Early in my singing career, I used to play no instrument, and the only musical tool I could toy with was my voice, being the main vocals of my band. But one time, my band’s lead guitarist advised me to learn a new instrument to make the rhythm section thicker. So, I decided to learn the guitar to play the rhythm while singing, and I was grateful for that advice.
My effort paid off, and now I can sing while playing the rhythm section. Moreover, I also dabbled with the piano and learned how to play it. So, I can now say that I am a versatile artist. Had I not heeded the advice, I would still belong to the countless singers who could not even play any musical instrument.
Which Instruments Should You Consider Playing as a Singer?
You’ll be missing out, as a singer, on many things if you could not play any musical instrument. So, if you decide to learn which instrument to play, you can always try your hand on the string instruments like the piano or guitar. This is because singing is considered a monophonic process, producing only one note when you sing. It will be useful to accompany your voice with an instrument that you could play to bring in harmony when you sing.
The thing is, you cannot play a blowing instrument while you sing, except during interlude or any part of the song when you are not singing. This leaves you with the option of going for percussion or string instruments.
Percussion instruments, however, limit your singing because they only provide beats. So, you only have one excellent choice—that of the stringed instruments like piano or guitar. Playing instruments in the violin family will also limit your singing, for they are also monophonic. So, your best options when it comes to string instruments are those of guitar and piano.
Benefits Accompanying the Learning of an Instrument as a Singer
We’ve already zeroed in on the best instruments to learn for singers. Now, let’s look at the following benefits concomitant with playing a musical instrument as a singer:
Learning a musical instrument as a singer comes with accompanying benefits. As you become adept in playing your chosen musical instrument like the piano or guitar, you solidify your understanding of the essentials of harmony, melody, and rhythm. Moreover, you become a better singer with a solid understanding of music and its essentials. You will also appreciate your bandmates who are always there to ensure that you are well accompanied when you sing your songs.
Your voice is like the guitar, which you can always tune in to the right note. However, there will be instances when your voice will be out of tune. As you spend much time tinkering with the piano or guitar, you can improve your listening skills or your ear for the right notes and eventually develop a perfect pitch. And with a better ear, you can quickly correct yourself if you are singing out of tune. The more you engage in playing the piano or guitar, the keener your ear will be in pinpointing and figuring out the right note.
When I first learned to play my first three chords in guitar, I created a song with three chords. As I learned many chords, I began to be prolific in writing songs. Of course, there are many popular songs with only three chords. My point is, if you learn how to play the piano or guitar, you put yourself in a better position to compose a song. So, one of the accompanying benefits of learning to play an instrument is the chance of writing your songs.
As you become well-versed in the piano or guitar playing, you familiarize yourself with more complicated and unique chord progressions. The thing is, in my experience, the better your voice is, the greater your chance to create good songs. So, if you complement your good voice with the knowledge of playing a musical instrument, you will indeed find the right sequence of notes for a new song.
The guitar and the piano, of course, have significant differences, harmonically and rhythmically. Yet, both instruments can indeed help you compose songs. With the ability to play one of these two instruments, you put yourself in a better position to write new songs.
Most singers who don’t know how to play any musical instrument often falter when it comes to rhythm, for rhythm is a weak point for most singers. Getting the hang of the rhythm, of course, is learnable. With a solid inner rhythm, a singer can interact well with other musicians.
As a singer, it will be useful to have a strong rhythm sense, i.e., a sense of timing. Having a good sense of rhythm lets you do well with the phrasing and timing of the song.
The better your sense of rhythm, the more commendable your phrasing would be, just like those of Frank Sinatra and Amy Winehouse. Since the guitar and piano are rhythmic instruments, they will surely help you develop that inner sense of rhythm necessary for becoming a great singer.
As mentioned above, singing is monophonic, which means when you sing, you only produce one note at an instance. Yet, if you are a soloist, you need something to accompany your voice. Thus, picking an instrument to play is crucial to your solo performance. Of course, you can always hire another musician to give you accompaniment. Yet, as mentioned above, playing an instrument comes with many benefits. And one such benefit is rendering harmony to your vocal performance.
Should You Choose Piano or Guitar?
Since the piano and guitar are polyphonic, which implies that with these two instruments, you can play more notes at a time, you can always accompany your vocal rendition using the piano or guitar, something that you can’t do when you play woodwind and brass instruments.
1) About Learning Piano To Improve Your Singing Career
The piano is not an easy thing to master. It will usually take years to become an expert pianist. Moreover, it takes constant practice to achieve a higher level of playing skill in piano. As a singer, however, you are not required to become a master of the piano. You only need to learn the piano basics to help you with the warming up of your voice or tuning in your voice.
Besides, knowing how to play the piano adds versatility and flexibility to your performance, for you will no longer be holding the mic most of the time, but instead, you got the option of keeping your hands busy while you sing.
2) About Learning Guitar To Improve Your Singing Career
Learning to play the guitar can be challenging and rewarding. Learning the guitar, of course, requires both hands to be active simultaneously. Moreover, mastering it requires constant practice and learning the basic chords and the more intricate chords.
Once you’ve learned to play it, you can utilize this skill to know the different chord progressions and familiarize yourself with their sounds. Chord progressions are critical to understanding the melody of a song.
Besides, if you can play the guitar and sing simultaneously, you become a multi-skilled singer. You increase your career opportunities exponentially as you become a multi-skilled musician.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As a singer, you become a versatile artist if you know how to play a musical instrument. If you’re desirous of learning how to play an instrument as a singer, you can also check out the following frequently asked questions about singers who play musical instruments:
Can I Still Be Able To Become A Successful Singer Without Knowing How to Play Any Musical Instrument?
Of course, you can aspire to become a great singer without learning how to play a musical instrument. Some divas and soloists, for example, never played any musical instrument. Yet, they were able to carve a niche for themselves in the music industry as singers. Your voice is your greatest musical instrument as a vocalist. So, you are not required to learn any musical instrument aside from your bread and butter which is your voice.
You only need to enhance your voice, develop your listening skill, and employ the necessary proven techniques in singing and you are off to a good start in your singing career.
However, if you want to become a versatile and flexible artist, learning how to play the guitar or piano will greatly help you further your career. As mentioned above, learning how to play musical instruments has its concomitant benefits to any singer. You would surely not want to be denied these benefits by being too lazy in learning to play a musical instrument.
Singers will surely be desirous of learning the basics of piano or guitar if they are serious with their crafts. With the greater number of aspiring singers—who want to make a name for themselves in the music industry—it will be beneficial to develop more musical skills to improve your stock as a singer.
As mentioned above, you exponentially expand your potentials and career opportunities once you become adept at playing a musical instrument. Thus, it is not a waste of time if you explore and tinker with any musical instrument, for soon after, you will be reaping the benefits concomitant with playing a musical instrument.