Introduction to Singing (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Introduction to Singing

Mark introduces you to the wonderful world of singing.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Guitar Performance seriesLength: 15:12Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:48) Lesson Introduction

Welcome to the Guitar and Vocal Performance Series with Mark Lincoln! In this series, Mark will start you on your way to becoming an accomplished vocalist.

In the first scene of this lesson, Mark introduces himself and the lesson series.

Chapter 2: (05:38) Reason People Don't Sing Most people really can sing but may not because of…

1. Fear-many people are so overwhelmed with fear of crowd rejection, fear of peer rejection, fear of glass-breaking and general chaos, that they won’t try to sing or won’t give the process the necessary energy it takes to do it right.

2. Unfamiliarity- many people are unfamiliar with what good singing actually entails and the necessary steps to becoming a good singer.

3. False Fans- many people have faithful but often dishonest critics who tell them they're amazing singers. Although it’s incredibly nice to hear positive feedback (especially in a cruel world where that’s hard to find sometimes), it can also reinforce bad singing habits!

4. Bad Experience- some people have had bad experiences (maybe as a child) where singing wasn’t allowed in their home, or wasn’t “appreciated” by significant others, and have hence avoided singing since their traumatic experience with it.

What Is Your Experience With Singing?
1. Shower
2. Car
3. Church
4. Accompanying other musicians
5) Singing/Playing Guitar or Piano

In general, singing is a fun, relaxing, and often cleansing experience that can help to calm us during stressful times, or may help to energize us when we need a lift. It can also be an incredibly powerful way to express feelings (like anger, sadness) that may not be as easily or readily accepted in everyday society. Despite how simple becoming a proficient singer may seem, there are some important steps to take in order to avoid hurting your voice, avoid scaring away your friends and your family, and to become the best singer you can be. So what’s the first step?

Chapter 3: (04:06) Note Identification Exercise

I’m assuming that most of you have an instrument - at least a guitar that you have access to. If not, you can always buy an inexpensive whistle or tuning fork that can help with this process. If you do have a guitar, hopefully you also have a tuner so you can make sure that the note you are going to play is in tune. Pluck a note on the guitar, one that is going to be comfortable for you to hum. Try to sing the note that you played. Keep in mind that you always want to begin singing quietly and slowly so that you warm up your vocal chords gradually. Next, you should play two different notes and hum them. Pay close attention to whether you can tell the difference between the two. This may sound silly, but people suffering from tone deafness (congenital amusia) may not be able to tell the difference between two tones. You may want to enlist a friend or loved one (hopefully an honest one) to tell you if you are in fact singing the note(s) that you played on the guitar. There are other tests for tone deafness available online if you are interested in thoroughly testing yourself.

Chapter 4: (02:27) Tone Matching Exercise In scene 4, Mark demonstrates the tone matching exercise.
Chapter 5: (01:18) Setting Goals Whether your experience with singing up to this point has been singing along with the radio, or you have been singing and accompanying your own playing for years, it’s always helpful to set achievable goals for yourself. If you plan to sing the national anthem at the spring opener this season but have never sung in front of anybody but yourself in the mirror, you may need to realistically re-evaluate your goals. I’m not suggesting that you sell yourself short and avoid the experience of singing because it’s difficult. I’m just recommending that you set attainable goals that can be modified as you learn and get better. Remember: nothing good comes easy.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

fredb1949fredb1949 replied on January 15th, 2016

I want to sing a couple songs to my wife on our 50th wedding anniversary while accompanying myself on my guitar. This will take place in front of my whole family and friends. I have 5 years to get ready. In the meantime, I joined a local folksinging club that host a song circle once a month. There is usually the opportunity to play/sing two or three songs myself and play/sing along with others for a couple hours. It's a start toward playing/singing in front of a group. I'm hoping this series of lessons will help me be the best I can be and gain confidence. Wish me luck.

jrwinter34jrwinter34 replied on April 15th, 2015

I want to be able to go down to the park and play and sing with my guitar. I am hoping this will help me get there.

ytbdejytbdej replied on January 2nd, 2014

Thanks Mark. So many times people keep us from doing what we love. When I was a pre-teen I was ask to sing with a choir at church, 10 min. later I was told the choir would be better without me! Really they did this to a child! It took over 12 years before I would even sing so that anyone could hear, not even in the shower. Glad to say today that I have overcome this person and today I am choir director at church. I also sing solo and with my wife. I am excited to learn guitar and to sing so I no longer need to sing with CDs.

halgeirsvagehalgeirsvage replied on November 27th, 2013

Cool lesson, I'll have to follow this series. Great job and initiative Mark. When I went to school I was told by my music teacher to "move your lips and don't sing" when ever the class was going to perform. at the time I figured it was one less thing... looking back, I find it rather funny, even though I would love to be able to sing when I'm playing my guitar.

