Drumming & Singing Simultaneously

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Timely thread.

I have just (this morning) accepted that I can't sing and drum.

I can sing in tune within a limited range, I can remember my harmonies and I can handle the coordination required in most songs but I can't keep my breathing controlled whilst flailing around behind the kit.

My old band had 3 great vocalists and I was happy to not have to worry about singing. One of the players left and I was tasked with picking up his backing parts. I learned them and recorded them and thought that was all I had to do.

When I listened to the first live gig recordings, I was appalled and quickly redid them. I kept working on it for a couple months. I started reviewing to a new live gig recording this morning and it was actually worse. Now I'm tasked with redoing them in order to make a decent promo video.

There is no question that breathing is a huge part of hitting and holding notes and it just aint gonna happen for me. If we can't find a bass player who sings, my parts will have be deleted or go onto backing tracks.
 

AndeeT

Senior Member
Yup Bo! I am only looking at the hi-hat hand, sorry :)

Nice vocals though too.

I have a little experience doing both Vox/drums in my old band but the thing is I could never find a comfortable spot for the mic/mic stand. It seems like the strap-on head-mike would solve a lot of these problems.

My favourite covers band has a drummer/singer that does an amazing job, The LowTones;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOlzt5ZDhoY
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I'm the second best singer in both of the bands I'm in, tending towards high harmonies and falsetto, but I also sing lead on bits of songs including one extended song that allows the singer to do the half sung/half spoken word piece that went over the chorus on the original record.
In that band it's a case of the rest of the lads always having known and ensured that a mic was put my way.
In the other, the 2 guitarists "assumed" responsibility for BVs and I never got a look in. One guitarist has left and we've been working on some new songs. The other week our singer couldn't quite remember how part of one song scanned so I volunteered in rehearsal to take over that part, the guitarist was saying "oh I'll do it" "I've got a mic" etc, but our singer said she thought I should do it, probably because she's heard me in the other band and been gently twisting my arm to step up since we became a 4 piece. Once we'd played the song all the way through with me singing the tricky part then taking the vocals through to the end of the song the guitarist asked how I hit those notes. Point made, I think I'll be on official duty in both bands from now.
 

Rotarded

Senior Member
I'm the second best singer in both of the bands I'm in, tending towards high harmonies and falsetto, but I also sing lead on bits of songs including one extended song that allows the singer to do the half sung/half spoken word piece that went over the chorus on the original record.
In that band it's a case of the rest of the lads always having known and ensured that a mic was put my way.
In the other, the 2 guitarists "assumed" responsibility for BVs and I never got a look in. One guitarist has left and we've been working on some new songs. The other week our singer couldn't quite remember how part of one song scanned so I volunteered in rehearsal to take over that part, the guitarist was saying "oh I'll do it" "I've got a mic" etc, but our singer said she thought I should do it, probably because she's heard me in the other band and been gently twisting my arm to step up since we became a 4 piece. Once we'd played the song all the way through with me singing the tricky part then taking the vocals through to the end of the song the guitarist asked how I hit those notes. Point made, I think I'll be on official duty in both bands from now.
This story is quite similar to mine. My bandmates bought me a headset mic, I no longer use, after a drunken karaoke dare to get up and sing a song. Fast forward 5 years and I sing leads on roughly 1/3 of our songs, and high harmonies on everything else.

Some songs I sing leads on:
Fantasy, Earth Wind and Fire
Runaway Baby, Bruno Mars
Stacy's Mom, Fountains of Wayne
Creep, Radiohead
Don't dream it's over, Crowded House
Workin fo the weekend, Loverboy
Love is Alive, Gary Wright

And YES, breathing is paramount!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Daylor of Mastodon impresses me when he's able to sing whilst also pulling off 64th note fills.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Daylor of Mastodon impresses me when he's able to sing whilst also pulling off 64th note fills.
Beat me to it.

I have no problem singing and playing the drums, but I have a terrible voice, so I dont do it. Singing and playing the guitar, now that is a skill. I swear there is an interlock between my fingers and mouth. The minute my mouth opens to sing its like I have never played before.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Beat me to it.

I have no problem singing and playing the drums, but I have a terrible voice, so I dont do it. Singing and playing the guitar, now that is a skill. I swear there is an interlock between my fingers and mouth. The minute my mouth opens to sing its like I have never played before.
Weird. The inverse has always been easier to me. I can play guitar and sing, but singing while drumming tends to make one or the other suffer. Perhaps it's just that I'm not very advanced at guitaring so I mis-interpret that. I know tons of guitar players who also think that drumming while singing is practically sorcery.

Also ditto on the bad voice. All I can do is the old crooner stuff. Low and smooth. Anytime I have to "hit" a note I don't do so well.
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
"Just because I CAN'T sing, doesn't mean I WON'T sing!"

I've sung some, mainly backup, but not very well. You know you're bad when your grandkids beg you to stop. :(
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
In the past I've avoided singing, my voice is too low, but recently I've been inspired to practice this in my attic. I have a number of Native American cd's and they ALWAYs sing and drum(or shake). I've been doing a lot of vocables ya hey ho ho ya hey etc. It feels pretty good. I think words often times get in the way. I like the Native American vocals, they are actually danceable, and not just some melodramatic load of bull with no discernible rhythm, like a five paragraph essay layered on top of music.
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
I'm new to singing and playing. I am finding the songs that are in keys outside my comfort zone are the real problems. We did a gig two weeks ago, in rehearsal, we found that if the guitarist just lowered the key by a half step, I was able to project the song easier. When I was not singing and playing, I could project easier and make up for the higher key. I am a low baritone. When we did the song at the gig, I goofed up because just like in practice I was singing it a step lower, but the guitarist at the gig decided without telling me, he was not going to detune by the half step. I knew something was wrong when I started singing in the lower key, but didn't realize what it was till later when the bass player confirmed what had happened.

How do you make the adjustment to singing outside your comfort zone range as easily standing up and not playing, or sitting behind the kit?
 
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SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I'm new to singing and playing. I am finding the songs that are in keys outside my comfort zone are the real problems. We did a gig two weeks ago, in rehearsal, we found that if the guitarist just lowered the key by a half step, I was able to project the song easier. When I was not singing and playing, I could project easier and make up for the higher key. I am a low baritone. When we did the song at the gig, I goofed up because just like in practice I was singing it a step lower, but the guitarist at the gig decided without telling me, he was not going to detune by the half step. I knew something was wrong when I started singing in the lower key, but didn't realize what it was till later when the bass player confirmed what had happened.

How do you make the adjustment to singing outside your comfort zone range as easily standing up and not playing, or sitting behind the kit?
I don't quite understand the key game. It is a standard thing in blue grass and jazz, where people practice the songs in all keys. I know if you show up at a jam and they'll say lets do it in X Y or Z key.

I think when it's you're song you kind of have to be responsible. You know throw in some extra breaks in the beginning use hand signs, until they get the idea that it's your song, and it isn't going anywhere until you sound good.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
This is me too....can you learn/be taught to sing? Or is it a 'you either have it or you don't' type thing?
You can have singing lessons but if you're tone deaf singing might not be for you :) Practice helps though.

Confidence plays a big part, takes guts to sing in front of people.
 
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