Many people want to learn how to sing. Many others want to learn how to play the guitar. What if you've mastered those skills separately, but want to learn how to do both at the same time?
Numerous guitar singing lessons have cropped up online, and music teachers have begun to offer classes in singing while playing the guitar. Here are some helpful tips for anyone who wants to improve their "strumming and singing" skill:
Guitar Singing Lessons: Professional Help
If you're a beginning vocalist or guitar player, consider signing up for some professional lessons to teach you how to combine your skills. Even a few sessions with a pro could give you valuable insights into what it takes to sing and play guitar at the same time.
Look for local instructors in your phone directory, or go online and search through message forums and songwriting blogs. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool; if your friends and colleagues recommend someone, give that instructor a try.
Guitar Singing Lessons: Self-Study
If there's no room in your budget for guitar singing lessons, try a self-study course. You can find plenty of these on the Internet or at your local book store or library. There are self-study courses to suit every budget. While you frequently get what you pay for, the most expensive systems aren't necessarily the best ones.
Choosing a singing and strumming guide is a lot like choosing an instructor: Word of mouth counts for a lot. If your musician friends recommend a course, give it a try. Otherwise, go online to look for unbiased user reviews of each system.
Look for systems that include a blend of written instructions, video or audio lessons, and software tools that allow you to record your songs and listen to them to identify areas which need improvement.
Guitar Singing Lessons: Timeframe
Singing while playing is a skill that is developed over time, with practice. It's not something you can learn overnight. In fact, renowned guitarist and instructor Jamie Andreas suggests that it could take six months to learn how to play and sing reliably, assuming you practiced for 30 minutes a day, every day.
Some people pick up the skill faster than others, but you should anticipate spending 3 to 6 months learning to sing and play guitar. It could take a year or longer to master more challenging chords and vocals.
Don't get discouraged if you don't feel like you're progressing fast enough. Just stick with your lessons and remember that every great singer/guitar player has been in your shoes at some point.
Guitar Singing Lessons: Challenges
As with any instrument, there is a proper way to strum and sing, and plenty of improper ways as well. Unfortunately, learning to play and sing without proper technique can make it challenging to move from basic chords to more complex songs.
Some common challenges that beginners face include changing chords smoothly while singing; singing a challenging melody while they strum; and muscle tension that comes when a guitarist uses their arm and shoulder muscles to compensate for underdeveloped hand and finger muscles.
Each of these challenges can be overcome with time and practice. By taking guitar singing lessons, either by yourself or with an instructor, you will avoid developing bad playing habits that could keep you from meeting your full potential.