Why Should Beginner Guitarists Practice Singing?
If you are a beginner guitarist who does not sing, this article will give you some good reasons as to why beginner guitarists SHOULD sing. Even if it’s only at home on your own!
First I’d like to define “singing” in two ways:
1) Singing to sing songs for other people to hear
2) Functional singing, to train your ear
Most people only think of singing as the first option. I also thought of it that way when I started playing guitar. On my very first lesson with my first guitar teacher, he asked me if I sang and I said no. He said that was fine and never mentioned singing again, much to my relief. I went to him for lessons for 3 or 4 years. However later when I finished secondary school and went to study music, I realized I really should have been singing more right from when I started playing guitar.
Also check out this article Three Huge Mistakes Your Guitar Teacher Could Be Making
The type of singing I should have been doing is the second option, “functional singing”. I call it that because it has a purpose – to train your ear. It is NOT the kind of singing you do on stage, or at a party, where the purpose is to entertain listeners with your lovely renditions of great songs! Functional singing gets you to be able to sing and hear intervals like major 3rd’s, perfect 5th’s, and minor 7th’s. More importantly, it strengthens your ear. Singing is a great form of “ear-training”.
Ear-training is training your ear to hear sounds, which you can then reproduce by singing or playing.
While I was going to my first guitar teacher, he taught me lots of chords, scales and songs, but no ear-training. After a few years, a friend of mine started going to a different guitar teacher who talked about things like singing intervals and ear-training. I was skeptical of this. “No,” I thought. “I like MY guitar teacher. He doesn’t ask me to sing. I don’t like singing!”.
I didn’t like singing because I was scarred with memories of singing really out of tune in school when I was 8 or 9. After having a few people laugh at me I learned not to sing in public, and didn’t want to even sing in private. But I would have gotten a lot of benefits if I could have gotten over this sooner and started singing, even to myself at home.
Your musical memory is very strong, perhaps even stronger than your physical memory. People remember songs they heard when they were young for their whole life. It’s very hard to remember riffs or whole songs that you can play but only by remembering where to physically put your fingers.
A note to beginner guitarists and beginner functional singers: if you remember the tune, and can hum or whistle it, it will definitely help you remember it.
Written by Daniel Jacobson