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blackunicorn
10-09-2009, 08:58 PM
I have a feeling this is one of those questions that is answered by "you just need to practice."

I've got a few strum patterns worked out, and I can play a whole song or two, as long as I don't try to sing. If I sing, my strumming hand suddenly forgets what it's supposed to be doing, and if I can manage to get the strum worked back out, I suddenly realize I'm no longer singing out loud.

Is this normal when you're starting out? How do I make my mouth and my strummin' hand learn to get along?

ukantor
10-09-2009, 09:54 PM
How do I get to Carnegie Hall? Yup, you answered your own question.

You could try practising with a metronome, or strumming and singing along to a recording. It might be that you just need a little support to maintain the rhythm/pattern.

All the best,

Ukantor.

SuperSecretBETA
10-09-2009, 10:06 PM
Practice, practice, practice. Here are a couple tips to help you along.


Memorize the lyrics to the point where you hardly have to think of them.
Find out which word/line transitions into the next chord, and aim at singing the transition word/line at the same time you play the next chord. This will help you calibrate your vocals to your strumming.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=598&pictureid=3648

Skrik
10-10-2009, 12:59 AM
I have the same tendency. I am on my way to sorting it by adding emphasis to the first beats in the bar, accompanied by lots of practice.

Ex: You are my SUN-shine, my only SUN-shine/ you make me HAP-py when skies are GREY.

This way, even if things fall apart, it's only apart for a bar or two.

Ukuleleblues
10-10-2009, 02:23 AM
I have a similar problem. I wear a bell ring on my ankle and when I tap my foot, the bells ring. No problem when I strum, when I pick out a solo I feel like a dog that is being scratched and his legs moves involuntarly. If I wear the bells on the left foot it's not as bad as the right. Practice is making it better though.

lizaloo
10-10-2009, 05:35 AM
I'd try--maybe using a metronome along with this--to just strum the downbeat of every measure. Then later strum every other beat (so if there are four beats in the song you'd probably strum 1 and 3, or possibly 2 and 4 if it's got a different feel). This might help keep you on track, and then you can add in other stuff.

leftovermagic84
10-10-2009, 05:58 AM
I have the same tendency. I am on my way to sorting it by adding emphasis to the first beats in the bar, accompanied by lots of practice.

Ex: You are my SUN-shine, my only SUN-shine/ you make me HAP-py when skies are GREY.

This way, even if things fall apart, it's only apart for a bar or two.

+1, also, slow down until you get the hang of it, you don't have to learn at full speed, but rather start slow and speed up as you feel comfortable.

ChamorroDT
10-10-2009, 07:14 AM
I have the same tendency. I am on my way to sorting it by adding emphasis to the first beats in the bar, accompanied by lots of practice.

Ex: You are my SUN-shine, my only SUN-shine/ you make me HAP-py when skies are GREY.

This way, even if things fall apart, it's only apart for a bar or two.

:agree: - That's pretty much how I learned to sing and play. And I think the easiest way to play a song and sing is to do a reggae strum for the song, i.e., down-up, down-up...Eventually, you'll learn to strum freely..??...Sorry, it's been a long while since I gave beginner instructions on how to do something :confused:...but if you understand me!...Then...hopefully it works out :D

blackunicorn
10-10-2009, 01:03 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions, you guys! I started doing this thing where I was singing the melody of the song, only changing the words to reflect the chords I was playing, and that seemed to help, too.

A metronome might just be the thing, though, because playing the song at tempo is clearly too fast for my brain to keep up just yet.

Blrfl
10-10-2009, 02:41 PM
Are you singing and playing from a song sheet, or are you trying to do it from memory? The latter is a lot harder. (Or it is for me, anyway...)

--Mark

kiddfixit
10-10-2009, 04:07 PM
My problem is that I just can't sing. Flat, monotonous, and slighly off key. I sound best in a stairwell and the shower. (I need a little reverb to smooth things out.) Oh yeah. I can't strum either.

Hmmm...Can't sing, can't strum...maybe I shouldn't quit my day job just yet.

:D

blackunicorn
10-10-2009, 05:17 PM
Are you singing and playing from a song sheet, or are you trying to do it from memory? The latter is a lot harder. (Or it is for me, anyway...)

--Mark

I've got a sheet. I tried it once without it, thinking maybe it was the reading that was getting in my way, and causing me to stumble. It's not :)

mrsdepp
10-10-2009, 08:34 PM
I have this problem too, but I try to choose songs that have simple strumming patterns (up down up down up down) and then I'll just memorize the lyrics, and it helps a lot.

Try to choose songs with simple strumming patterns first, then slowly move on to the more difficult ones.

hoosierhiver
10-11-2009, 05:01 AM
Toe-tapping helps

mvinsel
10-11-2009, 09:43 AM
I think it helps if you can find other things you do routinely to practice doing two things at once. After not being able to play harmonica and guitar at the same time, I had to learn in my work at the time to be able to turn screws with both hands at the same time. A
After a few months of that I was able to keep both going and splitting the attention to both.

-M. Vinsel

ChamorroDT
10-11-2009, 10:41 AM
Toe-tapping helps

Co-sign. I actually notice I do that on occasion, not even for singing - just for playing overall. Or I'll just move in unison with the strumming, i.e., swaying, slightly bobbing my head.

Denno
10-11-2009, 10:50 AM
Also, try and learn to play without looking at your chordhand. That will help you get better in a near future. Try and get a feel for where the chords are without looking. Because if you need to look each time you change chord thats one more movement that will disturb your rythm. :)

blackunicorn
10-11-2009, 12:11 PM
Toe-tapping helps


Co-sign. I actually notice I do that on occasion, not even for singing - just for playing overall. Or I'll just move in unison with the strumming, i.e., swaying, slightly bobbing my head.

I can totally see that- I had to use my whole body to keep time when I was learning to play Guitar Hero (which is to say this is not the first time I've dealt with coordination/rhythm issues. Also, it's Guitar Hero's fault that I'm here in the first place. Why spend all that time learning to play a game when you could be learning to play the real thing?)

It's funny how adding yet another thing to do would help get the other things under control, but it's true!

BTW- I think I'm starting to break through. Thanks everyone! Keep 'em coming!