As I stated before I don’t think I’m a very good singer. If I try my best I can produce something ear pleasing, depending on the key or the song. But it’s not something I feel confident about.
Just consider yourself lucky that you won’t ever hear me sing in public, except for the occasional drunk rendition of ‘Wonderwall’ at a party. And I sincerely apologize for that.
Even though I can’t really sing. I do think singing is a very important part of being a musician. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer or not. The only thing that matters is that you can keep a tone and it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit off key.
Nobody will ever have to hear you sing, but it’s a very powerful tool to improve on your playing and improvisational skill.
Singing will help you progress on different levels. The basic one is how to memorize a song. Learn the words and the melody of a song by heart and you will never get lost. When you are learning a song just sing a long with it, or hum the melody. You can do that out loud when you’re alone in your room or somewhere else private. When you’re at rehearsal just sing the song in your head so nobody will have to hear you.
In the end you will find you will memorize songs much easier than learning all the chords and the order of the chords by heart. Like: ‘the verse is C-Am-F-G two times and than the chorus is C-F-G four times’.
It’s a lot harder to memorize information this way, at least for me it is. You still need to learn the chords to the song, but you don’t have to think about how many rounds a verse is and how many verses before the first chorus because you already know the song.
The next part that involves singing is how to learn to play a solo. Think about it, every solo or melody you can play on your instrument you can sing. Try it and you’ll see I’m right.
So you can turn that around and say that every solo or melody you can sing, you can play on your instrument.
When you want to learn a solo, whether it’s by ear or you already have the sheet music or tablature. Learn to sing the solo first. It may sound weird in the beginning, but it gives you a better idea of how it will sound. You will find it’s just like learning to sing the melody to a song. Once you have it memorized this way, it’s much easier to play it because you will think of it as a complete melody and not just groups of different notes. Of course solo’s can be much harder than your average melody, especially the fast parts. Try to slow them down in your head, so you can sing them. If it’s to fast for you to hear the separate notes slow the recording down. Windows Media Player can play mp3’s at half speed which makes life a lot easier.
The last thing where singing comes in handy is improvisation. Try to sing the solo you want to play first and than try to play it. It’s similar to learning a solo as previous described, but now you have to come up with your own solo instead of learning someone else’s. You can practice this by looping the chord sequence you have to improvise on. Try to think of the solo you want to play and try to sing it. Once you have a clear idea in your head, try to play it. You can start with a short phrase of a couple of notes and than make a new one or expand on the one you started with. It will be hard in the beginning, but just keep practicing. It will definitely improve your improvisational skill.
As an example a clip of one of my favorite guitar players Anton Goudsmit (New Cool Collective, Ploctones). He actually sings everything he plays and he does that in a very expressive way.