Ukulele players: how to sing and strum at the same time

l'il cowboys sing and strum ukulele

How to sing and strum at the same time? This is a question I hear A LOT. 

It's not your lack of coordination.

In my ukulele classes I've seen people who literally walk into walls able to get the knack and soon be able to sing and strum (yes, at the same time). 

Prerequisite: it may sound obvious, but you have to be familiar with the song!

Yep, I've had people ask me, “How do I sing and strum at the same time?”  Only to learn they didn't know the song well enough to sing it at all.

Basically your sequence is:

  1. first strum alone, then
  2. sing alone, then
  3. add them together.

If you can't sing it, then you definitely can't sing it and strum it.

I'm sure there's a Latin expression that would sum this up… something something ergo something.

NOTICE: The following is an official red-hot tip. Please don't discount it because it's only a few sentences long.

  • Think of your strumming hand as just emulating your tapping foot. It's just up and down, right? Can you sing the song while tapping your foot?
  • Well, now try singing the song while strumming–do it with muted strings–don't worry about changing chords.
  • Your strumming hand is just keeping the beat. (You can complicate it later)
  • Once you clear that hurdle, take it nice and slow, and try it with actual chord changes.

Familiarity really is key. Make sure you've strummed through several times so the chord changes happen easily before adding singing.

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You may also want to check out my complete Strumming Mastery Workshop, which is a workshop that, um, helps you master, you know, strumming.

It's part of the All-You-Can-Eat Ukulele Buffet — and it's available right over here.

your pal,
Danno

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