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Piano and singing
#3027022 09/20/20 05:17 AM
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Do pianist who also sing practice both instruments in the same practice session?
I find that when I practice scales I practice on both piano, accordion and singing in the same practice session.
Not many people talk about this subject. Teachers avoid this subject or forget about it.
Some people go all in on one instrument but I go all in on one aspect of music, I guess.

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Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027031 09/20/20 05:53 AM
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No end of advice - at least in the jazz pedagogy world - is to sing (however badly) what you want to play.
I'd envy someone who's combining singing and playing (voicing what they're playing, rather than comping) because they can sing!
Though, no doubt, there are instrument specific things that are better done in focused isolation.

Last edited by mizmar; 09/20/20 05:55 AM.
Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027054 09/20/20 07:02 AM
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singing when playing?

Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027056 09/20/20 07:03 AM
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If you have the time and desire to move the 3 skills along together, than how your approaching it makes sense to me for now. It might become a little much down the road. At some point you may want to combine your singing with your piano accompaniment. If so, the finished product gets practiced together, but are different parts.

Piano and singing at the same time is a skill in itself that is a new entity when they are combined. If this were the goal, you would probably want a Pop Teacher for voice and piano accompaniment. Most Teacher's are specialists as they should be.

When I played two instruments and also sang in choir, they were all very separate to me. The material was different and my skill level varied, so it never crossed my mind to do this as they were always in different stages of development. Now, I occasionally try singing with piano and practice those together.

To me, depends what you want in the long run.

Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027097 09/20/20 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Manne janne
singing when playing?
This is nothing special: any classical pianist, working on Bach, learns to play one voice and sing another; also the drummer- vocalist, singing and simultaneously playing with all limbs. A question of working on coordination.

Re: Piano and singing
Greener #3027108 09/20/20 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Greener
If you have the time and desire to move the 3 skills along together, than how your approaching it makes sense to me for now. It might become a little much down the road. At some point you may want to combine your singing with your piano accompaniment. If so, the finished product gets practiced together, but are different parts.

Piano and singing at the same time is a skill in itself that is a new entity when they are combined. If this were the goal, you would probably want a Pop Teacher for voice and piano accompaniment. Most Teacher's are specialists as they should be.

When I played two instruments and also sang in choir, they were all very separate to me. The material was different and my skill level varied, so it never crossed my mind to do this as they were always in different stages of development. Now, I occasionally try singing with piano and practice those together.

To me, depends what you want in the long run.
Why is it hard to play piano and sing at the same time? If you have a good posture when playing the piano I cannot see any issues with the singing. It is probably easier to stand and sing but I haven't experienced any difficulties sitting and singing. Please explain why you see a big problem.

Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027130 09/20/20 10:24 AM
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For one thing, if you learn music for solo piano and then decide you want to sing, your piano part needs to change as it will conflict with the vocal part. You don't want to be both on the melody at the same time. It's very amateurish.

It's more then that though and nothing to do with standing or sitting. It is about coordination and rhythm. Karen Carpenter had no issue belting it out while playing drums. Or, Elton John with piano. But try it and you'll see. It didn't just all fall naturally in to place for me. Maybe it will for you. It's a great talent to have if you can develop it well.

Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027140 09/20/20 10:57 AM
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If you are playing and simultaneously single simple music, such as hymns, not so tough. The accompaniment is easy to learn, and often includes the melody as part of the accompaniment. As you venture into more difficult music, the vocal and accompaniment may be completely different, may have different rhythms, and may be at different times. Then, it becomes more different to do this level of multi-tasking and do all of it well.


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Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027171 09/20/20 12:20 PM
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I can sing (badly) and play at the same time. I think this is down to the fact that I’ve learnt to play with a metronome which I found so difficult that singing was a breeze.

Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027214 09/20/20 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Manne janne
Why is it hard to play piano and sing at the same time? Please explain why you see a big problem.
There's nothing to explain, and it is not hard.

To prove it, I just played and sang this famous song whistle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4Zb8a5kSSs

Just do it....... smirk


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027236 09/20/20 03:53 PM
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The recording is nicely done, but is two musicians ...

Barbara Bonney--Soprano
Antonio Pappano--Piano

Do you have a one musician version? It would be tough to do as well I think.

Re: Piano and singing
Greener #3027243 09/20/20 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Greener
The recording is nicely done, but is two musicians ...

Barbara Bonney--Soprano
Antonio Pappano--Piano

Do you have a one musician version? It would be tough to do as well I think.
Not for classical songs, but Pappano (who's better known as an opera conductor - he's the music director of the Royal Opera House - than pianist/accompanist) did an opera program for the BBC in which he accompanied himself singing several operatic arias (in Italian, of course), as well as accompanying professional singers.......though he wouldn't call himself a singer.

