The Waterboys
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Most musicians will focus on just one instrument and stick to that. However, the voice being an instrument, some musicians have gone the extra mile to learn how to sing while playing another instrument, reaping significant benefits as a result.

As an instrumentalist, it can be incredibly valuable to learn how to sing as it enhances your ear development. Additionally, you can sing backup vocals and harmonies, which increases your value as a player. You can also sing in case you can’t seem to find a singer for your group or if the budget is tight. This will also increase your flexibility when booking your performance events.

Even so, playing while singing can be extremely hard – doing just

one is already hard enough as it is. However, with lots of practice, nothing is impossible. However, these four neat tricks from Dylan Welsh will also help you get there quicker:

  1. Perfect each part individually

Before you can mash your singing and playing, you need to have perfected each part.

Spend the majority of your practice time on each individual part, and make sure you get super comfortable and can execute each at a competent level without thinking about it too much. This is especially true if you’re fairly weak in either singing or playing, as is often the case with instrumentalists who want to pick up some vocals, or singers who want to learn to accompany themselves.

The “without thinking about it” part is the key here. Your brain doesn’t like to multitask. It doesn’t do good work when it has to multitask. Thus, you need to take as much thinking out of the equation as you can, and the way to do that is through slow and careful practice of both the singing and the accompaniment individually. Via Sonic Bids

  1. Identify the most demanding parts of the song
pianist singer
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

The brain always tends to resist multitasking, so even if you are able to minimize your conscious thinking for the individual parts, you will still stretch your brain significantly when you mash them up.

When you’re feeling ready to start practicing putting the pieces together, make a mental note of what needs to take top priority. If you’re playing guitar and singing in a hard rock band, you might need to sacrifice a word or two of the vocals in order to make the technical guitar work happen. If you’re a folk singer-songwriter, you may need to miss a chord change or two here and there to make sure that you deliver the vocals in the way you want. Via Sonic Bids

  1. Involve others

You will quickly notice that it’s much easier to play and sing at the same time when you’re in a group than when practicing alone.

First of all, there’s less pressure on you and your playing when there are other players in the group backing you up. The drummer will be helping to hold down the time, and the bass and additional chordal instruments will help keep the harmony going even if you need to drop out for a second to nail a vocal delivery. Via Sonic Bids

  1. Give it time
double bassist singer
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

As with any new skill, singing and playing will take lots of time to develop, so it’s important to start slow, preferably with one song you are already familiar with. As you go through the process of individual practice and establishing the areas that need the most attention with each song, you’ll slowly get used to it and improve your speed.

Eventually, you’ll reach a point where your mind knows how to shift its focus appropriately with very minimal effort or thought on your part, and you can really spend your time focused on learning each part really well individually. I can’t stress this individual practice enough, as the better you know each part on its own, the easier it’ll be to make the transition to singing and playing at the same time. Via Sonic Bids

  1. Where possible, learn to drum
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Even if you don’t intend to become a drummer, drumming will help you hone the vital multitasking skills needed when playing and singing.

When you sing and accompany yourself, you’ve basically got two things going on at the same time: playing and singing. When playing drums, that number actually doubles! Advanced level drummers are capable of using both of their hands and feet to play four individual parts that could be completely independent of one another, essentially playing four different instruments at the same time. This requires the same sort of mental focus and shifting that singing while playing does, and learning to play a drum set can help you to develop your coordination skills much faster. Via Sonic Bids

Related Articles:

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players

no trebleQ: I’ve been reading your columns with great interest for the last year or so, but here’s a question I haven’t seen addressed yet: How do different bass players approach the problem of playing and singing at the same time? I’ve been playing for going on forty years now – both professionally and as a weekend warrior – and this particular aspect still eludes me for the most part. The thing is, fellow bass players I’ve talked to about this seem to fall roughly into two categories: 1) those who do this seemingly effortlessly and hardly understand the question, and 2) those who, like me, find it nearly impossible. Is it a matter of practice, or is it just the way we are wired? Via No Treble


This Dog Is Filmed Playing Piano And Singing It’s Heart Out While Home Alone

come on englandA family recorded their dog while it was home alone and discovered it was actually a great musician.

When there’s nobody in the house, a dog might pass the time by chewing on the furniture, weeing on the carpet, or just sit crying for a good few hours until the owners returns home. Not this one.

In the footage, the pooch was caught playing the piano and singing it’s heart out while it’s owners were out – and that’s very impressive for an animal without opposable digits. Via Come On England


Watch This Dude Sing And Play Guitar While Surgeons Perform Brain Surgery On Him

Everr NewsBrain surgery can be pretty damn stressful… I mean, I’m assuming. I’m not a brain surgeon.

So perhaps that’s why this Brazilian dude, Anthony Kulkamp Dias, decided to keep the medical staff of the operating theatre nice and calm by covering various songs while surgeons removed a tumour from his brain.

Or perhaps it’s because the doctors said if he stops playing guitar, he’ll die.
…Actually, it’s neither of those.

The real reason for allowing this patient to play guitar during the surgery, and in fact the reason he’s even conscious during such a drastic procedure, is that having him awake and concentrating on strumming the guitar helped doctors map his brain activity and monitor his senses. Via Everr News