While simultaneous activity is largely affected by an individual’s psychomotor, it is possible to train your mind and body to work together so that playing a musical instrument while singing becomes as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Multi-tasking is not everyone’s forte, and for others, it is a nightmare altogether.
A lot of the time, we experience trouble multitasking when partaking in two or more activities that demand loads of attention from us, and sometimes it may prove entirely impossible to achieve them all together.
Playing guitar takes a lot of concentration, and for some people, deliberate attention to every key and stroke. For others, it is more a gut thing. They go through the motions almost subconsciously, and for the, singing along becomes quite easy.
However, there are people that can only do only one of these activities at the same time, and for them, playing guitar and singing at the same time is an impossible difficult task.
The easiest and most certain way to learn how to play guitar and sing at the same time is to simply practice as much as you really have to.
While that may sound overly vague, it sums up what it truly takes because all the knowledge in the world will do you little to no good if you do not put it into practice.
Below are a few pointers that can help you during your practice sessions.
How to Sing and Play Guitar at the same time – Important Pointers
Practice each skill separately
While this may sound a little like common sense, it is important for you to know that the better you are at either skill, the easier it is going to be to perform both together.
Allow your mind and body to get so used to singing and to playing guitar that each time you sing or play guitar, it is not work for you anymore.
You will be enjoying yourself and going through the motions without giving much thought to the particular activity since your body and mind already know what to do.
Remember that a practiced skill comes a whole lot more easily to you than a new one.
Practice on a simple song
Once you are certain and confident that your singing and guitar playing skills are good enough, go ahead and pick a simple song to practice on. Remember that you are looking to mash two activities that are attention intensive and that require you to be deliberate with each move and decision.
A simple song will allow you to make your choices easily and more accurately, so that you will not be more concentrated on one activity and end up abandoning the other.
The song should be both easy on the vocals, and on the hands as well. This way, you will give each activity as much attention as it needs until you can completely play without having to worry.
Practice the chosen song on the guitar
Have you ever replayed a song until it almost made you sick? This is almost what we are going for here.
The reason for this is more psychological than physical.
When you play that song over and over, you gain what is called muscle memory, and this means that your body will get so accustomed to playing the song that you will not need to remind yourself what you ought to play.
You will find that your mind has internalized the song, and the muscles follow commands from the brain even without your prompting it, causing you to play it almost subconsciously.
Get a metronome
Yes, a good deal of singers and guitarists find using a metronome overly boring and unnecessary. Here is why you need it though.
Playing guitar and singing at the same time calls for loads of coordination, and when you do not have enough of it, the first thing that will suffer is the beat to the song.
Metronome works like muscle memory.
When you play along to just one beat over and over, your subconscious mind internalizes it and, in turn, allows your body to play without losing the beat, and without demanding too much attention from you.
Count the beat out loud
Again, this simple but effective practice allows you to internalize the beat sequence, allowing you to flow easier.
On top of this, it also teaches you to play and speak at the same time, an activity that also contributes to the ease with which you are going to play a song on the guitar and sing as well.
Hum the melody to the song as you play the guitar
When you have fully learnt the ins ad outs of the song, its rhythm and its beat, and when you can play it on the guitar without losing the beat, go on and try to hum the melody as you play.
This will allow muscle memory to come into play, and you will also be able to internalize the actual rhythm of the song as you play guitar.
Memorize the song’s lyrics
Before going into the actual singing, make certain that you have learnt all the lyrics through and through.
Humming and singing are pretty different, and you may find that there are many intricacies and intonation changes when you finally put words to the melody.
Make certain that you have all the words in your memory so that you can be able to sing and play simultaneously.
When you have practiced the song on a guitar as much as you need, and you have mastered the beat and memorized the lyrics, go on and mash the two activities together.
You may want to take as much time as you possibly can, practicing chord after chord until you have the first verse perfected.
Proceed to other parts of the song until you can comfortably sing and play it on the guitar with ease.
Even when you feel as though you are comfortable enough playing and singing a song on a guitar at the same time, do not assume that you will maintain the skill as easily.
Keep at it, keeping your guitar skill and singing ability at their best so that any time you are needed to play the song, you have it all memorized, and you can play it just like a pro.
Move to more complex songs
Remember that you need to keep challenging yourself. When you have had enough practice on simple songs, go on and pick songs that have more technicalities.
This is the only way you are going to grow your skill and become diverse.
Once you have chosen a more complex song, follow the steps one by one, starting with muscle memory, moving on to beat memory, to rhythm and lyric memory and finally into mashing up the two activities.
Remember that the goal is to keep challenging yourself, and even the most seasoned guitarists and singers take a good deal of time to learn the motions of a sing a good deal of time before they can perfect the art of singing and playing on a guitar.
Picking a simple song
Go for a song that has simple chords and lyrics
Master the song on guitar
Play the song on the guitar as much as you need to without incorporating the melody
Hum the song
Hum along to the guitar, making sure to master the melody
Internalize all the lyrics to make sure that you do not stutter as you sing
Combine the guitar and singing chord by chord until you can confidently play the entire song.
Prowess in music is largely comprised of blood, sweat and tears. The only way to excel is through hard work, and singing along to a song as you play it on the guitar is nothing but hard work. Thankfully, muscle memory is not something you lose too fast or too easily, and once mastered, this is a skill you may enjoy for the rest of your life.
Can changing the key help in any way?
Yes, if you are struggling to get your vocals where you need them, so on and change keys.
Is it necessary to play slower than usual?
While it is not necessary, it is helpful since it will help you learn better.