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The Case of the Singer Who Needed to Go Flamenco

Rachel Bennett
Adam was struggling to focus on his singing performance whilst playing guitar.

Adam is a strong singer with an expressive voice and is also a very good guitarist – he just couldn’t bring the two together.

When he sang and played on stage, he lost contact with the audience as he focused on the hand playing the chords, and there was no freedom or feeling in his expression.

This is a common problem – singer guitarists often have to look at chord changes they are making or perhaps play a part that is complex in relation to the song phrasing.

Looking down can also cause postural issues, and this in turn can lead to strain and tension in the throat.

Adam needed to make everything unite.

We watched lots of footage of Flamenco players and older Blues singers – the masters of the ‘song-guitar’ unit.

Flameco and blues singers work closely with their guitar, moving it with freedom and connecting this movement to the dynamics of their voices.

Just watch Flamenco Arabe (go to 1.30 to see the guitarist singing):

or BB King:

Adam agreed that most of them were ‘embracing’ their guitars and moving with them as opposed to having them ‘hanging low on the body’.

This embracing means that the arms and torso are involved as much in the dynamics of the guitar as they are the voice and this can create a wonderful muscle support mechanism, but more importantly it can tap into the visceral centre – or guts of a song.

When he tried this, Adam found that his guitar almost sang to him and he found himself singing to it.

When you are next writing a song with your guitar, play call and answer with the riffs and sections of your song.

You can also sing to the fret board as if it were a person and is listening so that if you have to look at your chord playing hand, you can still be ‘involved’ in your song.

Explore where in your phrases you can pull the guitar into your body to help you feel the strength of your voice in the song.

– Raie

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