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View Full Version : Singing and playing at the same time.. whaaat!? HALP!



layziiwunn
08-05-2010, 09:53 PM
Lol I know it's weird and I don't know if it's common to a lot of people but I find it very difficult to sing and play Guitar/Uke at the same time. Can I get some pointers?

Thanks!

salukulady
08-05-2010, 09:54 PM
practice .

uke5417
08-05-2010, 10:24 PM
Yes, it can be quite difficult at first. I would advise the simplest of songs to begin with. I started with "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain." It was a tune that was hardwired into me in second grade, so I didn't have to think as I first tried to sing to chords. Once it clicked, I was off to all the songs I liked (that were within my playing range).

SailingUke
08-06-2010, 04:03 AM
practice .

I'd like to add to this advice, more practice!!

Don't feel too bad, I saw an interview with B.B. King nd he said he can't play and sing at the same time.
"Uke5417's" advice great too, start with a few simple songs you know. Try memorizing the words, listen to the chord changes.
Playing & singing is hard enough, add reading words and chords to the equation and you are on overload.

luvdat
08-13-2010, 06:36 PM
Focus on the song...let the playing follow. You'll find yourself playing "less" and probably better.

heyitsme
08-24-2010, 07:21 PM
nice to hear that im not alone on this problem

nahtanoj
08-25-2010, 07:00 AM
my trick for songs i'm struggling with, where the words don't necessarily land on the strum, is to just play through the song, no singing. next, you add humming. easy to throw out notes, no need to think "what's the next words". then, start singing what you can, and if you start to get stuck go back to the humming, then back to singing when you are back on track. you'll be cruising through the song in no time.
jon

Pueo
08-25-2010, 07:18 AM
Hi Lazy (& heyitsme), you are not alone! I struggled with this for a long time, and then it just clicked one day. I have also heard some people need to practice singing and playing at the same time, taking the song in small chunks, until they can play it all the way through. Some people say to start with a song you know how to sing very well and then try and add simple strums to that. The common element for everyone is practice though. For me, the first song I was able to sing and play at the same time was Imagine by John Lennon. Once it clicked it became easier and easier. Keep at it!

khrome
09-05-2010, 10:35 AM
If you want to sing right away, like if you are testing to see if the chords are right, just strum in 4/4 time (4 beats per measure) so nothing fancy.

Once you decide your strum pattern, practice it solely until it becomes automatic. Then add your singing.

kennypinoy
09-09-2010, 10:48 AM
I've been playing for about a month and I really struggled with this too, especially when playing less simple strumming patterns. I think nahtanoj and Pueo gave great advice, sometimes I take a song that I know really well and just strum to a rhythm that feels natural, and other times (especially when I learn uke songs from Aldrine's videos) I learn the strum pattern first and get it down, and then add singing.

olgoat52
09-09-2010, 11:08 AM
I'd like to add to this advice, more practice!!

Don't feel too bad, I saw an interview with B.B. King nd he said he can't play and sing at the same time.
"Uke5417's" advice great too, start with a few simple songs you know. Try memorizing the words, listen to the chord changes.
Playing & singing is hard enough, add reading words and chords to the equation and you are on overload.

That 's funny about BB. Maybe that is where the whole "call and response" thing came from for the blues. Cuz it was too hard to sing and play at the same time. ;) I can play chords and see, but I can't play bass or solo lines and sing very well. Not enough time practicing. Or I need the surgery to split my brain and run my hands from one side.

DAPuke
09-15-2010, 10:48 AM
Lots of great advice for singing and playing. I too try to ingrain both separately first, then put them together a verse/chorus at a time. I was doing well playing and singing 'Guava Jelly" the Marley tune. Playing the Kaau Crater Boys version (love them). I am learning to "chunk". So I added the chunk on beats 2 & 4 and now I'm relearning it. cuz I can't sing it and chunk it at the same time...yet :).

roxhum
09-15-2010, 11:15 AM
Great advice. Now how do you stop from rather than singing the tune to singing the sound of whatever chord you are playing. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sometimes living alone is a really good thing.

Jimbo Pante
09-17-2010, 02:34 PM
I did experience the same thing but got the knack of it. The trick is to listen to the same song until your ears bleed. (you'll not find this a problem if you really like the song and wanted to play it with any instrument.) Sing with it and listen until it gets into your system that you hear it even when it's not played on your ipod. By then, you should be able to sing every note and lyrics at the back of your mind even if you're doing calculus while singing. Get the chords and strum your way in. PRACTICE! is the most important thing.

Do it because it's your PASSION and it's what makes you HAPPY and you'll be good at it. Dun look at it as "I need to practice so i'll be good!" you might be obliging yourself and might end up tired and frustrated. Just my 2 cents :D

allie
10-07-2010, 04:03 AM
Haha I've only been playing uke for about a week and I discovered it's not so easy singing while playing either! People on youtube make it look so easy..

But the only way to learn how to play and sing is to keep doing it. I don't know what songs you're into but I think most pop songs use the same chords (C, G, Am, F) so when you're super pro at these you can practice different songs with just those 4 chords.

fitncrafty
10-07-2010, 04:14 AM
I can't sing and play either.. I loose my strumming place... I think it will all come in time. Someone on here said it and it is now my whole families music motto. "Practice Makes Permanent"!
I don't know that it will ever improve the sound of my voice though... sigh.... I wish I was blessed with a good singing voice instead of the ability to cook, (I'd spend less time eating and more time singing) Oh well...