Julius KJulius K replied on June 11th, 2013

Hi Mark i don't know if you read these much any more as i haven't seen any replies for you since 2011. Any a very good lesson to get started on. I play a bit of guitar and go to local Jams and try to play and sing but the nerves and the fear grabs hold every time. When i was growing up my mom would always yell quite that cattle walling, so i stop trying to sing. I am now 56 and really want to be able to sing and play. How can we detirmine what key would best suit our voices? And how can we stop the squicks in the voice? Ed

Julius KJulius K replied on May 11th, 2013

Thanks for the lesson Mark I don't sing but want too very much i keep trying hiddin in my music (getaway)room and i feel i fail poorly. But this lesson has helped me in understanding where to start.

civisleecivislee replied on March 10th, 2013

I'm excited with this lesson set. Thanks, Mark and Jam Play. I'm looking for coaching in how to sing harmony. I'm part of a folk rock and acoustic blues duo (guitar, bass voice, banjo, and baritone). Harmony's a challenge for us. Need help --- Lee, Sun Valley, Nv

BuffyLOLBuffyLOL replied on May 25th, 2012

Cool lesson!!!

sfmonkeycsfmonkeyc replied on November 24th, 2011

Great comments about the value of singing. I'm just learning this. According to Oliver Sacks MD, the famous neurologist, there is much research to support the medicinal value of music. (See his book "Musicophilia") People with traumatic injuries recover much more quickly when music is involved. Singing is currently being used to help Rep. Gabby Giffords recover her language skills after her traumatic brain injury. And your comments on emotions like anger in song are so true. This really encourages me to work more on vocals no matter how uncomfortable I am with it. Thanks, Mark.

jknasinskijknasinski replied on August 25th, 2011

Love this series. When I was in about 8th grade, a music teacher told me that I "could NOT sing at all!". I never sang after that. Now I'd love to be able to sing along with my guitar playing... Thx.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on August 31st, 2011

Yes it's terrible when trusted teachers tell us we cant do something...I'm glad you are telling yourself otherwise now! Good luck, Mark

gharringtongharrington replied on May 10th, 2011

Mark Your lesson series is intriguing. I like to sing American Songbook standards and know scores of them. I learned to read notation and fingerstyle well enough to do easy classical pieces then discovered who has 100s of my favorite songs from the 1930/1940's. I started to learn many new chords from that web page and have been acccompanying myself with melodic strumming. is strickly chords - no notation - but it is very satisfying to practice with that material. I can switch to my songbooks and play the melodies fingerstyle but it is stilted and simplistic. My goal is to be able to sing and play by combining melodic stumming, fingerstyle melody but enhance it with the fillers and appeggios that are characteristic of 'cocktail piano' Is there a genre for cocktail guitar? I would like to play hospices or my own nursing home - I'm a late starter! Thank you

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on May 17th, 2011

Hey Gharrington nice to hear from you! I really don't know if there is a specific genre for what you're interested in but it sounds like you've got a pretty good bead on what you want to do with your playing. If you have time, check out my live chats as we cover some of the areas that you're looking at including arpeggios and using licks and runs to complete chord passages. Hope to see you soon! Mark

guitardriverguitardriver replied on March 13th, 2011

do I need one of those hats?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on March 15th, 2011

Yes, you definitely need a beanie to sing properly!

apodestaapodesta replied on December 24th, 2010

I've just started to use jamplay. I would love to write my own songs and sing them on the guitar. I'm going through your phase 1 guitar lessons and noticed these and your songwriting lessons too. It will be great to go through the three sets of lessons with the same tutor. Thanks for your hard work, to have private lessons for all of these things would cost thousands of £'s. Cheers mate!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 31st, 2010

