Learning how you can accompany yourself on guitar (alternatively known as "singing and playing guitar at the same time") is certainly among the more important goals for a lot of newbie and intermediate guitarists. How awesome is it to be able to sit around with pals at a social occasion and sing all those party hits! It is also a real benefit when starting or auditioning for a band.
Do You Need a Superb Voice to Sing and Play Guitar?
The short response is "No." Naturally, you need to be able to maintain a tune. But being able to sing like some amazing recording musician vocal superstar is just not required! In truth, some of the biggest singer-songwriters ever, like Neil Young or Elliot Smith, haven't got notably awesome voices nor are they especially awesome guitarists. However, boy do they know how to write and perform a tune! It doesn't make any difference whatsoever whether or not you want to just play and sing guitar at social events or you wish to write your own songs for the entire world, don't let an average singing voice prevent you. Singing is one thing that speaks from the heart.
Now, of course, you do need to be able to sing fairly okay-ish, however that's only a matter of training. Take a handful of singing lessons and study all of the basics of how to sing and you will notice your voice strengthens dramatically. Then, determine whether you wish to take your singing even more seriously or if that's sufficient for just singing at the same time as playing guitar.
Take the Song You've Selected and Learn How to Play It
The natural inclination for most newbies is to try to play guitar and sing together right from the get-go. That is really, really not a very good idea. What you might want to do is learn the guitar part first. Only when you've done that, learn how to sing the vocals. After that, put them together.
The first thing you need to do, then, is to decide on a song you want with relatively simple chord progressions and straight-forward chord changes. It does not matter which one. It really doesn't. There are hundreds of straight-forward songs for beginner guitarists. Just something you'll be able to learn how to play the chords to pretty simply, and which you like. Oh, and which doesn't have a super-hard vocal part. No matter what you choose, it needs to be accomplishable. You don't want to spend all this time and then not actually be able to sing the song.
As soon as you've chosen your tune to learn (and you need to solely deal with ONE at a time!), spend as much time as you need and practise till you can play the guitar part without thinking about it. Do not simply focus on your fretting hand, either. Take note of your right hand: the rhythm patterns and your strumming technique. Practise, practise, practise without singing until you've learned how to play the guitar part and built up a sort of "muscle memory," meaning you can play the song without looking at each chord change or slowing down.
Take the Song You've Chosen and Learn How to Sing It
Next is to move on to learning how to sing it. Your first step right here is to commit the lyrics to memory. Do NOT attempt to play guitar and sing together quite yet! Merely study the lyrics and pay attention to how the singer hits particular notes, holds other notes (and the length), and communicates the emotion of the track.
When you have "the vibe" of the tune and you have memorised the lyrics, you will want to record yourself singing along to the music. Sure, the idea of that probably sends shivers down your spine, however the fact is you might want to understand how your voice sounds and the places you require some additional focus and assistance if you are ever planning to play guitar and sing at an event.
Now Put the Singing and Playing Together!
Okay, now it's time to tackle putting together the two halves, playing and singing. be aware of the weird thing that may occur: You will start making mistakes in the chord changes, you may confuse the lyrics, you will stumble on easy parts of the song... All the parts that you had perfectly under control just before, they will now seem hard again. Weird. It will seem hard at first (and, it is not an easy thing to do), as if your hands and your mouth just will not work together!
Take a breath. This is just a small adjustment and by slowing down and practising in a very deliberate and careful fashion, you'll begin to get the hang of it pretty quickly. The risky thing right here is that you might get frustrated and bored. Do NOT give up now and begin playing a new song. Stick with the plan and sooner than you realise you'll find that you can play guitar and sing at the same time!
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