Basically, anyone who can sing reasonably in tune and play the piano can do it, with a bit of practice. Many classical singers who can play the piano accompany themselves in the privacy of their homes when practicing, but they wouldn't do it in the concert hall.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027250 09/20/20 04:25 PM
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Well, I know it can be done and some do it exceedingly well. I was just suggesting that it is not as easy as simply putting the two components together. With anything you can improve with practice. Perhaps I haven't done enough with it to spin off Piano / Vocal arrangements as easily as solo piano. But, good on those that can. Add a good voice, looks and youth and you'd be off to the races. I fail miserably on all of these counts too ...

Re: Piano and singing
bennevis #3027251 09/20/20 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Greener
The recording is nicely done, but is two musicians ...

Barbara Bonney--Soprano
Antonio Pappano--Piano

Do you have a one musician version? It would be tough to do as well I think.
Not for classical songs, but Pappano (who's better known as an opera conductor - he's the music director of the Royal Opera House - than pianist/accompanist) did an opera program for the BBC in which he accompanied himself singing several operatic arias (in Italian, of course), as well as accompanying professional singers.......though he wouldn't call himself a singer.

Basically, anyone who can sing reasonably in tune and play the piano can do it, with a bit of practice. Many classical singers who can play the piano accompany themselves in the privacy of their homes when practicing, but they wouldn't do it in the concert hall.


I think your example is of ‘anyone who can play and sing at an advanced level, and who has been developing the skill of accompanying himself’. Yes, classical singers certainly will do this at home but they are highly trained and experienced.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027253 09/20/20 04:32 PM
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Already said ... duplicate post removed.

Last edited by Greener; 09/20/20 04:41 PM.
Re: Piano and singing
dogperson #3027255 09/20/20 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
I think your example is of ‘anyone who can play and sing at an advanced level, and who has been developing the skill of accompanying himself’. Yes, classical singers certainly will do this at home but they are highly trained and experienced.
Well, when I joined the school choir as a kid, I started accompanying myself singing, to improve my voice and my ability to sight-sing while following other voices in vocal scores (as that was what we needed to do in the choir), as well as to learn my part. I wasn't the only one doing that among the piano students (who made up about half of the choir). Piano students were also in high demand by the choristers whose instruments weren't the piano, so we also joined in the singing while accompanying. The more, the merrier wink .

BTW, none of us had voice lessons.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027268 09/20/20 06:01 PM
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Since the lockdown, many classical musicians have been contributing 'home sessions' to the BBC's classical radio station for broadcast (when they were being interviewed live on air by phone, or Zoom), made using their iPhones or whatever they owned as recording devices, and often with somewhat out-of-tune pianos.......(so, count yourself lucky if you have a digital wink ). Many of them let their hair down somewhat by playing/singing music one wouldn't normally associate with them, including their own compositions or arrangements.

I remember hearing a wonderful soprano contributing one such home session, accompanying herself on her piano. (Prior to this, I didn't know she played the piano too.) Here it is, starting at 1.33:00 (where she starts by explaining how she made the recording):

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000m071

This is how you would normally see and hear her, under more normal, happier (but sadder in this particular lament whistle ) circumstances:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeB4cpRq16M


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027307 09/20/20 08:31 PM
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I did this all the time back in my school-teaching days. The school district paid the accompanist to come three days a week, so I had to fill in double duty on the other days.

I prefer not to be singing when I play piano, because it is very distracting. And when I sing I can't really pay close attention to what the choir is doing. There is only so much potential for one person to multi-task and divide attention multiple ways. Something has to give.

Also, I have never had any prior training in singing and playing piano at the same time. It's extremely useless in classical music. Some pop musicians do it (Elton John, Alicia Keys) and I sincerely doubt they got any training doing both at the same time. I don't know. Maybe out there some pop piano teachers do teach this skill, but I am pretty sure it doesn't exist in classical music.


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Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027319 09/20/20 09:52 PM
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I mostly learn classical pieces rather than songs, but if I’m learning to play a song I find singing and humming it helps me learn it easier. So it’s a small step from there to performing it properly once the piano part is up to speed. I find it pretty easy, actually. (Not that my voice is anything special).

But I spent years and years as a kid singing in church choirs, quite complex choral music to a good standard, which must have helped.


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Re: Piano and singing
Manne janne #3027752 09/22/20 06:48 AM
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Practice performing is one thing - and practice a single instrument is another, IMO.

Our brain is not good at focusing on more than one thing at a time - and evaluate how you did.
To improve maybe one instrument at a time is quicker way to progress.

That is why athlets do gym to get stronger, running to get better oxygen uptake from lungs - apart from the sport itself.
So their sport benefit from each - which would take humongous amount of work doing the sport alone with same result.

So practicing performing improve performing the most - how timing between vocals and playing is done etc. But the technical skill in piano and singing is there before.

But one exercise is good - to sing the note you are aiming to hit - so you get intervals synced between your head and hands. I think it's called scatting when you do that while performing.


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