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Advice for improving hand and voice independence

Nik Kovacevic

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Happy weekend everybody!


I recently started giging a bit more than i used to and whilst playing one keyboard im fine but when i throw in some bv's or a synth line on another keyboard i get lost and struggle to do one of those right.

People have told me this comes with practise and experience but what are your takes on this?



Troubled Muso!

-Music Is The Soul Of Life-
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Practice and experience, I think that about sums it up!


I find I can't do both (sing and play) unless I have both nailed independently. If I'm struggling with the phrasing or trying to remember words I'll muff the keys, and if I'm thinking about fingering or hitting patch buttons, the vox will suffer.


It'll be nice if someone chimes in with some helpful tips, but frankly, I think you simply need to practice each independently AND all together until you can integrate them. If multi-keys is the issue, minimize that to begin with and add complexity as your skill builds.


And remember that a simple part played well beats the crap out of a complex one played poorly. For performances, forego everything but the crucial parts until you can successfully manage the other stuff. Steadily build on success.

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A lot of the kind of stuff I do is really easy synth parts, but a whole bunch of them, that don't necessarily seem to go well together, all whilst singing - so I can relate.


Basically you need to know each part like the back of your hand, be able to play without even thinking about it. If you can carry on a conversation with somebody while playing the part (not looking at your hands), then you probably know it well enough.


Next, for the ones that are hard to do together - you really need to almost map it out in your head. Go through very slowly and make sure you know exactly how they land together, note for note. Once you got that down, speed it up, and practice them together over and over and over again until you're comfortable.


The parts I struggle with the most are spoken word type lyrics while playing, because they fall rather loosely with the beat, but need to still fit. In those cases, I usually have focus on the music in my head in order to keep time, which means knowing the words well enough that you could say them in your sleep.



Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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When I am lucky, the song has certain "anchor notes" where I am supposed to sing a certain note at the exact same time I hit a note on the keys. In these cases, I focus on these anchor notes and build out from there (before and after).


In some other cases, the rhythms of the vocal and key notes will, when taken together, form a combination that I can approach as a single pattern.


The more time you spend on this the better you get. Great advice above.

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