27 April 2008

Beginner Guitarists Impress By Singing While Playing Guitar

So you've started learning the guitar and you're just starting to strum through a few three chord songs. Then you find yourself in that embarrassing situation, someone says "You play guitar? Please play something for us...".

Yikes, "Erm, well I only just started..." you mumble some feeble excuses, feeling less than confident that your three chords will impress anyone. You'd like to bang out a screaming solo, or a nifty finger style piece with the chords and some licks on top.

Unfortunately for you, the budding guitar player, getting to that point is a long road. It can take many years of practice to play solo guitar well. In the meantime, you can spice up your three chord strumming by learning to sing while you play.

Learning to sing while you play the guitar is a great idea for beginners. You don't need a really good voice, it helps if you have one, of course, but if you can just stay reasonably in tune you'll be doing fine. You'll find it's not too hard to do, but it does take a little confidence to sing in front of people.

Here are three tips that will ensure you get off to a good start and get over the difficulties of doing two things at the same time.

1. Choose a song you can sing

If you try to sing a song that's way too high or low in pitch for your voice, things are not going to work out well. As a rule of thumb if you can sing along to it on the radio then it's an OK song for you.

2. Choose a song you can play

It's obvious enough that if you can't play the song then you won't be able to sing along. But if you can play it, but only just, or if you frequently mess up the start of the chorus or some other passage you'd be better off choosing another song.

3. Make sure you know the lyrics

The cat doesn't leave the room when you sing along to your chosen song on the radio and you can play it through without getting lost. So far so good, but do you know the words? I mean really *know* them, by heart, without the help of the singer on the radio prompting you?

Do this simple exercise to check. Switch off your radio, CD, or whatever you listen on and sing the song to yourself. Can you get through the whole song - verses, choruses, bridge and all - without forgetting the words? If you did, great, you're ready.

If not you've just learned that singing along to a song on the radio and singing it all by yourself are not quite the same. Go back and learn the lyrics until you can sing the whole thing without going "La da de da, dum de da".

Check these three simple conditions when preparing to sing along with your guitar. If you meet them all you'll find that you're already a long way to being able to sing and play the song. The rest, as usual, is really just a question of practice.

Got a question about playing guitar and singing at the same time? Leave your question as a comment and I'll try to cover it in future posts.

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