Being able to play a tune and singing along to it is at the top of most people’s desires when they first learn to play guitar. I know it was for me and it is the same for most of my students.
Even if you do not want to perform or sing for others, learning to play and sing can benefit you and your guitar playing so I would recommend to go for it anyway.
You may think that you are not ready to play guitar and sing yet. You need to get better at guitar first and when you are really good then you can start trying.
Here are 3 things you can do right now to help you learn to play guitar and sing along even if you are not a great guitar player yet.
1. Learn Each Part Separately
Ok, this seems to be obvious I know.
However, I’ve been teaching guitar for many years and I know most people actually do not do this and get frustrated when trying to learn to sing and play to a song.
The best way to learn a song that you want to play and sing to is to learn each part separately. The priority should be to learn the guitar part first by itself, without singing, until you can play it well.
Once you get that down I recommend you then learn to play it with the actual recorded version of the song. Next, learn to play the actual song faster than the original which will push your abilities and skills further so when you play the song at regular speed it will be much easier to sing to it.
As you work on that you can work on memorizing the lyrics. This can be done outside of your guitar practice and will allow you to maximize your physical practicing and reach your goal to learn the song faster.
2. Test Yourself With The Actual Song
Once you have the song down with the guitar you can start doing this part. You do not have to know how to sing to it yet. All you need to do is play the song and then follow along with your guitar at the same time.
This will require you to work a bit harder to play the song snice you have to now pay attention to it and try to stay in time and change chords at the right places. This is a great way to push your playing abilities forward and prepare you to be able to sing to it.
This is not always easy to do so you really have to have the song down on the guitar first. If you are still struggling with some of the chord changes you should work on them first before you move on to this step.
Once you can play through the song and keep up with it you are ready for the next step.
3. Put It Together Slowly
Once you have the first two parts done and mastered you should be able to put it all together now, right? Not quite!!!
This is a mistake many people make, and I did it too. You do not have to wait until you master everything above before you start putting things together. That will take way too much time for you to get it working.
Instead, I recommend that once you have the first verse memorized learn to play it with the guitar part – slowly – and with a simple strum pattern to start.
Work through it several times and find the part(s) that are the most difficult or where your lyrics do not seem to fit or your strumming falls apart. Isolate and work on that part until you get it. Then repeat the process until you get this part working decently.
You can then speed it up and add a more complex strum pattern once you have success with this single part. The cool thing is most songs repeat patterns so it will help you learn the entire song quickly.
You should also keep working on the other two things above separately too of course so you are simultaneously learning the guitar parts, the lyrics and then putting them together until you have the whole song ready to roll.
Turbocharge Your Progress
Those 3 steps will help you break down songs into manageable pieces and will allow you to learn to play them on guitar and sing along in a short amount of time.
However, one thing that will speed this entire process up is to find someone to help you go through it.
Most people are decent singers already and do not really need any training to do it properly or not. We can all talk, we can all sing without help.
However, playing guitar is not something that comes naturally. Finding a good guitar teacher to help you with your guitar playing will help you get better quicker and get you the results you want.
Most guitar teachers will also be able to teach you more about the above process, find areas you may not have noticed that need work, and help you solve those problems and teach you how to do it yourself.
It’s win/win/win for you 🙂
About The Author:
Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to learn to play guitar and sing at the same time.