Mark Howe | Live Music in Santa Cruz

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My Blues Life

12/12/11 Learn to sing at the same time you learn guitar:

I've been playing guitar a long time and I think singing is a really important skill for guitar players to develop. You don't have to be a great singer but with practice and a decent ear -which you kinda need anyway to be a guitar player :)- you can probably learn to sing fairly well. There are some things singing is really useful for.

The first is it'll really improve your ear. You'll get much better at hearing the relationship to notes which will really help your ability to figure out songs and licks on the guitar. It also helps your ability to remember melodies, and licks are just melodies after all. Don't underestimate how much this can help. An added benefit is it'll also give you a better understanding of phrasing. Really good players always have space (breath) in their playing, and singing is a great way to learn that.

The second great thing about singing is that you become way less dependent on other musicians to get gigs. For years I relied on finding singers to front bands and was totally dependent on them. Sometimes you get lucky and find a great singer who is reliable and easy to work with and will work on long term project with you. But more often bands break up, people leave to do other stuff, or someone isn't reliable or whatever. The point is that if you sing and play you now have one less person to rely on. In fact you can get solo gigs if you want but if you are more like me and just love to play in bands you can get by with only a bass and drums. You are more employable too if you want to be a sideman because singing is a commodity that everyone wants.


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Mark Howe is a blues rock artist living and playing in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. Visit us here to check out his up coming gigs, listen to Marks original music and all the latest news. Please contact us for more information or to book his band Streuth for your party or club.

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