With enough time and practice, your fingers and voice will soar effortlessly in a balance of freedom and craft.
Playing an instrument well and singing at the same time is a challenge for any singer-songwriter.
If you’re not ready to spend your time and money on vocal lessons yet, here’s a free kickstart: an article by vocal coach Susan Anders called On Singing While Playing.
On Singing While Playing is a quick and essential read for songwriters who want to sing their own work. If you’ve been singing for a while but never practiced vocal technique before, this article could help you improve your singing noticeably after about an hour’s worth of work. It’s a great way to breathe new life into the songs you’ve already written.
The article covers:
- How to breathe while singing
- What posture allows you to sustain notes beautifully
- How to control your exhale so you don’t run out of breath
Best of all, the article contains exercises that you can perform while singing songs that you already know. I suggest trying Ander’s techniques first with a song that you know very well first. Then try the exercises again with a “problem song” that you find difficult to sing.
The article contains recommendations for guitarists and pianists, but these can be adapted to any stringed or digital instrument with ease, whether you play it sitting or standing.
Please be sure to actually do the singing exercises. Simply reading won’t improve your singing much. For best results, practice Ander’s suggested exercises daily until the techniques become habit. Apply them to more and more of the songs you know, and I predict your notes will sustain longer, ring more clearly, and tire you out less. As with all exercises, read the instructions carefully to make sure you’re doing them correctly. Patience pays off big-time when you’re learning to sing.
Dear reader: If Ander’s article does anything for your vocal technique, share your small victories with us in the comments below!