Tips for Strumming & Singing at Same Time
Lesson #478 • Mar 10, 2023
In this video I’ll answer what’s probably the most common question folks send in — how to sing and strum at the same time! This can be enormously difficult, especially as you’re learning new strumming patterns. I’ll share with you the 4-5 most important tips on this topic, each of which I consider essential to include in your practice toolkit.
- 0:52 Examples of this Question
- 3:02 Isolate
- 5:50 Simplify
- 7:22 Slow Down
- 8:48 Repetition & Consistency
- 10:10 Playing Along
- 13:03 Final Advice
Examples of This Question
Here’s a few example of this question, as sent in by members of the Song Notes community. I’m sharing these because I think it’s helpful for you all to see the exact way people word this question.
The most recent submission was sent in by Bill:
I really struggle with strumming patterns and keeping time. For example, in your recent song "Don't Think Twice", I have a very difficult time keeping a steady beat tapping my left foot and playing that rather simple strum pattern. I would like to take advantage of the many different strum patterns to enhance the music.
But when it comes to singing, changing chords and tapping my foot for the timing. I always seem to end up with a boom chuck or just straight up down strumming with the beat. Can you recommend any exercises to separate my tapping left foot from my right [strumming] hand?
And another example from Marc:
I was wondering if you've ever made any lessons about learning how to sing while playing guitar. I didn't find any on your site. I can usually play the more advanced versions of the guitar patterns for your various song lessons. But I'm trying to experiment with singing some of these songs. I have no singing experience whatsoever.
When I try to sing and play at the same time, I find it very hard to stop my strumming hand from abandoning the strum pattern and following the rhythm of the words. It's a bit easier with the most simple strum patterns, but still challenging. Anyway, I don't know if this is an issue other people have raised.
And one more, this coming in from Jim:
I have got the strum pattern and chord changes and lyrics memorized. My current challenge is to actually sing the lyrics while “automatically” strumming and making chord changes. I am struggling a bit with this. I think it is kind of like rubbing your tummy and the top of your head at the same time. I couldn’t find any hints on your website. Anyway any help would be appreciated.
My Previous Video On This Topic
A few years back, I answered this very same question! There’s definitely a lot of overlap in this older video vs. my new one – but are definitely some unique nuggets in this older clip. So, I’m sharing it here! Check it out if you’re interested. And wow, my beard used to be long!
Jump in the conversation with other members of the Song Notes community! Post a comment about this lesson, ask a question, or even upload a video of your progress. All skill levels welcome!View Comments
Jump in the conversation with other members of the Song Notes community! Post a comment about this lesson, ask a question, or even upload a video of your progress. All skill levels welcome!
To access the community forum, upgrade to premium or log in.
Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!
If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).
Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!
March 27, 2023
Beginner Lead Guitar with the Star Spangled Banner
March 19, 2023
Brown Eyed Girl
March 14, 2023
Major Scales in Open Position
March 10, 2023
Tips for Strumming & Singing at the Same Time
March 7, 2023
Interstate Love Song
March 2, 2023
New Course: Beginner Chord Guide!
February 24, 2023
How to Fingerpick in 3/4 Time (feat. "Amazing Grace" & John Prine)
February 13, 2023
Adam Sandler's "Grow Old With You," Without Barre Chords
Browse my all lessons
By lesson type
- Strumming & Rhythm
- Walk-Ups & Walk-Downs
- Learning Barre Chords
- Travis Picking
- Learning Chords
By musical genre
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Chris Stapleton
- Willie Nelson
- Guy Clark
- John Prine