Podcast: Listen Here
Why You Should Learn To Play and Sing at the Same Time
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about how to learn to play your instrument and sing at the same time.
Some people are “just” instrumentalists and some people are strictly vocalists. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to open up opportunities to lead worship, AND be a part of many worship bands, you should learn to play an instrument and sing at the same time.
Your opportunities to participate on worship teams is almost neverending:
- You can fill in as a background vocalist
- You can be an instrumentalist who can also add vocals
- You can lead worship by yourself even if you have no band
In episode 2 I talk about what instrument you should play as an aspiring worship leader. Check out that episode for more on that. But assuming you’ve chosen an instrument you can play and sing with at the same time, let’s dive into 5 tips on how you can learn to be your own instrumentalist as a worship leader.
1. Choose a couple of the easiest songs you know
When you’re learning a new task, you want to make it as easy as possible to start.
Choose songs with only 3 or 4 chords and really slow chord changes. Some suggestions are:
Nothing I Hold Onto by United Pursuit
Build My Life by Housefires
How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin
Make sure these are familiar songs to you. If they aren’t, find ones that you know already. This will make playing them much easier than if you have to learn the song and try to sing/play simultaneously.
2. Play your instrument in your most familiar key
Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. You can learn to play harder keys later after you’re proficient at singing and playing.
Don’t be afraid to capo your guitar. If you are most familiar with the key of G, but you normally sing a song in A, use a capo on the 2nd fret and use the easier G-based fingering.
If you play piano, play in C or the key that you’re most comfortable with while learning to sing while you play.
3. play the song in a singable key
Usually, trying to play a song in the original key is unwise. Worship artists usually have huge ranges and us mere mortals shouldn’t try to match that — especially when we’re learning to play and sing at the same time.
Change the key so it’s comfortable for you. Again, use a capo to get the song in a comfortable range if helps.
This isn’t a time to stretch your voice. Make it as easy as possible.
If you want to learn everything you need to know about starting to lead worship, check out my book, “How to Lead Worship in 14 Days.” It will guide you through the process of working up to your first worship session even if you’ve never led worship before. And the best part is that it’s going to take you 14 days to do it.
Or, if you lead a worship ministry and you’re looking for a how-to guide to hand every new worship leader, this book is for you.
4. Select a small part of a song to work on
If you’re brand new to playing and singing, choose a verse or chorus to learn first. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to learn the whole song right away.
Start with playing the chords of that section over and over on your instrument. It should become automatic.
Then, add singing over that same part. You should be so comfortable playing that section now, that adding your voice is not that hard.
Once you have a verse or chorus perfected, choose another part of the song to work on.
Keep adding song parts together until you have an entire song, and eventually, 5 or 10 songs you can play and sing simultaneously.
The more songs you learn, the easier it will get to learn new ones.
5. Set aside 30 minutes a day to practice
There’s no substitute for regular, intentional practice. Putting it in your daily schedule will help you advance faster than you thought possible.
Choose a place where no one will hear you. You don’t want to think about being self-conscious when you’re trying to learn.
Part of learning is sounding bad and messing up. But these times are necessary to eventually get up in front of people and play your instrument while singing.
The Bottom Line
We looked at how you can lead worship even if you don’t play an instrument.
- Choose really easy songs
- Play in a familiar key
- The key you choose should also be easy to sing
- Start with a single line of the song and slowly add parts
- Set aside at least 30 minutes per day to practice playing and singing simultaneously
Learn To Lead Worship Better
Are you looking for a resource that will help you get started leading worship or improving your skills?
Check out the book “Learn To Lead Worship In 14 Days.” It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day handbook that can launch your worship leading journey in as little as two weeks.