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learning to sing while playing


kelly campbell

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For the vocal side, it was recommended to me many years ago that a glass of Port puts a lining on the throat and you sing like an angel! Unfortunately, 2 Ports makes you sound like a chicken with its foot caught by a fox and I can personally attest to the effect of 3 extremely expensive local Ports - can't hold the guitar up and the legs went rubbery but I sang the best I ever had....... [biggrin]

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

I'm not advocating misuse of alcohol at all , but while I've been merry and then handed a guitar I tend to fluff a lot of stuff , although playing first and having a drink at the same time isn't a bother ....

Too many of course and it all goes to poo again

 

Never used to drive to gigs before when playing with a small group but now I'm on my tod I have to drive so it's one pint of beer and water stretched out over two hours.

Drink giving Dutch courage is true but it's bothering me way way less than I thought it would have playing in public sobre

 

Red wine is also good for smoothing out the vocal chords.

Or black coffee

Some goody two shoes is going to tell me that it's all bad but I won't listen to them 😄😄

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I can't really add much to what's already been said, but I can really agree with a few things.

 

Repetition, know the chords, play them a lot. (Buc's advice)

 

Listening to people, observing how they handle songs/situations, ... a good teaching moment is everywhere (BluesKing's advice)

 

Pick EASY songs to get started, pick one or two songs you're considering. And just stay with those. It will be easier to build the muscle memory with less songs to worry about.

 

The voice is also an instrument, the muscle memory applies here too. Knowing where the notes are vocally is pretty much the same process as knowing where the notes of the chords are on the neck. you're just using different muscles.

 

You are multi-tasking so doing other things while playing is exactly what you're doing. (RCT's advice) Eventually, your hands just go where they need to go (the repetition part).

 

Breathing is very important, finding the spots to breath in, mid verse. essential. You need some air to make the notes, so make sure you find a good spot to breath some in. NEVER be apologetic, you're gonna make mistakes.

 

Phrasing matters, pronouncing words matters. Go slowly as you work these out. and try not to yell.. (sounds silly, but it's easy to push too hard.)

 

One other thing to consider, your voice is yours, the songs that you're trying to learn were sung with their voices. You're not going to sound like them, so don't waste time worrying about it. There are only a few people I've run across that can really sound EXACTLY like the cover. And most of that is because their pitch is good, and their phrasing is spot on.

 

Stay with it, it takes some time, you may get frustrated but don't give up. Everyone had to travel the same path, no matter what level they are at.

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I too struggle with not sounding like a chicken with his foot in the foxes mouth. All above comments are excellent, and I hesitate to try to add. But.... here's a couple of ideas.

Trying to sing Blackbird right out of the gate- is like trying to learn Stairway to Heaven or Malaguena in your first year playing the guitar.

As Kidblast noted - pick SIMPLE songs. Ballads. Even children's songs. Where the key is clean, the beat is steady, etc.

Pick the one song you know well. Maybe a Christmas song you've heard a million times on the radio.

If you know the lyrics and melody without having to think about them - you can focus on actually SINGING it !

Sing it without the guitar. Stand a few feet from a wall or window so you can hear yourself.

Get each note right, slowly, one at a time, without 'sliding' into it.

Breathe - you need to move air over the vocal chords. Louder is better. "Whisper singing" doesn't work right out of the box.

Concentrate on the last note of each verse, you may be short of breath, but don't let it fall flat.

Difficult at first, but tap your foot to re-enforce the beat. Easier while seated, but easier to sing while standing.

Having said that - if you struggle finding time to practice - singing that simple song while driving will get you there.

Don't tap your foot or stand though. Other drivers will stare.

G'Luck.

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When I'm learning a new song it is with me not only when I have my guitar in hand, but with me through out the day.

Sing it over and over, one verse at a time. I wake up early and not in rush to get out the door, the song words seem to come to me better after struggling with them the day before.

Keep the melodies in your head and the guitar for accompaniment

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All good advice offered here. I, too, have always struggled with playing and singing simultaneously, especially when I play relatively complicated guitar parts.

