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is_stuck
04-17-2010, 02:32 PM
I need to learn how to strum and sing a the same time. I'm so frustrated I'm thinking of selling my uke. I'm 13 and my 9 year old brother can do it and I can't... Help? Thanks.

Uke Republic
04-17-2010, 02:37 PM
I need to learn how to strum and sing a the same time. I'm so frustrated I'm thinking of selling my uke. I'm 13 and my 9 year old brother can do it and I can't... Help? Thanks.

Don't give up! Practice is key.

ashleychantel
04-17-2010, 02:49 PM
When I first started playing guitar it was really hard to sing and play at the same time. It took me over a year to be able to do it well! when I started playing uke it just carried over so I didn't have a problem there, but it took tons of practice to get to that point. Just don't give up!

tad
04-17-2010, 03:09 PM
Focus on one pattern at a time. I can't strum as complexly if I'm singing, personally.

There's plenty songs that sound fine down-up, down-up. Start with some of those, then work your way up.

Dane
04-17-2010, 04:31 PM
It's just something new to learn, that is all. Even songs I have memorized and can play in my sleep, I can't talk and play them at the same time. Most people learn how to sing over a familiar song, and they time it correctly, after a while, and after learning many different singing songs, you might find that you're able to have a conversation with someone whille strumming a chord progression. The song I started with is "Drop, Baby, Drop" it's really simple chord changes, the words are easy to remember, it's short, and it's really easy to sing and make it sound fine, I think everyone can sing that song. Also check out the classic somewhere over the rainbow, also really easy chord changes, and it's hopefully very familiar! =)

cornfedgroove
04-17-2010, 05:18 PM
dont compare yourself to the progress of others...it's not about competition, its about being a part of music

Brandon7s
04-17-2010, 06:54 PM
I've been playing guitar for about 9 years, and uke for about 2 weeks. I can only sing while strumming on simple songs. I know it's just because I don't practice that particular activity enough, but the point is, it's just hard for some people. Some seem to have a natural ability to do both, and others, like myself, have trouble doing it with even simple material. You CAN do it though, with practice.

Ukulele JJ
04-18-2010, 03:47 AM
There's plenty songs that sound fine down-up, down-up. Start with some of those, then work your way up.

Yup. Or even just down-down-down-down. Or one single down strum each measure. Or each chord change.

The key is to start as simple as you need to make it in order to pull it off. Walk before you run! It'll come together eventually.

JJ

Dane
04-18-2010, 07:48 AM
You can get all artsy and do a single strum, then say an entire sentence, then another strum, another sentence, then work your way from that =P

pulelehua
04-18-2010, 09:07 AM
I think one of the keys is that you have to be able to not think much about either the singing or the strumming. It's because you're focusing on two things at once that you get mixed up. It may sound weird, but 9-year olds are better at not thinking. The fact that he's young actually gives him an advantage.

When I first started doing it (and I was 17), I tried singing along with one chord. So that way, I wasn't worried about moving my fingers. Just having one less thing to worry about made it all so much easier. Then, once I thought it was easy to do that, I started switching chords, and THAT was easy. Then, I tried doing tricky things. Sometimes that's easy, but I still have trouble with some stuff. And I'm 37.

You're 13. Be nice to yourself. If you practice, by the time you're 18, you'll have most of the people on this forum cheering you on, or jealous at how good you are! And like everyone says, worry about you. Not your brother. You'll each have problems of your own to deal with.

;)

ceviche
04-18-2010, 11:37 AM
dont compare yourself to the progress of others...it's not about competition, its about being a part of music
:agree: So very true! All that comparison business only wastes the mental energy you need for learning how to sing and play the uke at the same time.

One thing I figured out is that it helps to memorize the lyrics of a song while you are learning the chords. Doing so makes it a lot easier to work out the cadence of the lyrics, the rhythm of your strumming, and the timing of your chord changes. Also, since you will already know the lyrics, you will be free to listen/hear the music your instrument is making. From there, you will be better able to harmonize your singing with your instrument.

