‘Should singers learn to play another instrument?’ – notice that this question says ‘another’ instrument. It is important to keep in mind that the voice is an instrument. It is actually our first instrument, we always carry it with us and it is the most individual and unique instrument.
But what about playing an additional instrument, is that important for vocalists? Will it improve their singing? Will it have an effect on their musicality?
So, should they or should they not?
Strictly speaking, it is not necessary to play another instrument in order to become an accomplished singer. It won’t increase your vocal range or improve your resonance. However, learning an instrument (especially a harmony instrument such as the guitar or piano) won’t hurt!
Quite the opposite, the benefits are huge.
Here are a few benefits of learning to play another instrument:
- Accompany yourself
- Write songs
- ‘Speak one language’ with your band mates
- Collaborate more with your band
- Have more fun while playing/practicing and therefore practice more
- Practice in key, and in tune
How about Music Theory?
Even music theory is not necessary.
Music theory helps the singer communicate with other musicians (what key to pick, how many semitones to transpose, etc…) but it won’t make you a better performer or singer.
But yet, having some basic knowledge of music theory will make your collaborations with other musicians much easier (e.g. knowing what intervals are, what flats and sharps mean, how to distinguish a minor from a major chord etc).
I think everyone who wants to, can be an artist. We are all creative, some more, some less, some of us use outlets for their creativity, others keep it within themselves, some of us tell themselves that they are not creative, but in fact, everyone is creative to a certain degree.
To artists, I usually recommend learning to play guitar or piano and especially to learn how to play chords. Chords will enable you to write songs, as well as accompany yourself when you sing.
You might not be able to sing and play simultaneously at the beginning, but it won’t take you very long either.
So definitely, I encourage everyone to learn an instrument, if not to accompany yourself, then just for fun 🙂
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