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Thread: How to sing and play more effectively

  1. #1

    Default How to sing and play more effectively

    Hello people!

    I'm hoping to get some possible tips on improving my singing while playing an instrument. I'm a pretty decent singer when not playing anything, I guess cause my brain can focus on just my voice and its fluctuations, etc. But when I start playing an instrument, I drastically drop off in voice quality. I'm flat and out of tune. I'm wondering if theres anything I can do to improve this besides practicing so that I have to think less about doing each.

    Would love any tips or tricks

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Gold Coast, Qld, Australia
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    Presumably you can sing OK with a backing track. So maybe you can try playing with a backing track, then singing and playing with a backing track. I'm sure there are lots of play along backing tracks on You tube you can try it with. Here is one of mine to try it with. Nothing lost if it doesn't help.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5_ZrVZWMzI
    http://www.karaukey.com - Ukulele Karaoke - Ukulele Backing Tracks - Strum Class
    http://www.meetup.com/ukulelians - Gold Coast and Hinterland Ukulele Group

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubulele View Post
    Slow way down, then speed up gradually. That helps with almost every skill.

    One big problem I have when I sing and play is that I forget to breathe. Sadly, slowing down there makes it harder.
    Same here. I just took some singing lessons, and breathing was one of the major obstacles, that, and just letting it go and singing out. But in regards to the original question, go ahead and sing flat, or monotone, or whatever. Everyone has trouble with playing and singing at the same time. It is like riding a bike. At first you are going to be wobbly, but if you keep riding you get better over time. I've found that to be true with singing and playing. Just wobble through it. Just sing it. Of course it isn't going to sound good right off the bat. It will eventually come together.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978485476...rds=R.+L.+Link

  4. #4
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    I think the reason one has problems with singing while playing is this: Folks already know how to sing, but they don't listen to themselves because they are concentrating on remembering chords and reading music and strumming correctly. It's just too much to juggle.

    So one can learn to sing/hum/whistle the tune 'til he/she knows it well. Then the tune can be chorded and strummed 'til it too is learned. Then they can be put together (slowly) while one listens to all.

    People don't seem to like to listen to stuff, but to play different things together one has to listen to all.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBD
    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Hi-D GBD

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo-G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA

    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - C
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - C

    Eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you’ll be too old.

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  5. #5
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    After this thread started, I made an effort to establish some sort of process to tackle this issue. I chose "Sitting on The dock of the Bay", as I had recently memorized the lyrics, which I decided would be the first step. Even though I had memorized the lyrics, I had them in front of me for step two, just getting familiar with the chords. Friday I worked on that, singing along, but not even worrying about the singing, concentrating on the chords and the lyrics. Getting the timing and chord changes down. I spent about an hour on that. Saturday, it was all about the singing. It started out rough, kind of monotone, but it improved considerably over a short time. I spent an hour working on it Saturday. I sang it today and I own that song. So there you go. That is going to be the way I do it.
    Last edited by Rllink; 05-31-2015 at 09:09 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978485476...rds=R.+L.+Link

  6. #6
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    Good advice above. Some folks have problems because they are trying to learn everything at once....tempo, chords, lyrics, strumming patterns. Master them slowly, one or two at a time. Speed comes with familiarity. Also, some good vocal exercises can do wonders with "tuning" your vocal chords, which is in effect not just a muscle, but another "instrument." Kind of like tuning your uke before playing.

  7. #7
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    Find a good voice teacher to learn proper technique and vocalization
    Practice Daily
    Play\sing slow and relaxed - speed comes with Practice.
    YouTube channel
    Personal blog

    Instead of anticipating the goal, learn to enjoy the Journey for this is where we spend 99.9% of our time.
    The Journey is the reward...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilUSAFRet View Post
    Good advice above. Some folks have problems because they are trying to learn everything at once....tempo, chords, lyrics, strumming patterns. Master them slowly, one or two at a time. Speed comes with familiarity. Also, some good vocal exercises can do wonders with "tuning" your vocal chords, which is in effect not just a muscle, but another "instrument." Kind of like tuning your uke before playing.
    It seems to me that some people expect to sound good right out of the box, and when they don't, they think that they can't sing. Or they think that they can't play some particular chord, or any number of "I can't" generated threads. Just like everything, it starts out rough and one has to work at it. Singing, strumming, finger picking, everything has to have a beginning. Maybe I'm weird in that way, but I never expect anything that has to do with music to come easy for me to start with.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978485476...rds=R.+L.+Link

  9. #9
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    I find it helpful personally to find the key for a particular song I am most comfortable singing in ( ie, no straining to reach either high or low notes) . It very much depends on the song of course, and it helps speed the process up if you can transpose. That in itself is a useful exercise because you may well stumble across unusual chord voicings in the process, all of which helps you make a song "your own". I sing with my uke every day......I'm also working on playing uke and harmonica, just to make it that little bit harder for myself . But I think the right key for your range is a big help.

  10. #10
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    Ditto what One Man said. At my guitar circles I am always puzzled by good guitarist trying to sing in what is obviously not their key (almost always too high). They are good musicians, so I'm not sure why this is not apparent to them. I have noticed though that they almost always play songs in their original key (regardless of the fact that the singer has a way higher voice). I'm guessing this is a "guitar thing". Taking time to find the right key for each song you perform is really crucial. I know it makes the best of my less than mediocre voice.

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