Singing and playing?

cantstoplt021

Senior Member
I'm a guitarist who is learning drums with the goal of being good at both. Most of my favorite guitarists are able to sing while they play complicated things. I'm wondering if it is easy to sing and drum at the same time (once you're a good drummer that is). Since drumming involves doing 4 different things with each limb you have already taught your brain how to do different things at the same time. I'm assuming this might transfer over to singing as well? At any rate I'm sure it will make singing and playing guitar at the same time easier.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It's like anything else. If there's a desire to learn how to do it, you'll get it down. I've been singing and drumming for over 30 years now and it was pretty easy for me to pick it up in the beginning, so if I could do it, anybody can.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I drum and sing at the same time, with breathtaking degree of mediocrity. Please do not take that for false modesty; it is true honesty.

Some songs I need to simplify the drum part to cope, but it's no more difficult than playing guitar and singing.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I sing and play. In some cases I too simplify the drumming. I do find I have to work at some songs more than others. Often vocals come in ahead of the beat, and that is a challenge especially if you are finishing a fill. Take practice. And there are some drum parts I simply cannot sing along too, at least not yet.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I don't sing well but I learned to do it rather quickly.

Like someone else mentioned, sometimes you have to modify your parts and it's a lot easier to modify drum parts than piano or guitar parts.

The rhythm of the song has a LOT to do with hoe easy/difficult it is.

I spent a few hours trying to play/sing Who Do You Love.....then I gave up.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
As a youngster, I had teachers who would have me sing melodies while playing time over independence exercises (e.g., Alan Dawson's adaptations to Syncopation). Singing vocal parts came pretty easy after that and these days, I do a lot of singing. BTW, this is a skill that will make you more employable.

Ain't nothin' to it, just gotta do it.
 

drumngun

Member
i was lucky that singing while playing drums came rather easy, to be honest i never even thought about it back when i started gigging in 1980. however that does not mean that i know how to sing, had to do some lessons later in my career. in the mid eighties i had to learn playing to a click track (for prerecorded horns,strings vocals) AND singing AND playing drums that was tough at first, but i adapted. and because i was able to do that my phone rang a whole lot more. the fact that i could consistantly play to a click in a live situation made the phone ring... forget about singing. both are skills worth having no doubt. be patient it WILL come without modifying the drum parts.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
As an aside, I've found that singing along with a song helps me to "line up" the drum part. Even if it's a song where I'm not doing the vocal, singing along, however monotonously, helps me to find the groove.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
As an aside, I've found that singing along with a song helps me to "line up" the drum part. Even if it's a song where I'm not doing the vocal, singing along, however monotonously, helps me to find the groove.
This is a recent revelation to me. I realized it since in this band I finally got around to taking on lead vocals for a few songs. I don't need nearly as many notes (my version of charting).

Now I'll have to try it for songs I don't sing the lead. Thanks.
 

phillyb™

Member
good topic.
i've been playing the guitar for more than 15 years and this thought always occurred to me - not many drummers sing.
don't know if it's harder or what...
i just started playing the drums about a month ago - the thought still crosses my mind. and every now and then, if i'm playing something really simple, i'll be able to sing the chorus of the song.
otherwise, i won't even bother.
i'm still learning foot independence.
 

shemp

Silver Member
My experience is that...at least for me....not many things I try to do come easy. What I have learned through playing guitar since 1975 is that most of the bumps I encounter can eventually be hurdled, but it takes practice.

I don't have natural musical ability, and there are many others I have seen that took to singing and playing much faster than I did.

So with that in mind, singing and drumming is another a learned skill that I have taken on, but I had to play through them numerous times to get everything dialed in...I don't change the drum track to accommodate the singing. I like the challenge.

For those folks that feel like it is a struggle, you may be in the same boat with me, but I can tell you that you will get there with practice and persistence. You might not have the voice of Paul Rodgers (as I do not) but you are a very valuable commodity if you can chime in on a good deal of backing vocals and some lead vocals.
 

Rotarded

Senior Member
I too was fortunate that singing while drumming came very easily. My list of songs that I sing lead on has grown to over a dozen due to the fact that I have the highest, and broadest, vocal range of anyone in the band. My band plays a mixture of Motown Funk and 60's-90's "One-Hit" Classic Rock, with a lot of 3-4 part harmonies and multi-layered vocals.

The biggest issue I have is focusing on smooth movement to moderate the "vibrato" that my drumming effort causes in my voice, particularly when singing falsetto. I use a headset microphone which adds a few more challenges for me, and the sound engineer.
 
