Singing With Good Posture
Your Entire Body Is Your Vocal Instrument
Your singing instrument includes your entire body, not just the tiny vocal bands ( cords. ) Your spine, head, neck, shoulders, knees, feet and everything in between are involved when you sing.
It makes sense then, that your posture plays an important part in singing. In fact your breathing muscle, the diaphragm, can't even do it's job unless you're standing up straight. This muscle must have plenty of room to expand as you inhale. If there is restriction, which happens with poor posture, your air will be restricted as well and air is what your tone rides on.
How to Check Your Posture For A Better Singing Sound
Before you sing, especially if you're doing a concert, check to make sure that your body is in correct alignment. Your singing muscles are connect to your spine, therefore it's important to take time to do this.
Because breathing is so crucial during singing, you don't want tension in your body. Tension will prevent you from taking a deep breath by using the diaphragmatic muscle.
So let's evaluate your posture.
- Stand in front of a full length mirror and take a look at your posture. If you are slumping, straighten up.
- Your shoulders should be in a relaxed position, down and back.
- Your head is centered over the shoulders.
- In this position, you have a confident look and you're singing will improve.
Now get ready for the wall exercise.
How to Use The Wall For Good Posture
I often suggest to my students during a lesson that they go to the wall, lean against it and sing.
To find the correct alignment of your body:
- Stand with your back to the wall.
- Put your buttocks, shoulders and the back of your head against the wall. Your feet will be a few inches away from the wall and not lined up against the wall.
- To feel the movement of the body and how it responds, while in this position, practice your breathing. Be sure your inhalation comes from your breathing muscle ' the diaphragm ' by making sure you 'inflate' your abdominal area.
- When you exhale your air, do so slowly on either a hiss, hum, or soft 'ee.'
- Do this several times to ingrain how your body feels to you.
- Next, move away from the wall and compare your posture and breathing.
- Feel for the energy flowing throughout your entire body. There should be no tension at all in the neck and surrounding areas.
Good Posture For Singing
Sing Better With Proper Chest Position
Finding the proper position for the chest really makes a difference in your vocal sound. Your goal is to keep the chest wide in order to open the rib cage which allows you to breathe fully. I'd have to say that 95% of all singers, both professional and amateur, that book a vocal session with me, have this problem.
As soon as the chest lesson is learned it's pretty amazing how much the singer's sound improves. But do not lift the chest too high as this will cause tension in the neck. You want to avoid that because it directly affects your singing. Tension in the neck equals tension in the tone.
When your body is out of alignment, your chest will collapse which prevents you from expanding your body for breathing fully.
Here is an exercise to help you learn how to open your chest for better breathing:
- In a standing position, let your arms hang to your side with your hands dangling and completely relaxed.
- Move your shoulders back, but down and released.
- Practice lifting the shoulders up very high and then immediately release them. This will help you find the center resting position.
- Expand your chest wide and practice deep breathing. Do not limit your practicing to one or two times. Make this a top priority and do it often.
The Wrong Way to Stand During Singing
How to Release Tension in Your Knees
You must keep the knees unlocked while singing. With the knees in a locked position you will bring tension into your singing voice. This is not a good thing. Tension during singing interrupts the flow. The sound usually is produced in the back of the throat and sounds swallowed.
First of all, in order for your lower back to expand when you breathe, you must keep your knees loose. When your knees are locked this pushes the lower back which also locks up. You don't have to go so far as to 'squat', just keep those knees loose enough to wiggle.
Good Posture Begins With The Feet
To assure good posture while singing, here is how your feet should look:
- Place your feet no wider than your shoulders.
- Place one foot slightly in front of the other. This will distribute your body weight evenly.
- Always balance your weight on the balls of your feet and not on the heels. This will help you in keeping your knees unlocked.
Final Thoughts About Good Posture
The more you practice good posture while walking, the better your posture will be for singing. There may be times when you'll be required to walk across the stage. Using good posture brings a look of confidence and your audience wants to see a confident performer.
Walk like you are a king or queen, majestically. Practice walking with this good posture daily. Teach children and young people early to use good posture. Make it fun. The earlier children learn, the more automatic proper posture will become.
We would all have less back problems had we practiced good posture when we were young. Young girls are more prone to bad posture and 'rounded shoulders' than young men are.
Regardless of your age, it's never to late to change and correct your posture. Posture yourself into a leadership mode now. Your body will love you for it.
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© 2013 Audrey Hunt
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