It’s always a pleasure for us to share great wisdom to our audience on how to improve their creative abilities, try out some new recipes and what to look out in the entertainment industry. And this month is no exception, we have a special guest post courtesy of Dom Gibson from Tutorful, who’s offering some great advice into Mastering the Art of Singing and Playing at the same time.
Anyone who has tried to sing whilst playing an instrument for the first time can surely agree on one thing: professional artists do it with frustrating ease, and make it look effortless. You might play well and sing beautifully, but try the both together and suddenly it’s as if you can do neither. So how do people do it?
If somebody can pick up a guitar and start strumming while they sing, it’s thanks to a highly developed muscle memory. Simply put, they’ve practised and practised until one or both of the actions is as simple as breathing.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Learn The Lyrics Thoroughly
If you’re having to pause and think about lyrics, the whole process is going to fall apart in an instant. You barely have any concentration to spare at this stage, and the slightest reason to divide brainpower is going to cost you. Know the tune inside and out – if it’s your own original one, make final decisions and be absolutely sure of the tune and the lyrics.
- Practise The Instrumental Until it’s Natural
Aim to pick up and play without trying to remember the notes. If your fingers glide to the right keys, find the correct strings without effort or seem to know the strumming pattern all on their own, you’re ready to try and weave in the singing. A good idea to gauge your progress is listening to a conversation whilst you play. If you can listen and pay attention to the words whilst playing the tune, you’re at a good position to try something more advanced!
- Start Out Slowly and Simply
This will be frustrating if you’re able to play the tune quickly and with minimal mistakes, but it’s necessary. It’s the first step of a new stage, so take it slow and don’t try to rush. Start off playing slowly and humming, then gradually build the humming up to a slow run-through of the lyrics in the chorus and each verse.
- Match Chord Changes With Lyrics
Remembering which words to change on will be a great guide for your timing, and the more you learn it, the more subconscious it will become. A key thing to focus on is specific syllables, not just the word. This will help you with your cadence, which will keep things moving swiftly while you plan for the change.
- Keep Calm and Carry On Playing
Frustration is the natural enemy of learning, and it can quickly become a vicious circle. You can’t concentrate because you’re getting annoyed, but you’re only annoyed because this is so tricky! If you feel yourself getting to this stage, just stop. Put down the instrument, walk away, and destress. Come back to practise when the time is right.
Playing and singing at the same time is immensely tricky, and it’s going to take time to get it to a point that looks and feels natural. Stick with it! If it’s worth having, it’s worth working at.
Dom Gibson is the Musical Education Content Editor at Tutorful, the UK’s fastest growing tutoring marketplace. He works with expert music tutors to find the most innovative approaches to teaching and mastering the art of singing, playing and performing. He then shares his findings with high quality musical institutions across the web. You can find links to the the Tutorful blog, website and social media here.