 

For me, the standard bearer is Rev. Gary Davis, whose playing and singing are entirely independent. He effortlessly plays crazily syncopated guitar parts while varying the meter of his singing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fpPgo4Deo4

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For the vocal side, it was recommended to me many years ago that a glass of Port puts a lining on the throat and you sing like an angel! Unfortunately, 2 Ports makes you sound like a chicken with its foot caught by a fox and I can personally attest to the effect of 3 extremely expensive local Ports - can't hold the guitar up and the legs went rubbery but I sang the best I ever had....... [biggrin]

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

I venture to suggest that you 'thought' you sang the best you ever did.....

 

The audience saw you having a good time....which made them feel good.....

 

Job Done....dry.gif

 

V

 

:-({|=

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I venture to suggest that you 'thought' you sang the best you ever did.....

 

The audience saw you having a good time....which made them feel good.....

 

Job Done....dry.gif

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

 

 

A friend called Port wine - 'Lunatic Soup'. [flapper] [flapper] [flapper]

 

 

And I have very vague memories of having to get up early the next day for an afternoon gig B)

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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One useful strategy for taking on a big job is to break the job down into multiple smaller jobs. It is my experience it can help to break down the elements of the song and practice each skill individually. It can also add clarity to the process or at least it does for me. Then when each skill is to the level of what you might call "independence", bring the pieces together and see how they fit. Or, in other words, practice, but practice smart if only to reduce the frustration level. YMMV.

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Kelly if I can add my two pennies worth here. Blackbird is a difficult song to sing and play. If you really want to do it record the guitar first then sing alone. The Beatles songs are not the easiest as they often have false starts like Paper Back Writer or Help.

 

The Beatles music is advanced rock and roll, that's how they started so try some of the three or four chord rock and roll songs as they did, like Buddy Holly.

 

When you get hold of the song then change the key, singing a song in various keys will train your inner ear. Find a simple old rock or country song, first sing it in E so E A B then A D E and C F G and so on. It will all come together.

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Kelly if I can add my two pennies worth here. Blackbird is a difficult song to sing and play. If you really want to do it record the guitar first then sing alone. The Beatles songs are not the easiest as they often have false starts like Paper Back Writer or Help.

 

The Beatles music is advanced rock and roll, that's how they started so try some of the three or four chord rock and roll songs as they did, like Buddy Holly.

 

When you get hold of the song then change the key, singing a song in various keys will train your inner ear. Find a simple old rock or country song, first sing it in E so E A B then A D E and C F G and so on. It will all come together.

 

 

I have heard that it is not the easiest which does not surprise me any since I am a huge music fan since I was 4 years old and The Beatles have always been my favorite so it was one song I wanted to play on guitar when I started noodling around 5 years ago. I am going to start working on a simpler song as well but I will not give up on this song, thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated.

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I have heard that it is not the easiest which does not surprise me any since I am a huge music fan since I was 4 years old and The Beatles have always been my favorite so it was one song I wanted to play on guitar when I started noodling around 5 years ago. I am going to start working on a simpler song as well but I will not give up on this song, thanks for your input it is greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

Don't give up yet on Blackbird - have a look at this lesson attached!

 

 

After playing the song through, the right hand picking pattern is explained very nicely - some parts are played with the bass note played by thumb - down - and the treble note with the the index finger 'flicking' down and the brilliant Paul Mc home made picking bit ...Thumb bass down and index finger flicking up AND down. Start working on that one now....

 

 

Shockingly tricky to get the vocal in parts.... [mellow]

 

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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In case it hasnt been said, simplify the guitar and focus on singing; add in licks as you get comfortable. Like everything else you want to master, you need to do your reps (repetitions).

This is gold: "you are playing guitar to accompany your singing, not to accompany your guitar"

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Amen twice! That's a matter that many aspiring folkies who came to the music at the time I did - c. 1960's - took forever to learn. Mumbling vocals muted by loud guitars were pretty common among novice players. Finally, we caught on. Not sure how that information helps someone looking to coordinate singing and playing together - once my chord changes got smooth and the chord shapes became familiar, I don't recall having much difficulty. It did take a while to get to where I could hear the point of change, though. What helped was studying lyrics w/chords inserted at the appropriate places.

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