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  #1  
Old 10-23-2009, 12:51 AM
dblacketer dblacketer is offline
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Default Singin and Playin at the same time

Howdy, i've been playing for awhile now, and i'm trying to start singing when i play, but every time i start to sing i lose the beat and my mess the strumming pattern up. I was wondering if anybody had any tips on how to start teaching myself to keep time and sing at the same time. Any pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks All

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  #2  
Old 10-23-2009, 06:37 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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It's a matter of keeping the tempo and internalizing the rhythm. Try playing along with recordings of the music you're trying to learn or use a metronome. It'll come with practice but realize that playing intricately while singing might require some simplification of what you're doing on the guitar. IMO when playing/singing the voice should be seen as the primary instrument and the guitar is just support.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:05 AM
andyrom52 andyrom52 is offline
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It definitely will take some practice. I've been playing/singing for awhile, but there are still some songs (Tripping Billies by DMB comes to mind) that are trickey to sing and play simultaniously. For me it helps to just play the guitar part over and over while doing something else (watching TV, reading a magazine, etc...) at somepoint you will develop enough muscle memory that it will be easier to sing over the guitar part.

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:05 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Default How long is ( " a while " )

the previous suggestions are quite good ( metronome and playing to a recording) but understand that until your chord changes and or note fingering have been converted ( through practice and numerous repetition) from thought process into automatic mussel memory, it will be somewhat, difficult at best..............
P.S. As an example, the Chinese Olympic team coaches work on the theory it requires ( dependent on difficulty ) between 50,000 and 200,000 repetitions. to become ready for that level of performance.......
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:07 AM
Allman_Fan Allman_Fan is offline
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Great answer, Kwakatak!

Not to get too Zen on you, but playing music should be natural and flow from your body, it should not be a struggle of counting "1 & 2 & . . ." while balancing a canoe on you head.

You may not be there now, but it's good to know where you are heading, right?

So, it's like dancing. Can you dance a bit to popular music? Not fancy moves, just swaying. Now can you sing/hum along with the record? Just softly, no one has to hear. Now tap your right hand on your pants pocket . . . keep on singing. Now change the tap to an "air guitar" strum. Voila! Your are practicing while you are at a party!

Also, when practicing singing/playing with the guitar, just do the right hand part. Mute/deaden the strings with your left hand and strum with the right while singing. Use the guitar as a percussion instrument.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:11 AM
Sage97 Sage97 is offline
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I agree with Allman fan. It's almost more of a feel or groove than a technique.

I was waiting for Allman fan to say, "Be one with the music, my friend."

Just keep playing and enjoying the music. I don't know what "I've been playing for a while now" really means but obviously more practice is needed. Start with simpler songs with basic chord changes. You'll get there soon enough.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:21 AM
godinfan godinfan is offline
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Like some folks have said, muscle memory is important. Also, I think some strum patterns are just easier to sing to than others. One easy one, just for example, is Pearl Jam's "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town", which I think was the first song I could sing and play, although that was in the nineties. Just reminded myself I'm getting old. In any event, it's an easy strum pattern to sing to and there are many like it.
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:23 AM
Bruce E Bruce E is offline
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Try just strumming the guitar while you sing the music in your head. Then see if you can continue the strum while you talk to somebody. When you can do that, move up to singing at the same time.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:12 AM
Hurricane Hurricane is offline
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Lots of good suggestions here. For myself it was learnig the guitar part well first, then humming the lyrics while playing. I found not having to concentrate on the lyrics, but having the humming give me a feel of the lyrics with the guitar simultaneously, made it easier to keep the guitar part flowing. Then after awhile. I seemed to naturally be able to sing along while playing. The getting better process through good practice is very rewarding and makes me want to play even more.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:29 AM
JeremyG JeremyG is offline
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db,

According to some DVD's I'm working on, Stefan G. has a few comments about singing and playing at the same time. The main message.....don't even begin to sing until the song you are playing is so well ingrained/learned that you don't have to think about it whilst playing it.

I'm not like you, having only a year under my belt but I've found myself wanting to sing along with a song or two as well. I'm finding that bit of information to be very true!

I'm also finding that I'm flat as _ell!

Jeremy.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dblacketer View Post
...Any pointers would be much appreciated.
Hi dblacketer...
One or the other has to be on auto-pilot. Your brain will have a hard time going two directions.

Personally I find chord progressions less challenging than lyrics, and the melody just gets lodged in my brain, so I memorize the progression till I can play it in my sleep, and hum the melody while playing it (without words or dropping in the occasional word). After that is in place, then I focus on the vocal parts.

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Old 10-26-2009, 10:31 AM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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If I remember correctly, I got the hang of doing the two things together by imagining that my strumming was like a drum beat, like tapping my foot in time to the music. With this feel, I never had to worry about strumming patterns and the like; what came out came out, and if nothing else, it was in time to the song.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:42 AM
flagstaffcharli flagstaffcharli is offline
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Here's how I teach this in lessons.


Try to break your tune down. Let's say you're strumming:

Just strum one whole note per bar and sing...
then halves, then quarters - all down strums
then eighths down & up...
then maybe quarter, two eighths, quarter, two eighths, etc..,

You get the idea. Make it so you can sing against super easy, unsyncopated rhythms first. Later, add complexity.



With Travis picking:

Try just playing quarter notes on the beat with the thumb. I'll demonstrate this for students on the tune "City of New Orleans" or "The Boxer" and they're usually impressed by how a little goes a long way. Just the the thumb playing quarter notes can carry much of the tune.

Then slowly add complexity to your accompaniment pattern a la this lesson:
http://www.dancingwithnoshoeson.com/...s%20lesson.pdf


I don't think it's so much about being able to play an exact part on autopilot. It's more about having the beat on autopilot - always feeling where the beat is and where your hand is in relation to that. If you're strumming, keeping those downstrokes and upstrokes straight is important for groove. In fingerstyle, keeping the thumb on beat keeps the rest of the stuff in order. At least that's true for most basic accompaniments. Obviously, you can get far more complexity, but you have to start somewhere.

Good luck!
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Last edited by flagstaffcharli; 10-26-2009 at 11:03 AM.
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  #14  
Old 10-26-2009, 01:13 PM
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tbondo tbondo is offline
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Default Advice from Swannanoa Performance class

per Vance Gilbert (instructor at WWC)

1) wants to see your foot tapping the beat (no exceptions)....

and practice using the following techniques:

Record (audio or camera) and metronome
Metronome and mirror
Mirror and record

repeat until comfortable
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  #15  
Old 10-27-2009, 06:16 AM
Alpione Alpione is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurricane View Post
For myself it was learnig the guitar part well first, then humming the lyrics while playing. I found not having to concentrate on the lyrics, but having the humming give me a feel of the lyrics with the guitar simultaneously, made it easier to keep the guitar part flowing.
I second this emotion.

For me, it took a little while but eventually just "clicked," seemingly overnight. Now I can pretty much sing things from the first time I work with the song; it's just a natural extension of the tune.

Good luck. You'll get it!

Adam
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