I'm after technique suggestions on how to play and sing at the same time.
My question is:
Do you learn to sing the song and play the guitar parts separately first and then put them together or do you learn them at the same time so the words become part of the learned muscle memory triggers for the song when performing.
The singing is the new stuff for me. I usually play rhythm for the jam group.
Currently working on acoustic - Bowie Space Oddity – mainly strumming. And Beatles – Blackbird finger picked.
Any suggestions

St John
I don't really sing while playing cause I'm a really bad singer. But unless I'm playing some lead heavy or slightly complicated riffs, I usually don't have too much trouble playing and singing at the same time. Personally, I focus on the guitar parts until playing it is as natural as tapping my foot. Then, it's pretty just singing while tapping to a beat. But it might be different for a singer since I don't care how good I sound singing.
For published material you can get your hands on, reading, (or learning to read), the top line melody is a big help.

You can the determine which notes of the chord are the ones you should be singing against. Then, when you're working with open chords, you can sneak some passing notes of the melody into the fingering. That should help to keep you on track.

Find your vocal range. You might have to down tune your guitar, or change the song's key to make it work for you.

If you're trying to pass off your rendition of, "Stairway to Heaven" you might want to sing the outro DOWN an octave!
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 2, 2014,
For me i learn the lyrics first, when i can sing with the song then i sing & play at the same time, it's the only way that worked for me.
I couldn't play and sing for a long time, one day I really sat and put my mind to it. Learnt the whole song on the guitar first to a point where I didn't have to look at the neck or really think about it at all. Be sure to begin with a song with fairly simple and repetitive strumming patterns, especially when starting out.

Once you know the song study the lyrics, it is possible to play and sing while reading the words but for you first song rather learn the words and how to sing it by heart, without your guitar.

Once you know the guitar parts and singing parts by heart separately it is time to smash it all together, just keep trying over and over again. At first you will go out of time almost instantly, saying words will throw you off and it will be hard to keep a steady beat but eventually if you keep trying it will click. You may end up changing the way the song is sung or played slightly to suit you and that is OK, do what feels right and enjoy performing the song.

When it does click you will feel a great sense of accomplishment so keep at it man!
Thank you Victorgeiger.
I shall start with Dylan's Knockin on heaven's door.
I do find that I do all sorts of stupid mistakes when singing and playing.
It is fun though cranking out a chorus and bellowing the words out loud - neighbours must love it - not!
I suppose its just going to be like learning to chew gum and walk at the same time.
St John
When I first started learning, I would practice the guitar part over and over until I could do it without any thought at all, then I would add the lyrics. It's really hard at first, but don't give up on it, it starts to get a lot easier as time goes on, to the point where you barely have to think about it
I learn it with the lyrics in front of me, reading as I go. Sometimes the rhythm can be tricky the way they work together. I work those kinks out, and then I learn the lyrics off by heart, one section at a time.
Thank you Fingerpikinggood - I have noticed that I get in a rythm of words with the guitar part but occasionally they don't automatically mesh - understanding that this is not abnormal gives me hope, that with practice of those bits can come good too.

As I've read in many places - the answer is practice - now what 's the question.
Although it is better to practice the right thing.
Also as telemaster16 says I perceive it is worth learning both parts really well separately before putting them together.
Cheers everyone
Good to hear you are not discouraged by the early frustration. Honestly, singing and playing has been on my to do list since I started playing the guitar like 7 years ago, at some point in the early days I just decided "nope, I'm just one of those people who can't sing and play, oh well" And never really tried again for years. That was until I heard a song that I absolutely had to learn to sing and play on my acoustic because the words had so much meaning for my life.

It took literally 3 days of bashing my head against the wall (This was after learning the chords and words and just trying to put it together) Eventually on the third day it started to click and once I could play a resemblance of the full song I was hit with a wave of emotion and got all teary eyed. It was awesome. Now I have a few songs that I can play and sing and learn another every couple weeks.

Learning the second one is MUCH easier than learning the first one. Seriously Just keep at it, keep pushing and it will come to you.
Singing and playing guitar can be tricky for a beginner but it is not impossible. A sense of good timing, rhythm and ability to combine two actions at once will come with practice and dedication.
Last edited by richardsnelson at Aug 25, 2014,