that you will be comfortable in playing that song.
A visual aid can also come in handy. Write down the song lyrics on a piece of paper and implant the chords into the lyrics. Keep the paper in front of you while you are practicing.
Hum the vocal melody with the guitar strumming. You can use a metronome here too as we have discussed in the previous section. Start with a slow BPM to hum and play guitar at the same time. And gradually speed up the humming and guitar strumming at the original speed.
You don’t need to think about what you’re playing on your guitar at this point. Give your full concentration on humming and finish the song from first to last. Once you are can complete the song by humming you would be able to sing the lyrics too.
Now that you know how to play guitar and sing at the same time, it’s time to take a step ahead and make things perfect. To make things perfect you need to find out the mistakes first.
The best way to detect mistakes is to record the song and listen to the recordings. Take a recording of your guitar play first and check it out. Then sing along with the recording. Find out where you need to practice more. Is the vocal engaging or the guitar strumming pattern is troubling?
It is not important to play the exact copied version of the song. You can experiment with the song and come up with a new cover. Whatever change you make, keep the rhythm perfect and sync your vocal according to the melody.
That’s it! Carry on your practice to become a better singer by playing guitar at the same time. If you have any trouble to sing and play guitar at the same time, let us know about it in the comment section.