Singing the notes you play on guitar not only sounds cool but is a great way to develop your musicianship skills. I'm going to show you how much this practice has benefitted me as a musician and how it can benefit you too!
Welcome to 'Fingerstyle For The World', my online lesson series where I strive to help guitarists around the world become better musicians.
Before You Begin:
Download my free resources to guide you along!
When you sing a note, you HAVE to hear the note in your head first. Whether or not you do this consciously, you cannot physically sing back a note without first conceptualising it first in your head. Only then can your body physiologically create the note through your vocal instrument.
What this means is that you are training yourself to listen to the notes in your head, which greatly improves your musicianship.
Your guitar creates notes for you
When you play the guitar, as long as you put your finger on the right fret and pluck the right string, the note is already created for you. Technically, you can be completely deaf and still create a melody by pressing the right frets and plucking the right strings.
This means that if you do not intentionally LISTEN to the notes you play, you run the danger of making guitar playing a purely mechanical exercise as opposed to a musical one.
Now we're going to look at a musical example of how I sing the notes I play on guitar!
Music Example: 'Rejoice With Trembling'
Check out the full writeup on this original piece of mine here!
Watch the lesson video for my detailed analysis of this music example.
Music Application: How can you start?
We're now going to discuss some simple things you can do to start singing the notes you play yourself, and you'll be well on your way to developing your musicianship!
Sing your scales
Remember those boring scale exercises on guitar? Make them doubly exciting and productive by singing as your play them! Not only does it force you to listen to the scales you play, you're also developing some vocal technique as well.
Be sure to download my scale position guide with all the guitar scale positions you will ever need to practice on!
Sing in solfege
Sing your scales using solfege syllables. These refer to the common 'do re mi fa so la ti' syllables used in western music to denote the position of each note within the scale you are singing.
I've talked a lot about solfege singing on many other videos that you can check out. Essentially when you sing in solfege, you connect each note to a specific scale degree, allowing you to know precisely what each and every note is. This does wonders for your training in musicianship.
Make it an artistic practice
Singing the notes you play is not only for training, it can sound great too! Find your own personal voice and style while singing and make it your unique sound. No one else in the world has your voice, whereas guitars, generally speaking, sound the same.
Remember that you are a musician and not a machine. Your music comes from inside you, and your instrument is simply that - an instrument used to produce that music. Develop your musicianship alongside technique, and making music will be so much more fulfilling, as it has been for me.
Do leave a comment with any questions you might have and I'll do my best to answer them. Follow along my musical journey on my YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and website neilchanmusic.com as I share new music videos and lessons on those very music videos, each and every week, to help you along your own musical journey.
Until next time, I'll see you again!
By Neil Chan