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After learning some basic chords, you’ve finally moved into learning some songs by your favorite artists. The problem: though you can play the music, adding the words is a challenge.

This is a common problem with beginner guitar players because playing and singing simultaneously takes a lot of coordination and rhythm that you have to take the time to learn.

Here are some tips to help you during your journey.

Start Small

Playing and singing simultaneously can start without even having a guitar in hand or committing the lyrics to memory. In fact, even just slapping your knee and humming the rhythm of the song you are learning can go miles in committing a song’s timing to muscle memory. 

Two things make this exercise great. One, not having to worry about words or chords removes a lot of stress, so you can focus and gain the confidence you need to play and sing. Two, you can do this exercise anywhere: your bedroom, work, grocery store, you name it.  

Then, try singing a simple melody on “bah” while you strum. Keeping the melody to just a few notes will help you get used to singing and playing at the same time.

Know Your Voice

This one may seem strange, especially because many of us aren’t the best singers. But having an understanding of your voice and its limitations will help you meld it with your guitar playing.

Try to sing along to the music you are trying to learn, and if you can find just the music. Playing and singing is hard enough without having to remember lyrics and what to do with your voice. Later, I will go over why repetition is important, but this pertains specifically to your voice. So, practice singing the song until everything about the singing process becomes second nature.

Along with an understanding of your voice, you may want to take the time to learn proper vocal techniques as well. These will not only make you sound better when you learn how to play and sing, but they will also help you with timing and other valuable things you need to know.

The JamPlay Practice Plan Toolkit includes 18 lessons on Singing, Playing, and Performing. Get a toolkit of your choice FREE with the annual membership to JamPlay.

Dissect The Song

Take these three steps:

  • Listen to the song over and over again.
    Whether it’s your favorite song in the world or a song you picked because it’s beginner-friendly, listening to it on repeat will help cement the song’s timing and rhythm. Make sure you are not listening to it in the background, either. You will want to examine every fascist of the song closely.
  • Analyze what the artist does.
    Seeing is believing. Seeing the artist play and sing the song simultaneously will give you the confidence you need to do the same. Pull up a youtube video of the artist playing and singing. You could even bring up covers. Every song is different, so seeing them play may also provide you with insight into playing and singing that song specifically. This also means watching covers of the song are a great resource.
  • Finally, play the song until it becomes second nature.
    Now that you know the song like the back of your hand, do the same with playing it. This way, you won’t have to think of what chord to play while trying to sing. You know what they say, “work smarter, not harder.”

Learning to play and sing simultaneously is one of the hardest things to master early on in your guitar playing journey, so don’t get too frustrated when struggling at first. Everyone who has learned to play guitar has been where you are now. 

And if you still aren’t able to master playing and singing, head to JamPlay and sign up to become a member. The Singing, Playing, and Performing” pack is just one part of JamPlay’s Practice Plan Toolkit which contains 103 lessons and 79 jamtracks to help you improve. Get it FREE with Annual and Pro membership.

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