A lot of singers find that they get better at singing if they play the guitar at the same time, although if you have to learn how to play the guitar as well than your progress will be somewhat slower. Singers who already know how to play the guitar at least at the beginner level have a much easier and faster time in improving their singing. If you do not know how to play the guitar than don’t worry as it is fairly easy to learn.
You can sing and play the guitar at the same time by multitasking, learning to play guitar, choosing an easy song, building muscle memory, humming, using a metronome, counting beats, knowing the song, singing slowly, adapting the guitar for your voice and most importantly by practicing. Even if you have never played guitar you will be able to sing and play the guitar at the same time if you follow these steps in 2-4 weeks.
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You do not have to be the world’s best guitarist in order to play and sing at the same time. A lot of singers feel extremely reluctant on picking up a guitar, this is usually the case for beginner singers, but in some cases, established singers will also avoid playing the guitar and singing at the same time. If you have never picked up a guitar then this is normal behavior, most likely you already know how difficult and time consuming it can be to get better at singing.
Adding another instrument to the equation and you will definitely struggle the first couple of weeks. You need to do some mental gymnastics in order to play the guitar correctly and to sing correctly. Most beginner singers are so focused on one aspect of singing that the instant they start singing they forget almost everything, some focus on hitting the higher notes, while others focus on breathing.
Singing and playing the guitar will be a challenge at first, you most likely will not be able to do both of them correctly. What your main goal should be is to be in sync with your singing and your guitar, this is also called the sweet spot. Once you hit this sweet spot you will find it extremely easy to sing any song while you are playing the guitar. Generally speaking, if you are new to playing the guitar you will hit this sweet spot in around 2-4 weeks. If you want to get better at singing then check out my recent article How to sing ( Top 50 Ways and Industry Secrets ).
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In order to sing and play the guitar at the same time, you will need to learn how to multitask. Multitasking is basically doing two different things at the same time, although both of them have to be challenging. Most of our lives we are multitasking without even noticing, like singing in the shower, we are able to do this because one of the tasks doesn’t need a lot of focus so we do it almost automatically.
If you have never picked up a guitar and you try to sing and play the guitar at the same time then you will struggle. A lot of singers actually have such a bad experience with it that most of the time they simply ditch the guitar. There is a simple trick which I teach my students in order to learn how to multitask efficiently and it doesn’t even involve a guitar. You will need either a deck of cards or a puzzle to be able to do this.
The reason why I chose a deck of cards or a puzzle is that both of them need a lot of mental focus, this is the same way when you would play the guitar and sing at the same time. Grab the deck of cards and start building a castle from the cards, and slowly start singing. It will be difficult at first but in a couple of days, you will be able to multitask and do it almost effortlessly. Breathing and singing is already multitasking as breathing correctly while singing needs a lot of effort for more information check out my recent article Breathing exercises for singing ( Top 11 Exercises ).
Learn to play guitar
This part is where most singers get discouraged, the truth is that if you have learned how to sing than you can easily learn how to play the guitar. Playing guitar is all about rhythm, and guess what, as a singer, you already know everything about rhythm. You do not have to learn how to play as a professional guitar player, just learn a couple of songs to play and from then on it will be easy. Generally speaking, the first couple of songs will be the hardest to learn but I will teach you how to pick songs that are extremely easy to play.
There are some excellent online guitar lessons, and most of them are on YouTube, find a couple that are aimed for beginners. If you choose to take a paid course than stick one which is not online, online lessons tend to drag on forever in order for the creator to give as much info as possible and you will most likely be overwhelmed.
Choose an easy song
The easier the song is to play with a guitar the faster you will learn it. No need to jump on some complex song as this will only slow your progress down significantly. My personal recommendation is to pick a couple of songs but not more than 3, this way you can focus on mastering them. Generally speaking, it will take you between 1-2 weeks of practicing until you get the hang of it, during this time do not sing while you are playing the guitar.
