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Singing With Good Posture

Updated on May 13, 2015
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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.


Do This!

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

Proper posture - shoulders are back, chest is high, neck and spine are aligned.
Proper posture - shoulders are back, chest is high, neck and spine are aligned. | Source

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

Incorrect posture.  Notice how this singer is slouching.  The chin is extended and the neck is out of alignment with the spine.
Incorrect posture. Notice how this singer is slouching. The chin is extended and the neck is out of alignment with the spine. | Source

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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    • vocalcoach profile image
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      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Kasman

      How wonderful that you sing in a group as well as being a soloist! Your music teacher was correct in advising you to sit on the edge of your chair and keep your back straight.

      If you think about it, all the muscles used in singing are connected to the spine. The diaphragmatic muscle used in breathing must be in proper position to accommodate inflation around the lower ribcage.

      I'm so happy to see you here. I lived in Nashville for 5 years. My son builds upright basses and he repairs them and does well. He is a professor of bass at Tennessee University. And of course, he performs almost every night. You would love him as he is sweet, funny and makes you feel like a brother. Heck no, I'm not prejudice, :)

      Hugs to you,

      Audrey

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 3 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I really appreciate this hub audrey as I do sing regularly. I sing for a chorale and also have my own solo artist work that I'm working on currently and I've found that bad posture is one of the number one things that can wreck my performance. I remember my music teacher telling me when I was very young that I should sit on the edge of my chair with my back straight. Never really bought it much until I started my own band years ago. Thanks, I'm voting up and sharing

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Dear rajan - Our posture is so important. Even for those who do not sing - good posture holds our organs in place and also shows confidence. Thank you - you are a treasure!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Audrey a wonderful hub and I learned a lot why a good posture is so necessary for singing well. Though I may not ever sing in an audience I learnt a lot about maintaining a right posture as well.

      Voted up, useful and sharing on hot hubbers.

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      American_Choices - I am so happy that you are considering getting back into singing. Let me know if I can be of help. Enjoy your day my friend and thank you!

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      fpherj48 Something about you just makes me feel like celebrating. It must be a combination of your amazing attitude, rock star looks, and humor. There's more to you than this, of course!

      Thanks so much for your comments and hope all is just great in your world! ~ Hugs ~ Audrey

      Audrey Howitt - Puccini! My very favorite. Oh, how I would give just about anything to hear your beautiful voice. About posture (alignment) - I'm noticing that as I age, I have to concentrate more on posture...Thanks Audrey

    • American_Choices profile image

      American_Choices 3 years ago from USA

      I find posture to be more of an epidemic than obesity here in the United States and yet no one is talking about it. Fitness professionals know proper posture but sadly even body builders and top athletes are plagued with poor posture.

      Great article with precise instruction and photos.

      Critical information for all walks of life.

      Also the power of singing, I feel permeates our very soul. I have wanted to get back to singing and you have encouraged me to make this a priority.

      Outstanding hub - thank you very much!

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      suzettenaples - Good posture is so important for the body in general. I'm very pleased that you enjoyed this hub. And I would love to hear 'The Voices of Naples' - would they be on youtube? Have a lovely week and thank you so much.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Wonderful article Audrey! I find that alignment is always the first thing to discuss--in most every lesson--hope all is well in your world--moving up in the world these days--singing all that spinto Puccini I love so much----

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Audrey......Enjoyed this hub, immensely....for all the reasons you wrote it, plus I have this "Thing" about posture! LOL.....Mine is in great shape. I find posture so important, it's one of those things I specifically "notice" about people......like focusing on a smile, etc?

      Ahhhhh...if only all I needed was good posture to sing!!.....UP+++

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      vocalcoach: Very interesting and informative article. I have learned how each part of the body is important to singing during performances from the Voices of Naples choir. This article is full of great advice and suggestions. I especially like the wall exercise. I will have to try that as it sounds like a good one. I so enjoyed reading this.

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      drbj - How clever you are and very gifted. I just love this!

      teaches12345 - It seems like the older we get the more concentration is required for posture. But it's so important. I like that knee exercise. Thanks my friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I need to practice better posture and will take your advice on this important topic. I watched the knee video and did the exercise. This will help me to relax those tight knees. Thanks for sharing.

