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kristina*m
09-05-2011, 01:18 AM
Hi everyone!

I'm having a problem when I try to strum and sing. My voice automatically adjusts to the rhythm of the strumming, which makes me sound weird and jerky. "Headin' down south to the... landoftheprime... I'mthumbin'myway... intoNorthCaroline..."

Does anyone have any tips on how to sing naturally while keeping the strumming pretty even, or do I just need to loosen up on the strumming rhythm?

Thanks!
Kristina

helric
09-05-2011, 01:50 AM
Begin with a simple strum DU DU DU and sing. When you've got rythm, modify the strum and sing along. One word : practice..... Good luck and don't give up !

PhilUSAFRet
09-05-2011, 05:48 AM
If you are very new to the uke, you may be concentrating too hard on strumming and finding chords. Take your time, master your basic chords and strumming techniques. Then try it and it should be easier.

Kanaka916
09-05-2011, 06:16 AM
This another one of those frequently asked questions . . . so here are some previous threads and hopefully you cna find some good tips/advice/recommendations.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?31219-singing-and-strumming
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?7192-Strumming-and-singing-at-the-same-time
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?41663-cant-sing-and-play-at-the-same-time
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?2346-Strumming-and-singign
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?822-singing-and-playing
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?30370-Singing-and-playing

Ataraxia
09-05-2011, 12:49 PM
I had the same issue when I first started playing guitar. I'll let you in on the most potent solution of all... practice. Unfortunately, there's no real shortcut for getting around this. The advice posted above by Phil is great, just take your time and before you know it you'll be singing and playing without even thinking about it! :D

P.S. It's "the land of the pines", not "prime". Wagon Wheel is a great song, especially the Against Me! cover.

Good Luck!

cantsing
09-05-2011, 06:23 PM
As you can see from all the threads listed by Kanaka, this is something that most of us newbies have to work through. With patience and practice, it will happen for you!

Kanaka916
09-05-2011, 07:30 PM
I took excerpts from the threads I mentioned and kinda consolidated them. They're not in any particular order and there was a lot of redundancy. For the folks who have been here awhile, please feel free to edit the list.


. . . looks like the answer is just more practice


. . . learn to play songs where I already knew the words by heart. If you don't have to think about remembering the words, your brain can devote more of its focus to strumming.


. . . find a natural rhythm that feels good to strum along with the lyrics and a natural melody that feels good to sing along with the strum. Another exercise is the opposite. I will strum the song while I simply mumble the words to find a melody that works. I will do this over and over in either order before the blanks begin to fill themselves in.


. . . start with a song that you know the lyrics to. Then basically just to play the song through a couple of times, while using the same strum-pattern throughout the song. Then after a while I would start singing. The most important thing to me was not to focus on the strum-pattern, because then I would lose it and be unable to strum and sing at the same time. So simply, don't think too much about the strum-pattern and you'll do alright.


Donít focus on strumming patterns, sit there for 15 minutes strumming the same two chords and saying the same 4 words over and over until you get it. Repetition is your friend!


. . . strum along to the proper song while muting the strings. This lets me get the strum pattern down to a tee, then incorporate the chords. If you're playing along to the song in the same key then it's very easy to recognize chord changes.


. . . strumming one beat per bar (i.e. just the first down stroke) while you sing. When you're comfy with that, do two (one and three), then go to four (all the down strokes).


If you are thinking about chords, chord shapes, strumming, melody and lyrics you are on overload. Multi-tasking can be a good thing, but can be difficult. When learning a new song start with chord progression, get it under your fingers and in your ears. Then hum the melody and work on your timing and strum. When you have chords and strumming on auto-pilot try adding the lyrics. For me I need to play a song at least 150 times before I am close to learning it. I also believe it is easier to play a song when you don't need to read it from the sheet.


Keep the strumming simple at first. Until you can do your strumming pattern without thinking about it, it's going to be hard to sing over it. Practice your strumming first.


. . . it might sound a bit much, but if you video tape yourself playing while attempting to sing... then review it after... you can really get nitty gritty on what you need to fix and discover what you like and dislike.


I learned by humming first. Once I got the strum pattern down - then I would start to hum the melody - then slowly come out with the words where I knew they were supposed to come out. Then eventually it all came together.


. . . then I would play the uke, and the words in my head, leading to humming or whistling while playing, got it down after a short while.


The easiest way is to completely memorize the strumming for the song so that you can do it without thinking. Then memorize the melody and lyrics for the song. Then try it out at the same time. Start slow if you have to. If you keep working at it, doing them both will become second nature and you don't even have to think about your strumming while you sing.


. . . here is the order I recommend:
1. I would learn the melody and lyrics of the song. Write the lyrics down or print them out.
2. Learn the basic chords and write the chord changes on the lyric sheet at the exact word where the chords will be changing.
3. Stroke down only once for each chord change while you sing the melody.
4. Keep practicing this technique until you feel you are comfortable to add a second strum on the down beat of each 4 bar measure after that.
5. Continue to add to your strumming pattern from there.


. . . learn the chord progression so you have it smooth before trying to sing along.


And finally, Ianís advice . . .


Simple rule for learning to play or to play/sing with any instrument:

Practice.
Practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice.

And stop for a glass of wine.

PS. A metronome might help. When you learn to keep time to its beat, it makes it somewhat more of an automatic process to strum in synch.

TCK
09-05-2011, 09:33 PM
Totally summed up right there- when you can play the tune backwards and forwards without thinking about it...than you can sing it easily without being jerky. Practice is the ticket.

helric
09-06-2011, 02:23 AM
everything is said !

photopatch
09-07-2011, 03:51 PM
Also, you may try simply humming first. That helped me! Actually I thought it would never happen but after only a couple weeks of real lengthy practice, it finally happened!