The easiest songs to learn how to sing and play the guitar are the ones that have 3-4 chords if you struggle with a song with 4 chords than stick to the 3 chord song. There is simply no need on going over the 4 chords if you do you will only complicate things. If you are an alto singer and you want to know which songs are the easiest to sing then check out my recent article Good audition songs for altos ( Top 150 Alto Songs ).
Build muscle memory
Have you ever wondered how you can sing and shower at the same time effortlessly? This is because of muscle memory, and this is your main goal to reach if you want to play the guitar and sing at the same time. Muscle memory can be developed in only one way, with practice, the more you practice the faster the muscles will memorize the pattern. Ideally, you should have the muscle memory for a couple of songs.
This way while you are playing the guitar and singing at the same time you will not have to focus on playing the guitar as much because you already have the muscle memory for it. Singing is a lot more complex than playing the guitar, so most of your focus will be on singing and let your muscle memory play the song with the guitar.
Humming is an excellent exercise to synchronize your voice with your guitar playing ability. If you are a singer than humming will come extremely easy and natural for you. Once you have the muscle memory of a song for your guitar then you should start humming while you are playing the guitar. Do this for a couple of days, just keep in mind to use only one song at first, this way you will get better significantly faster.
Use a metronome
Using a metronome will allow you to hear the beats constantly, this way you will improve significantly faster and you will be able to simultaneously sing and play the guitar. As a singer you most likely will start tapping your feet while you are practicing with the guitar, this is normal and you should keep on doing it. Advanced singers will not need a metronome even if they are new to playing the guitar but I do highly recommend using a metronome for beginner singers. You don’t actually need to buy a metronome, there are plenty of online apps and websites which mimic a metronome and most of them are free.
Counting beats is by far the most efficient way to synchronize your singing and playing the guitar, you are at a new level at this point. The trick with counting beats is to do it loudly, this way you get used to not only hearing your voice while you are playing the guitar but also staying in sync with the actually beats. My personal recommendation is to record yourself, this way you can analyze the recording to check yourself if you made mistakes, after the first couple of days counting beats you will be significantly better.
Know the song
Some singers make the mistake of just focusing on the guitar plying aspect and they do not even know how to sing the song without a guitar. It is vital that you know how to sing the song as correctly as possible before picking up the guitar. The last thing you would want is to focus on playing the guitar, focus on singing, and also trying to remember the song. Don’t overwhelm yourself keep it simple both with the guitar and the singing.
Now that you can play the dog with the guitar and you can also sing it you will notice that you will stumble for a bit. This is normal as your brain is not used to do two complex things at the same time. Some singers are naturally inclined in singing and basically using any instrument they want without any previous practice. The odds off you being that gifted is fairly low, so my personal recommendation at this point is to slow down both your singing and playing the guitar.
Adapt the guitar to your voice
Everybody has a unique voice, there is no arguing about that. Oftentimes singers who both sing and play the guitar will find that they either sing off the key or out of tune, even though they are perfectly capable of singing the song without if they are not playing the guitar at the same time. This is normal and sooner or later you will hit this wall, the problem is not with your singing but with how you play the guitar.
How you play the guitar dictates how you will sing, if you know that you can sing the song correctly than you will need to adjust the guitar to your voice. You will need to find the correct tempo for your guitar in such a way that it doesn’t make you sound out of tune. Basically, you either increase or decrease the tempo, just record yourself and sooner or later you will find the sweet spot.
In order to sing and play guitar at the same time, you will have to practice a lot. My personal recommendation is to take it with baby steps, go through the above-mentioned steps one at a time, and only progress to the next step once you have mastered the previous one. There is no need to hurry, take as much time as you need, and most importantly learn to sing and play the guitar at the same time correctly.
As you can see it is not that difficult to sing and play the guitar at the same time. Once you have mastered it you will notice that you will be able to sing songs which you have never thought possible before, this is because a guitar actually can make you a much better singer. Take as much time as you need, as the above-mentioned steps will be the building blocks of your future singing career hopefully.