PLAYING PIANO AND SINGING AT THE SAME TIME – GENERAL TIPS

When developing Sing Song Piano I thought very carefully about how I put our course together, and for it to equally benefit you in both areas – Singing and Playing Piano. I have listened to my students, taken on board how they like to learn and what they love most. This has consequently brought together Sing Song Piano which is a creative and colourful course, which whilst being extremely good fun it also teaches you at the same time.

It is focused on training you to play and sing by ear. If you look at famous singers and musicians such as Elton John and Stevie Wonder, you won’t see them with endless amounts of books and sheets in front of them. What they sing and play is all done by memory and playing by ear.

Below I am going to give you some useful tips to help you begin your musical journey with Sing Song Piano. Read this information carefully and keep this information close to hand, so every time you break into song on the Piano you can read through this to help your learning progress with us…

Before you start to sing it is VITAL that you warm up otherwise you could damage your vocal chords! You don’t want to do this before you’ve even started.

One exercise I suggest is to do the following: ‐

Start on Middle C: ‐
Then you are going to play these notes on the Piano, and then sing this back to yourself. Then work up the Keys as sampled below: ‐

1. C D E F G F E D C.
2. D E F# G A G F# E D
3. E F# G# A B A G# F# E
4. F G A Bb C Bb A G F
5. G A B C D C B A G
6. A B C# D E D C# B A
7. B C# D# E F# E D# C# B

For the singing line you can use the following two exercises: ‐

For the FIRST FOUR exercises, use: ‐
La la La La Laaaaaa la La la Laaaaaa. (Where I have extended the Laa’s you will hold them for 2 beats then come back down, so on the Highest note you will hold it for a bit longer, and then on the last note do the same.) Then for the LAST THREE exercises do the following: ‐ Me me Me me Meeeeee me Me me Meeeeee.

Ok so you have warmed your vocals up, now I am going to talk about how to apply yourself to my suggested practicing tips: ‐

One of the things that will take a bit of getting use to initially is the co‐ordination of playing and singing at the same time, so this is why I am going to give you some useful tips on how to adapt yourself to this. But the main thing required from this is practice until you click with it. It’s like learning to ride a bike, once you master the coordination of playing at singing at the same time, you will have this skill with you forever.

• The very first thing you need to do is learn the words to the song thoroughly.

• Sounds obvious but the next thing to do is to learn the music thoroughly. It’s impossible to try and do 2 things at the same time unless you are fully familiar with them both.

• Practice each part independently, so what I mean by this is to practice your Piano part until you are completely confident of what you need to play. Try breaking it down into smaller sections if need be…i.e. Work on the Intro and Verse. Then work on the Chorus and ending and then bring together as a whole piece.

• Independence is a term widely used when learning piano. The independence of both hands is very important, as sometimes one hand will have to play something that is contrasting the other hand. This skill again is using your co‐ordination. This skill is independent to learning solo piano as well as learning piano to accompany your singing.

• Using the audio tracks and print out worksheets that are provided, run through your vocal parts. This will get you use to how the Piano sounds against your singing, and also get you familiar with your vocal parts.

• Work on it in small sections if you need too. Anything that isn’t working as it should do, keep repeating this until it clicks, even if it’s one singing line or one bar of music 20 times. You will get it eventually.

• Memorise the words, so you can mainly focus on your performance of your song.

• The idea of breaking your singing and piano down into separate parts is to build up your confidence in each area, and to make sure each section is perfected to a high standard. Then once both parts are learnt bring the song together as a whole piece.

I am now going to give you some direct practicing tips for improving your co‐ordination: ‐

• Everybody hates the chores of washing up e.t.c., so add a bit of fun into this by singing at the same time as washing up. The idea of this is that you are keeping your hands moving at the same time as singing….The same as if you were playing piano and Singing at the same time.

• An alternative to the above is to watch TV but at the same time play along to your song on the Piano. This will strengthen your independence on the Piano and again help improve your co‐ordination.

• Another alternative is to try reading a newspaper or book at the same time as playing, or singing. Even if it’s just a few lines. By doing all these exercises it is sure to improve your technique.

• You have broken down your singing and piano part. Now gradually introduce both singing and playing together at the same time by doing the following: ‐
‐ Play just the RIGHT hand Chords of your song along to you singing….Get comfortable with this and then introduce the left hand of your piano section.

• Another very important aspect of learning music is to grasp your rhythm and timing. You will find a style that suits you to keep yourself in time. Whether it be tapping the beats with your foot, or swaying side to side, or counting in your head. You will develop a rhythm style that suits you.
Everybody feels music in a different way.

• Keep practicing the song until you can play it and feel the song even with your eyes closed! Once you can do this, you know you are ready to perform it.

• My final bit of advice is to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. This is what it comes down to in the end. If you are having lots of fun whilst learning at the same time, you won’t be able to wait until you next get your piano out!

Good luck!
Samantha