Hey Anthony! It's been great getting to know you and have you as a member on the site! I'm glad you're enjoying the lessons and the live chats as well, see you in the New Year! Mark

martin.baylymartin.bayly replied on September 10th, 2009

Hey Mark - great stuff - had signed myself up for group singing lessons for $189 but luckily found your great lesson set here on JamPlay (where have you been all my life). One minor quibble - is your guitar tuned down a half step in Ch4? - no biggie if it is - but something to watch out for in future to avoid confusion.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 14th, 2009

Hey MD thanks for writing in! Yes I think I am tuned down in that lesson and thanks for letting me know. Most of the lessons are in standard tuning but there is an occasional one that has half-step down tuning. Thanks for the heads-up though I appreciate it! Mark

guitar_daveguitar_dave replied on December 1st, 2009

Hey Mark just wanted to say thanks for letting me know about this section of lessons and that I could take it in conjuction with your phase 1 lesson set. Can't wait to get deeper into the lessons! Thanks again Mark!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on December 2nd, 2009

Hey Dave no worries my friend! Just glad I can help you to get your singing/playing skills movin' along! Peace!!Mark

elcooperinoelcooperino replied on July 5th, 2009

for anyone who wants it this a link to website that gives a free online test to screen for tone deafness its simple to use they play two pieces of music one after the other and have to decide if there the same or diffrent this is repeated a 36 times and then at the end you get your percentage.

jerryschtjerryscht replied on June 28th, 2009

I learned some songs on guitar, but when i try to play and sing at the same time, I can't strum the song, I compleatly lose the strum pattern. How can i sing and play at the same time????????????

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 29th, 2009

Hey Jerry thanks for writing in! Many people have the same problem as you where once they start to sing the strum falls apart. One of the ways to improve this facet of your playing is by starting very simply, even perhaps humming while you strum. Start simple and then work your way into singing notes. Have you been checking out my voice and performance series? There's some helpful stuff in there as well. Let me know how you're progressing! Mark

stratocristerstratocrister replied on June 28th, 2009

Are you able to play guitar if you're tone deaf?

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on June 28th, 2009

Hey Strat! I think "true" tone deafness is rare and would probably make learning more difficult but....there are people who are completely deaf who have mastered instruments so I would say that anything is possible even with tone deafness. Thanx for writing! Mark

jnc51jnc51 replied on May 10th, 2009

I'm going to take the leap and try to sing and play at the same time. Presently I play my music abd record it. Then I sing over it. My voice isn't bad; it's actually pretty good. I just can't do both at the same time; I either get lost in the playing or lose words of what I'm singing. i'm going to have to practice enough that they become more automatic. I hope the series will improve my learning curve.

Donald_RoseDonald_Rose replied on May 8th, 2009

I have been playing guitar and singing in church for a couple years now. I play and sing at the same time. I don't even think about if I am singing in tune and just go with it. I believe this lesson set is going to give me a lot to work on and think about. I am glad to see this series, THANKS.

methodthreemethodthree replied on April 19th, 2009

Is it possible to post your singing series in a podcast? I have an hour drive to work every day and I like to hone my singing skills in the car. If I could download each lessons to my Ipod that would be great.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on April 21st, 2009

Hi Method thanks for the interest in my performance series. I don't know the answer to that question though and will have to research it. I'll get back to you!

stikmanstikman replied on February 27th, 2009

I would like to be able to sing and play guitar. My goal is to learn a few cover songs and go to an open mic. I can play well enough to do that and I think sing wll enough. But I am really afraid of doing it. It seems silly because an open mic is no big deal.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on March 1st, 2009

Hey Stik how are you? I know it can be a daunting and sometimes frightening task to get up and perform in front of people (even an open mic) but think about how small risks often equate with small rewards or even more than small rewards. Open mics are just a way to get your feet wet and everybody, me included, gets nervous about stepping up in front of a crowd of people so relax and enjoy it! Also, sorry if some of the terminology is a little unclear Ill try to clarify better in the future. Thanks for the input! Mark

currannicurranni replied on February 16th, 2009

wow i just found this section for the 1st time

mav67mav67 replied on April 2nd, 2008

I second what Greeno said. It is good to see this lesson set going up. although I am no real singer I have often thought what is the point of learning to perform if you have no intention of performing. I can hold a tune vocally, with a bit of effort, but playing at the same time, now that is a mystery I would love to have unlocked.

