Whether you’re a novice to the stage or seasoned professional, strumming on your guitar while also singing can prove challenging. Your brain is trying to process multiple aspects of the music and practicing two separate types of skills simultaneously. Some guitar-playing vocalist make due by settling on only an adequate performance, but you can improve your skills and deliver a top notch show even when you play guitar and sing.
- Start slowly
Slow down the tempo of the song when you first begin practicing a new piece. As you master the song on both the guitar and vocals at the slower pace, gradually speed up. You’ll be able to integrate your finger work with the singing much more smoothly until both become second nature.
- Use a metronome
Timing can be the most difficult part to nail when playing dual instruments – and your voice is an instrument. Practicing with a metronome helps you keep your timing so you nail the vocals and guitar riffs at the same time.
- Skip words in the beginning
When first mastering a new song, don’t worry about the lyrics. Begin by humming the lyrical parts instead or singing nonsense phrasing to the tune. Once you have humming and guitar synced at a great skill level, begin adding the lyrics. This way you don’t have to struggle to remember the words while learning a new guitar piece.
- Focus correctly
When practicing, focus mainly on mastering the guitar portions. Once you are performing live you can play the guitar on autopilot since your fingers remember the song. This clears up your concentration for the vocals during the performance – which is the part most audience members focus on.
- Don’t forget backup
When practicing on your own every mistake becomes much more noticeable. You can’t always practice with a full band, though. Use a recording of the other instruments so when you practice you hear the song as a whole, not just the guitar and singing parts.
When it comes down to it, the vocals have the most impact on your audience and vocal mistakes stand out more to the average listener. If you can nail the vocals every time one or two guitar mistakes won’t be noticed, especially when combined with the rest of the music. Nail those vocals and do your best on the strings and you will play guitar and sing like a pro.