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moxman

Silver Member
I'm just a background singer, but I continually practice singing techniques to improve... finding the perfect pitch and tone, knowing when to jump to the O-voice, breathing, head, chest, gut voice.. etc. there's always lot's to work on. Then add drumming into the mix. A few things I picked up on;
- I use a mic positioned to the side of the hats ; a bit up above my mouth so it forces you to keep good posture and belt it out.. you can't sing if you are crouched over and compressed... (thanks Levon Helm!)
- if you know the drum part down cold it helps; so you can kind of autopilot the rhythm and the voice just falls into place.. you don't have t worry about meter getting thrown off etc. but it takes practice.
- record yourself and listen for areas that need improvement
- background OOhs and AAAhs are much easier to get started with rather than tackling lead.. baby steps!
- try Gary Chesters book New Breed Vol. 1 for improving limb independence and vocal independence.. it asks you to 'sing' melody lines (or rhythms) as you play various combinations.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I have sung in every band I have been in. Most of the time, the drums sort of go on "auto pilot." I have been doing it for a very long time, so I do not remember it being a problem. Peace and goodwill.
 

cantstoplt021

Senior Member
Cool, sounds like it's something that isn't impossible to do. I'm still trying to get independence so I'll worry about that before I start trying to sing at the same time. Interestingly since I've started working more on drum independence over this last month or so, it seems like singing and playing guitar is easier even though I haven't been really working on it
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
Over the years I have sung a few songs here and there.

Since August I have not had to travel up and down the East coast anymore and am able to do a band project at home. So, since September last year, I have been working with a very patient and understanding guitar player who has been helping me develop my singing.

I am doing most of the singing in the band, and in February we found a bass player and he is doing about 20% of the singing.

I still need a lot of work with the vocals. But, every once in a while I surprise everyone including myself, and am able to pull off a song pretty well. Learning new songs is coming easier and faster now too.

The songs that are easier to do, are ones where the singing is on the beat and are not a challenge trying to get in too many words in a short space or where the phrasing makes no sense. Songs that are hard are ones where the vocals come in at a different beat of the song. On these types of songs, I cannot disassociate my drumming from the vocals, even it is a simple beat.

Recently, I found that I am able to play fills easily and sing at the same time. It happened last practice, all of a sudden I was able to just sing through the fills without even thinking about it.

When I play drums without singing, I am usually engaged more with driving the band, adding color, accenting and telegraphing many of the changes. I feel like my attention is taking in all of the band at once. But, when I sing, I am playing more simply and I play on automatic, and I am not listening to the others in the band as much as I am my singing.

Perhaps, like playing fills easily, I may eventually be able to drive, accent and telegraph easily. But, this much singing is new for me.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Over the years I have sung a few songs here and there.

Since August I have not had to travel up and down the East coast anymore and am able to do a band project at home. So, since September last year, I have been working with a very patient and understanding guitar player who has been helping me develop my singing.

I am doing most of the singing in the band, and in February we found a bass player and he is doing about 20% of the singing.

I still need a lot of work with the vocals. But, every once in a while I surprise everyone including myself, and am able to pull off a song pretty well. Learning new songs is coming easier and faster now too.

The songs that are easier to do, are ones where the singing is on the beat and are not a challenge trying to get in too many words in a short space or where the phrasing makes no sense. Songs that are hard are ones where the vocals come in at a different beat of the song. On these types of songs, I cannot disassociate my drumming from the vocals, even it is a simple beat.

Recently, I found that I am able to play fills easily and sing at the same time. It happened last practice, all of a sudden I was able to just sing through the fills without even thinking about it.

When I play drums without singing, I am usually engaged more with driving the band, adding color, accenting and telegraphing many of the changes. I feel like my attention is taking in all of the band at once. But, when I sing, I am playing more simply and I play on automatic, and I am not listening to the others in the band as much as I am my singing.

Perhaps, like playing fills easily, I may eventually be able to drive, accent and telegraph easily. But, this much singing is new for me.
Keep it up! You now have become at least a double-threat. Theoretically, if I was a band leader, rather than hire a drummer and a singer, if I can get both in one person, then I don't have to hire that extra person. It will only help you.

Imagine if you penned the original songs and sang them, and had them become hits....then you'd be the guy hiring and firing within your band because they can't get rid of you! You'd be Phil Collins or Don Henley ;)
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well there's singing and playing-and then sounding good singing and playing. My brother is a great guitarist but he's deaf to the fact-HE CAN'T SING!!!!I've always thought I sounded pretty good (especially in the.shower) but years of kids yelling hush daddy, hush daddy taught me otherwise lol, so yes I can sing just I'm terrible. Wish my brother would figure that out and it's ok to suck, nor should one quit singing just because they are terrible-just not in public LOL (have some manners son).
 
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