I love to sing, and I love to play the guitar. Why do I have to choose between the two? Well, you don’t! But I’ll admit it’s hard to sing and play at the same time. Many of my students over the past decade have also struggled to do both at the same time. Want to know a secret?
A number of professionals struggle too.
If you go back and watch live performers, there are quite a few who strum some basic chords while singing. It’s their band doing the more important playing. Some do both really well, but it’s not a lot of them.
You can be someone who plays and sings with the right kind of practice. This is why you need to follow these tips for how to sing and play at the same time.
#1 Pick A Simple Song Or Well-Known Song To Start With
This may seem simple, but you need to pick a simple song and one you know well to start with. The chords in the song should be ones you already know and have mastered. It helps if the lyrics are already well-known to you.
#2 Separate The Guitar And Singing For A While
When starting to learn to do both, don’t jump right in with guitar and singing. This is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, practice the guitar until it’s solid under your fingers. Then, turn on the karaoke and practice the singing on its own. Only after that do you want to try and put them together.
#3 Put On A Metronome And Start Slow
Find a metronome; there are free apps and online ones all over. Put the beat on something slow. Use the tapping feature and tap the beat of the song you’re learning. When you find it, lower it by 20-30 beats per minute (BPM).
Practice singing and playing the song at a slower tempo or speed. When you can sing and play it well 3 times in a row, bump up the tempo by 5-10 BPM. Repeat until you’re back to the normal speed.
#4 Hum And Play
Another tip to try is to just hum and play guitar. A lot of times, the lyrics are the thing that trips you up. Remove the lyrics by simply humming the melody. This helps your brain figure out where the tune and the chords or lead guitar playing line up.
#5 Be Patient But Persistent
Don’t give up! Playing and singing is tough, but many do it with success. As with anything guitar-related, it takes time and consistent practice to master it. But following these tips will help you improve and master this brain-bending skill.
For help with learning guitar to the point where it’s second-nature to you, I encourage you to check out Tom Morello’s classes on Masterclass. The guitar exercises are perfect for developing the skills you need to play and sing at the same time.