Singing and Playing Guitar Simultaneously: Steps to Become a Pro
As anyone who’s sang in front of a group (or even just a mirror!) can attest to, the act is one that, while made to look easy by professionals, is involved, skill-demanding, nerve-racking, and just plain difficult. Similarly, playing guitar—especially in front of a crowd—is just as much or more challenging than singing, when done correctly.
Learning how to sing and play guitar at the same time can compound the challenge as it’s really, really tough to perform these tasks simultaneously! However, “really, really tough” is far from impossible, and to be sure, with a lot of time and hard work, dedicated individuals can hone their skills and perform just as professional musicians do (perhaps becoming professionals in the process!).
To help anyone who’s interested in mastering the art of simultaneously singing and playing guitar, let’s take a look at some tips that’ll make learning to do so as straightforward and simple as possible!
Master One Skill Initially
It’s tempting to jump straight into playing guitar and singing, for those who want to learn to do both at the same time, but doing so is ill-advised, as it’ll take quite a long time to master the pair of skills (let alone become capable of performing them simultaneously) when their studies overlap. In other words, one cannot come close to simultaneously playing guitar and singing if he or she is a mediocre guitar player and singer.
As such, it’s important for players to learn one skill first—to really become proficient in either singing or playing guitar—so that the other skill can evolve and ultimately match the other.
Practice in Front of Family and Friends
This tip isn’t meant to suggest that aspiring musicians should implore their friends and family members to sit down for the entirety of each practice session—that would be both unnecessary and impractical, assuming a player maintains an adequate schedule!
Rather, it is meant to suggest that those who’re trying to play guitar and sing at the same time should occasionally demonstrate their skills in front of others. Because, as most every experienced musician knows, it’s easy to become nervous and freeze-up when performing for an audience (even if this audience is comprised of a single person). To avoid such freeze-ups and gauge improvements in skill, therefore, showcasing abilities in front of others—even for a couple minutes at a time—is recommended, for those specializing in guitar playing and vocals.
Start Small, in Terms of Goals
Many individuals who plan to sing and play guitar simultaneously set goals that are far too lofty right out of the gate—like, for instance, aiming to perform a complex song such as “Through the Fire and Flames” by DragonForce after one month of practicing!
Sure, this type of goal is perfect for the long term, but the odds of being able to accomplish such a feat anytime soon after beginning to play and sing are very, very small. And when ridiculous goals like this one aren’t met overnight, many individuals become discouraged and give up on playing guitar and singing altogether.
To avoid such an outcome, players should start small in terms of goals and build on them over time. For example, a reasonable initial goal, for singers and guitar players, would be to be able to play a chord or sing a verse in-tune; the next goal could be to play two consecutive chords or sing two consecutive verses, and so on and so forth.
These goals depend on the individual and the situation at-hand, and should of course be crafted with respect to one’s present abilities.
Use On-Screen Chords and/or Lyrics
Many individuals who are attempting to master guitar playing and singing make the mistake of amplifying the goal’s difficulty by also trying to memorize songs’ chords and lyrics. Doing so, although important, can detract from the quality of actual performances and inhibit the skill-development process.
Instead, performers should simply use on-screen apps (displayed on a computer, phone, or tablet screen, that is!), chords and lyrics to play, thereby allowing their actual musical skills to develop; these lyrics and chords will, in the process of practicing, be learned even quicker than they would if they were studied from paper or by ear.
Practice with Another Musician
Last but certainly not least, learning to sing and play guitar at the same time becomes much easier if players occasionally practice with other musicians. Even if—or perhaps especially if— said individuals boast completely different skill levels and musical styles, they will be able to learn from one another.
And that’s definitely a good thing.
These tips will surely help those who want to become adept at simultaneously playing guitar and singing to do so as quickly as possible, and just as importantly, these tips will help readers to sing and play guitar at their best.
Thanks for reading and good luck!
About the Author
Craig is a contributor to The Singer’s Corner, which is a great place to learn, refresh, and delve into the music world. Whether you want to learn a new approach to singing, give you tips to make you better, and teach you ways to be the best of the best.