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      bravewarrior - I think diaphragmatic breathing should be taught at a young age in the school system. Much easier to learn in the younger years. We all should be breathing this way anyhow in order to release toxins and inhale pure oxygen.

      As for posture, the older I get the more I have to concentrate on keeping my shoulders back. :)

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      always exploring - I constantly must remind myself about my posture, both sitting and standing. It's an on-going thing, especially with aging (hate that word.) Lady Ga-Ga is shaking in her boots :) Love ya' Ruby ~ Audrey

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Chuck - Hi. Well, sounds like you've been doing just fine on your own:) You and I are so blessed to share a love and life of performing. I'm sure you understand what I mean when I say I wouldn't know any other way to live. (applause)

      Hi Genna - I constantly remind myself to sit up straight as I write at the computer under less then disireable circumstances. Thank you my friend for sharing your thoughts.

      mcbirdbks - Well, I must say I'm impressed that you can stand. Now for the rest of your singing lesson, you'll just have to fly to California :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      If you want to improve your posture,

      Whether speaking or singing a song,

      Follow Audrey's excellent tips,

      And I guarantee you won't go wrong.

      Promise!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Audrey, when I was in broadcasting school, we had to re-learn to how talk - especially if an accent was present. We were taught to speak through our diaphrams. That was so hard for me because speaking is an involuntary reaction. I had to locate my diaphram then concentrate on breathing/speaking from that area. I think that was the hardest thing to 'change' in the entire class, because first you had to find it then become friends with it.

      It's funny - as a kid I had excellent posture, thanks to Mom. Now that I'm older... well, let's just say my posture could use an overhaul!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      The first thing i did when i started reading this was to look at my posture and i quickly straightened up. It is so easy to give in to drooping. I will practice your techniques you have listed. Thank you..Look out Lady Gaga Hee..

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello I just stopped by to learn how to sing. I have the standing up part down now. Onward and upward. Look Out Tom Jones.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Good posture is so essential to singing. The instrument that produces our singing is not just limited to vocal chords, as you have explained so well. When we write often, we might have a tendency to lean our upper carriage and shoulders forward in a kind of slump, which I am always reminding myself not to do! Thank you for this very helpful hub. :-)

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Faith Reaper - I also think somehow our internal organs must benefit from good posture. Just a thought. You made me smile this morning :)

      billybuc - Hi there young man! Now that I have your attention...

      So you're working on your posture? You appear to be tall. Studies indicate that the taller the man, the more posture problems. Shorter guys want to appear taller so they usually stand up nice and straight.

      And then there's the age thing - I wouldn't know about that, of course:) In your dreams Audrey.

      Much love,

      Audrey

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Jackie - Thanks for your comments. Posture is one thing I really work on, especially with age creeping up on me:)

      Carola - Actually, walking around when you sing is highly recommended. Keeps the body relaxed. I'm happy to hear that you are a singer.

      Mhatter - You fence too? Is there no end to your many talents? Impressive, yes, very impressive:)

    • Chuck RitenouR profile image

      Chuck RitenouR 4 years ago from Front Royal, Virginia

      I have been a performer for over 40 years. I've never had a vocal coach, but after reading this very informative hub realize I certainly have needed one. Thumbs Up

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've actually been working on posture lately. With all the writing I do, I have noticed a slouch where once there was none...can't have that now can we?

      Excellent advice as always, Audrey. You know your stuff and others would be wise to listen.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

      love,

      bill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Audrey,

      Very insightful and useful hub here as to posture. Now, I know why I sound terrible! hehehe Seriously, I do believe good posture is so important in our overall health to be able to breathe in properly that deep breath.

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Between singing and fencing... You couldn't tell now.

    • Carola Finch profile image

      Carola Finch 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting tips. I tend to move around a lot when I sing - it helps me stay relaxed. Good thing I sing on my on my own or in a small group!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great info and makes a lot of sense. Tall and proud and bellow out those notes! Posture is important for many reasons and now we can add singing. Up and sharing.

    • vocalcoach profile image
      Author

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Hi stephhicks - So nice to see you here and to read your delightful comments. And the shoulders are my problem too:) ~ Audrey

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Excellent tips! I need to keep my shoulders back, for sure. I do not sing very often any more, but I think I was pretty good in the college choral group. Cheers, Steph