Keep it up!

thatukuleleguy
10-11-2010, 12:55 PM
I usually play the song several times without singing so that I'm used to the chord progression and can tell what's coming next. Once I'm to the point where I can play the song in my sleep, I add the lyrics.

Ziegman5000
02-27-2011, 09:24 PM
Another good thing to do is slow the song down and work up the speed. This is what I did on guitar. It's basically separating your head and body into two different things. Just practice a very lot and get your brain-to-hand coordination down too as this helps to play without even looking at the uke at times.

Eric Blooduke
02-28-2011, 01:49 AM
Funnily enough Aldrine's latest Uke minute # 118 is on Singing & Playing at the same time!

JoeOahu
03-02-2011, 09:43 PM
Here's a tip. Practice and tap your foot a lot. :)

Joe

ConspiracyUkeist
04-18-2011, 11:05 PM
Call and response came from working in the fields, singing was almost always done when working in the old days. An echo of that is in the US Army, we sang a TON, most of it call and response style. I'm sure the melodies go back to the 1800s if not the 1700s too, although the words get changed. All the melodies had a "blues", almost "pre-blues" tone to them. Good times....

I think singing plus playing just takes a ton of practice. We had it easy, we just hadda sing while running and carrying an M-16.

YogaJen
04-20-2011, 12:05 AM
Singing is playing an instrument - the vocal instrument. It's made up of all the different parts - muscles, joints, tissues - things to do with breathing, mouthing the words, shaping the sound, volume tone etc. It involves the brain and the nervous system, co-ordination and importantly the connection between ear and all those other things. So to sing well, in tune and time and with confidence and heart - that's quite a challenge.
Then playing the uke is playing an instrument - and all that goes with that - rhythm, strumming, plucking, timing, notes, chord, tone co-ordination of brain and body etc.
Putting the two together - singing and uke playing - that really is a demanding thing and not surprising that folks find it difficult. I recommend practice with voice, practice with uke, practice putting them together. I keep a lot of cds in the car and singalong when I'm driving around - that's great singing practice - especially choose songs that you actually want to perform. And go gently, happily, relax and enjoy. Then learn the song on the uke, and try to bring it all together. Definitely as some others have said start more simply, and go slowly. For sure the most important thing is practice, practice often but in a way that is joy-making.

Inner Prop
04-20-2011, 03:26 AM
my trick for songs i'm struggling with, where the words don't necessarily land on the strum, is to just play through the song, no singing. next, you add humming. easy to throw out notes, no need to think "what's the next words". then, start singing what you can, and if you start to get stuck go back to the humming, then back to singing when you are back on track. you'll be cruising through the song in no time.
jon++ to this.

I'd say that I can't sing and strum rather than I can't play and sing. If the strum is off where the singing lands then I have problems so far (since Christmas). I can't yet play "Werewolves of London." Actually I can play it, and I can sing it, but I can't do both. Either one is VERY easy by itself, but together I have trouble.

Funny story. I had my uke over to my Mom's house about a month ago and I was playing a bit. I mentioned to my sister that I don't think I can play and sing at the same time. Then I did "Wild Rover" and she laughed at me. She said, "What do you mean you can't sing and play at the same time?"

I guess I was really "on" that day. It reminds me of the old saying, "Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

What about getting yourself a singer to work with?

When I first typed that I meant to have the singer do the singing so you wouldn't have to do both, but now that I'm thinking about it that might be a way to learn to sing while you play too.

Let the singer sing the whole thing, sing the parts you can. Keep expanding the parts you can sing. This would work with recorded music too. Listen to your parts separate and then listen to how they go together.

Ukulele_Lady
05-20-2011, 05:18 PM
++ to this.

I'd say that I can't sing and strum rather than I can't play and sing. If the strum is off where the singing lands then I have problems so far (since Christmas).

I know what you mean, if the vocals a bit lazy and meandering, like Billie Holiday often is, it's difficult as you're dealing with 2 sets of timing at once! Most of them time the playing and the singing match up pretty well though and it just a case of practising, dropping back volumewise on the playing for yourself when you're singing, and I like the foot tapping tip too, helps you get 'into' it. And yep, there's nothing like practise, a year ago I was sure I'd never sing and play. You just have to keep going even when it's going badly and you start to hate your own voice. It passes :)

drbekken
06-01-2011, 08:12 AM
First of all, get the beat down.Rhythm is everything, and once you figure that out, the song will come to you. Find a comfortable tempo, and try to be relaxed. Singing and playing simultaneously is easier than you might expect.

Hippie Dribble
06-01-2011, 09:51 PM
I agree with doc. The other thing too is that you just need to know the song well. Once you got the rhythm, chords etc down so that the playing side of things is happening unconsciously, then adding the vocal won't be so intimidating

quiltingshirley
06-02-2011, 07:35 AM
I can't sing in tune for the life of me by myself but if someone else is singing, I can sing right along without a problem. I follow well, so what do I do when it's my turn at the local jam session? We're expected to start out and "lead". (They maybe changing their opinion of my doing it that way.) I've been doing this 6 weeks now and I can tell a difference in my playing but not my singing. (learning the uke, not going to jams, I've been to 3 of those)