Another thing: NEVER break stride with your strumming. I've heard/seen some beginner guitar players do this when changing chords. If you end up strumming some open/unfretted strings (while in the middle of a chord change) just to keep yourself from breaking your rhythm, then by all means do so. It will definitely sound better than that tempo-killing "stop to make your next chord." As a matter of fact, see what that sounds like. You know: Strum a chord and, without breaking stride with your strumming, allow yourself a strum of unfretted strings, just before you drop in with the next chord. See doesn't sound so bad--just as long as you don't stop strumming.

I kid you not.

--Dave E.

B.Uke
04-18-2010, 11:53 AM
Have this:

Learn to play Ukulele -Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78nr8QMaUbI)

Learn to play Ukulele Part 2 -Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMwbDTRFKAE)

this'll hopefully help you out
:)

Dane
04-18-2010, 01:48 PM
Another thing: NEVER break stride with your strumming. I've heard/seen some beginner guitar players do this when changing chords. If you end up strumming some open/unfretted strings (while in the middle of a chord change) just to keep yourself from breaking your rhythm, then by all means do so. It will definitely sound better than that tempo-killing "stop to make your next chord." As a matter of fact, see what that sounds like. You know: Strum a chord and, without breaking stride with your strumming, allow yourself a strum of unfretted strings, just before you drop in with the next chord. See doesn't sound so bad--just as long as you don't stop strumming.

I kid you not.

--Dave E.

You can also chunk, I often chunk as transitions

Chris Tarman
04-18-2010, 07:31 PM
Don't feel bad. When I was in High School I played bass in a band. One day the singer said "Everyone should sing back-up on this song". We all did it. He said "everyone but CHRIS should sing back-up on this song". Even the drummer could sing. I could not sing the right notes and play bass at the same time. So for years I thought I couldn't sing.
In college, I had picked up acoustic guitar after selling my bass gear (for a few years I didn't play bass, only acoustic guitar). That same drummer lived in my apartment building. I had been messing around trying to sing and play guitar at the same time. He came up to my apartment and said "Wow, you CAN sing and play at the same time". I said "Yeah.. I guess I can... just not on bass".
I started playing bass again later and gave up guitar, and once again, I couldn't sing and play at the same time. There is a reason for this, which has to do with BASS playing as opposed to guitar or uke playing... note you sing and note you play might be totally different on a bass, whereas on guitar the note you sing is somewhere in the chord you're playing.
A few years ago when I was playing in a country band, they wanted me to sing harmony. After a few hours running over harmony parts with the singer, I had to try to sing and play bass at the same time, and guess what? I could do it! The trick is to have at least one thing down so that you don't have to think about it at all. I'd been playing with that band for a year and the bass parts were mostly pretty easy, so I could just concentrate on singing. I actually got to where I could find harmony parts in songs I'd never played before (listening to The Beatles a lot helped!).
That band broke up, and so I lost my singing chops. Then about a year and a half ago I started playing uke. I haven't really tried singing with it yet. I don't think I have it down good enough to not think about it. Not the strumming or fingerpicking, but the CHORDS. I still have to think about them!
And now I am back in that country band again, but I have yet to get my singing chops back again. I need to work on that.... I really did enjoy being able to sing harmonies. I even sang lead on one song and it was a lot of fun. I wish the singer from that old High School band could have heard me!

Dane
04-18-2010, 07:43 PM
This might be a little bit too much for you to handle right now, but many people say that ALL you can do while singing is strum chords. But this is false, I've seen with my own eyes as Mike Kineally rocked out on his guitar while singing and playing piano at the same time.

My point is, that you can do anything, if you practice. Practice practice practice! And it may seem like you make no progress at all, but you have to learn to congratulate yourself for the smallest of things. "Oh I managed to sing 1 word correctly at the right time, I'm making progress!" It sounds silly but anyone who has played instruments will tell you this. One step at a time, if you look at the whole lot of it you'll get overwhelmed and want to shoot yourself.

ceviche
04-19-2010, 10:22 AM
And then there's Esperanza Spaulding, who plays a mean jazz upright bass (fretless, of course) and can sing with seriously mad skills. Plus she's a real hottie.

Never say never. Just keep trying, and you might surprise yourself one day.

--Dave E.

bazmaz
04-19-2010, 10:59 AM
Start with simple songs and rhythms, slow songs, and practice.

I know we are repeating ourselves but it's true. You may feel odd but start practising daft kiddie songs, row row row your boat etc. Easy to get those rhythms down if you are struggling

keep at it dude!