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Joined: Mar 2015
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Are there vocal only tracks out there to practice comping with? One day I'd like to comp my own singing but I'm not there yet and was looking to practice playing along with vocals. Is this something that others do?

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If you sing just make your own then you get practice on singing and playing. Do it both ways you making a piano track and singing to it. So as a singer you can hear what it's like singing your your playing. Then play of a vocal (with bass or basic changes) and comp to it. You can always just play along with CD's or MP3 and get used to comping in a group setting to a singer. Plus there is a BIG world of singer recording to play to so you don't just get used to a play-along.

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Originally Posted by MrShed
If you sing just make your own then you get practice on singing and playing. Do it both ways you making a piano track and singing to it. So as a singer you can hear what it's like singing your your playing. Then play of a vocal (with bass or basic changes) and comp to it. You can always just play along with CD's or MP3 and get used to comping in a group setting to a singer. Plus there is a BIG world of singer recording to play to so you don't just get used to a play-along.

I was planning to use a sheet and play some simple comping to someone singing and not having the full band play.

Could I use this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzYPo4HzkyQ

Or is it a bad practice to play along with vocals that are not live such that I'll have to make sure to follow correct tempo as signing will not change or be dynamic as it's a recording. I'm not sure how that works in the real world of comping.

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My suggestion: One can't get too simple, when starting out. With guitar or piano, either the singing or the playing must be automatic. The way the brain works, most often the playing.
Find a two or three chords song. 2-5-1 motif, or 1-4-5 or similar. Some song you can easily hear the chord change coming. Start off humming. Lastly, don't learn a new song. Start with a overly simple, possibly a folk song, you've known since forever.

I love singing and playing along to myself. It's all I've been doing just lately.


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Originally Posted by Farmerjones
My suggestion: One can't get too simple, when starting out. With guitar or piano, either the singing or the playing must be automatic. The way the brain works, most often the playing.
Find a two or three chords song. 2-5-1 motif, or 1-4-5 or similar. Some song you can easily hear the chord change coming. Start off humming. Lastly, don't learn a new song. Start with a overly simple, possibly a folk song, you've known since forever.

I love singing and playing along to myself. It's all I've been doing just lately.

Got it. I'll pick a song i know very well rather than a shiny new song. Also are you saying better to play along to my own humming/singing rather than a vocal track?

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Originally Posted by Sebs
Originally Posted by Farmerjones
My suggestion: One can't get too simple, when starting out. With guitar or piano, either the singing or the playing must be automatic. The way the brain works, most often the playing.
Find a two or three chords song. 2-5-1 motif, or 1-4-5 or similar. Some song you can easily hear the chord change coming. Start off humming. Lastly, don't learn a new song. Start with a overly simple, possibly a folk song, you've known since forever.

I love singing and playing along to myself. It's all I've been doing just lately.

Got it. I'll pick a song i know very well rather than a shiny new song. Also are you saying better to play along to my own humming/singing rather than a vocal track?

It seems to me, if singing to your own playing is your ultimate goal, why not at least work towards that? It's a mental challenge. Once it clicks, one can barely remember prior. This is my problem. I'm not a teacher. I jam not so much, presently, but enough to see beginners biting off unessesarily too much. There's hundreds of good 2 and 3 chord songs. Folks listening don't know. Folks listening think you're magic.

https://youtu.be/uEJD7fX7DuI

Listen how amateur I sound. Folks I play for eat it up. 2 fists full of the same simple chord.

Last edited by Farmerjones; 01/18/21 11:55 PM.

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Originally Posted by Farmerjones
Originally Posted by Sebs
Originally Posted by Farmerjones
My suggestion: One can't get too simple, when starting out. With guitar or piano, either the singing or the playing must be automatic. The way the brain works, most often the playing.
Find a two or three chords song. 2-5-1 motif, or 1-4-5 or similar. Some song you can easily hear the chord change coming. Start off humming. Lastly, don't learn a new song. Start with a overly simple, possibly a folk song, you've known since forever.

I love singing and playing along to myself. It's all I've been doing just lately.

Got it. I'll pick a song i know very well rather than a shiny new song. Also are you saying better to play along to my own humming/singing rather than a vocal track?

It seems to me, if singing to your own playing is your ultimate goal, why not at least work towards that? It's a mental challenge. Once it clicks, one can barely remember prior. This is my problem. I'm not a teacher. I jam not so much, presently, but enough to see beginners biting off unessesarily too much. There's hundreds of good 2 and 3 chord songs. Folks listening don't know. Folks listening think you're magic.

https://youtu.be/uEJD7fX7DuI

Listen how amateur I sound. Folks I play for eat it up. 2 fists full of the same simple chord.

Nice work, thanks for sharing!

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Hi Sebs

Bit late replying, but here's my view.

I wouldn't worry about backing tracks. Start singing yourself straightaway. You'll find it helps your comping as you'll (eventually) naturally comp to fit your own vocals.

If you use backing tracks you'll have a near perfect vocalist, which is great to comp to, but could well make it more difficult for you in the long run. Your phrasing, when singing, will be different (from the professional on a backing track) and this could easily then throw your playing off.

As others have said pick a simple song - one chord per bar - and experiment with comping styles. At it's simplest just play a chord per beat, using an octave in LH and a chord in the RH. The staple of many singer songwriters. Then start syncopating it... etc etc.

It's great fun as well.

Cheers


Simon

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Originally Posted by Simon_b
Hi Sebs

Bit late replying, but here's my view.

I wouldn't worry about backing tracks. Start singing yourself straightaway. You'll find it helps your comping as you'll (eventually) naturally comp to fit your own vocals.

If you use backing tracks you'll have a near perfect vocalist, which is great to comp to, but could well make it more difficult for you in the long run. Your phrasing, when singing, will be different (from the professional on a backing track) and this could easily then throw your playing off.

As others have said pick a simple song - one chord per bar - and experiment with comping styles. At it's simplest just play a chord per beat, using an octave in LH and a chord in the RH. The staple of many singer songwriters. Then start syncopating it... etc etc.

It's great fun as well.

Cheers

Excellent! Thanks for the advice. The song I mentioned above is C, G, Am, F. I could do triad over single note root to make it simpler than octaves in LH. I know it won't sound as full and nice as octaves but it would eliminate any LH movement. Then when I get it down I could then add octaves. RH can voice lead and stay in same register with no jumps. This will also be a great exercise to practice from a lead sheet.

I also learned from my teacher that often a simple harmony is better to not distract from the lyrics/signing same with a piano solo too much in LH can distract from RH melody of piano. I used to always have the thinking that those over complex arrangements we're the best and should be m goal. While sometimes they do sound great it's good to know there is no "best" it's what we like and simple can be favored.

I will be giving this a try. All this feedback was really helpful.

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Indeed it's well to know many of the pop songbooks out there are arranged where the piano is playing the melody. Whereas the chord progression (harmony) is much simpler.

Something else: I don't know your vocal range, but my favorite key is D, followed by G, or A. C, lastly. I never knew what it was to sing "on key/pitch" until I started guitar and later piano. If you haven't already, Google "Nashville numbering," Nashville numbering was started by studio musicians so they could quickly transpose. IOW, a 1-4-5 progression cycles the same in any key.


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