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on May 18th, 2008

Hey Mav, hopefully I can help to unlock some of those mysteries for you in my performance series. Thanks for writing in! Mark Lincoln

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on May 18th, 2008

Hey Greeno, I hope the lesson set will help you to become a better singer/performer! Thanks for writing in, Mark Lincoln

phxsoonerphxsooner replied on May 13th, 2008

Great lesson. This is what makes JamPlay so great.

mingofallsmingofalls replied on May 8th, 2008

Hey Mark, what you're offering on this site will be in big demand as new members come along. I just wanted to say, even the late Jim Morrison with The Doors didn't think he could sing when he first started out, he was like Dylan, but Morrison has one of the best voices in rock history, in my opinion. This is an area I've really wanted to learn more about, and I appreciate your lessons tremendously! Thanks, Crisco

kingnothingkingnothing replied on May 3rd, 2008

Kudos for this lesson set! I'm eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series and any tips you can provide us. Thanks Mark!

spreesdadspreesdad replied on April 3rd, 2008

Keep it coming. Good Stuff.

rblgeniusrblgenius replied on April 2nd, 2008


greenogreeno replied on April 2nd, 2008

Glad to see this lesson set. I have been singing various types of music (church, rock groups, barbershop, etc) as well as playing guitar most of my life. Doing both is sometimes a daunting task. I hope this set will provide the instruction needed to explore the relationship of the two for the average recreational singer/player. Keep up the good work.

Guitar Performance

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Performing live or in a studio situation is a goal of many aspiring guitarists. Vocal training and the ability to sing and play at the same time are skills that will help in this endeavor.

Lesson 1

Introduction to Singing

Mark introduces you to the wonderful world of singing.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Vocal Exercises

Mark Lincoln guides you through stretches and vocal exercises to warm up the voice.

Length: 23:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Vocal Vibrato

Mark continues to discuss vocal warm-ups and exercises. Then, he moves on to explain vibrato.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Warming the Breath

Mark covers some singing terms and teaches an exercise that is used to "warm the breath."

Length: 19:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Singing and Guitar

Mark Lincoln talks more about vocal exercise and warm-up. Then, he moves on to discuss singing and playing at the same time.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Singing Exercises

Mark Lincoln provides more singing exercises to practice while playing your guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Singing and Playing Revisited

Mark returns to singing and playing. Mark teaches proper form while singing and playing, cognitive exercises, and chord progression basics.

Length: 17:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Length: 23:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Rhythm in Music

Mark Lincoln explains how rhythm is used in music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Technique Applied

Mark Lincoln applies singing and playing techniques to the Doors song "Riders on the Storm."

Length: 17:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Palm Muting and Separation

In lesson 11 of his performance series, Mark discusses the palm muting technique and how to separate your singing from your playing.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Picking Vs. Strumming

Mark discusses how alternating between arpeggios and strummed chords can add contrast and flair to your music.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Silence Is Golden

Mark discusses silence in music and how it can transform a piece. Additionally, he explains how to use silence effectively in your playing.

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Warm-up and Practice

In this lesson, Mark Lincoln talks more about warming up your voice and walks you through a few exercises that will aid this process.

Length: 16:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Preparations for Playing Live

Mark provides a lecture on items you should do and think about to become a proficient live player.

Length: 20:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Voice and Guitar

In this lesson, Mark delves into the concept of combining both your voice and guitar into one neat little package you can deliver to your listener.

Length: 21:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

A Day in the Life

Mark Brings us Lesson 17 today to explain the preparation that goes into a performance. Mark tracks back up to 36 hours in advance, and shows us some routines to prepare for a great show.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Dynamics of a Song

In this lesson, Mark teaches all of the diverse parts to a song with regards to dynamics.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Proper Breathing Routines

In this episode, Mark talks about proper breathing techniques and routines. He gives us eight points to work off of when singing and playing together.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Play Along with Mark Lincoln

Mark Lincoln brings us a great play along opportunity. Mark provides lyrics as well as the chord progression for this play along. He also breaks down key elements such as palm muting, hammer-ons, bending,...

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Palm Muting Technique

Lesson 21 is a repeat of lesson 20's content only with a whole new set of chords and techniques. The"chords de jour" will be a little simpler than lesson 20's and will also include a much more in depth...

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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