Counting beats while singing and playing

Im learning from justins tutorial about how to play elanor rigby. The verse section goes 3 bars of strumming Em (4 beats per bar) with the final 4th bar being 2 downstrums of C and 2 downstrums of Em. However i am struggling with counting the beats while singing as it seems i can only do one or the other. I tried tapping my foot while singing and playing but that still requires me to count the beats in my head and so doesnt solve my problem. I would appreciate any advice.

Playing and singing at the same time is something that just about everyone struggles with for a while, and then it suddenly becomes easier.

For me, the key thing was to slow it down. That’s still true if I’m learning a song that has some complicated or highly syncopated rhythms.

Some people like to learn the playing the singing separately, and only putting them together when the parts can be done almost automatically. While I wouldn’t argue with what works for a given individual, my personal experience is that learning them together is far more efficient for me. So you might give both approaches a try.

I guess I rarely count while I’m playing, or while I’m playing and singing. I keep the beat with my foot, but I don’t count the beats. I only count the beats when I’m learning the song or unfamiliar with the song. After a while it becomes more about feeling when the changes should occur in a given song.

Also, don’t give up. Keep at it. It will come.


Hello @rohan1301 and welcome to the Community.
Playing to a track and keeping good time is a skill you need to work at.
Singing and playing together is a further skill.
Singing and playing to a backing track in time at tempo is the end point for all of your efforts and requires dedicated, separate practice of all the parts.
It isn’t an easy step for many.
Check this topic to help with the first.

Check this grade 3 lesson for the second.

I hope that helps.


This may be the root of your problem…trying to do too much at once. I never do both at the same time…never occurred to me to even try.

If you need to count to play the song properly, I would suggest you only practice that before introducing the singing.

When you can play the part without counting…on automatic pilot…then you can introduce the singing.




That’s how I would put it. @rohan1301 My further advice, among the many good ones already given, would be…listen listen listen…like so much more listening to the original track than you can think of. Tap your foot while listening, you don’t need to count, and get your ear super aware where the chord changes, this might be a bit tricky at the beginning but with practice you’ll make it! Have fun :blush:


Good advice…and it can indeed be tricky at first.

I’ve just recently started using the Moises app, which does an excellent job of separating out a song’s vocals and various instruments. (Also, slowing down, and key shifting works better than anything else I’ve seen)

You can mute the vocals and just focus on the chord changes. Then you can mute the guitar track and just focus on the singing.

It’s so much easier when you can just focus on one thing at a time.