Here is an interesting article from takelessons on posture for singers. In my Group Singing Class, that will be commencing on Wednesdays at Raise The Barre dance studio, we will be exploring the importance of your body and posture. There is something to learn, and keep learning, for everybody here as we cannot watch ourselves perform … your posture and the way you use your body have a very direct effect on the sounds you produce. Enjoy!
Before you learn how to breathe, sing, or play any kind of instrument correctly, you need to ensure that you’re creating the proper posture with your body. New singers frequently make the mistake of thinking that singing starts with controlling the vocal cords – those hard-working vocal folds we love to exhaust – but the secret to great singing is understanding how to use your whole body effectively. This starts with proper singing posture, enhanced by correct breathing techniques, and then further clarified by the use of almost every other body part.
As a singer, you need to realize that you, in fact, are your instrument. In this article we will explore the importance of having proper singing posture, and also share a few tips on how you can improve your posture at home.
Why is Singing Posture so Important?
Proper posture is probably the most common trait that most singers lack in their early years. Making a few minor changes to your singing posture will result in an instant improvement of your singing voice. Good posture can be defined as the stance achieved that allows for an aligned spine (not twisted) and joints that are not bent. Not only does proper singing posture enhance your breathing, but it also optimizes it – resulting in a better-sounding voice. To help you understand, here’s a quick exercise to try:
- Practice breathing from your diaphragm or tummy – this means that your lower abdomen should expand when you inhale.
- Breathe this way while straightening your spine.
- Now try the same style of breathing, while adopting a more slouched posture.
While slouching, you’ll find that your tummy can’t expand as far as it could initially. This ability to optimize the intake of oxygen is extremely important for singers.
What is Good Singing Posture?
There are a few key components that make up good singing posture. Most new singers think that they don’t have any sort of posture-related issues – it’s not just about performance confidence, this is actually basic anatomy. Believe it or not, the positioning of your head, hands, arms, chest, abdomen, feet, and even knees play a part in improving your voice’s quality.
Take a minute to evaluate your singing posture and ask yourself: are both of my feet planted steadily on the ground? Are my shoulders relaxed? Is my spine straight? If you’ve answered “Yes” to these three questions, then you’re already off to a great start – but there’s still much more. Here’s a more detailed checklist to help you get your singing posture just right:
- Starting from the top, your chin should be parallel to the floor and slightly tucked in or back.
- In an unstrained position, hold your chest high and your shoulders down or slightly back.
- Keep your tummy both firm and expandable at the same time. You will need to practice controlling these muscles while learning how to breathe using your diaphragm.
- Your hands should be relaxed and held still at your side. Keep them slightly away from your body to allow air to flow around you.
- Even if your nerves are building up, remember never to lock your knees – they should be in a loose position.
- Leaning the weight of your body slightly forward, you should stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. You can put one foot just a tiny bit in front of the other for balance.
If you’re new to the singing world, this probably sounds like a lot to digest at once, but don’t worry – once you nail the correct singing posture, you’ll become more aware of its day-to-day effect on your voice.
How can I Improve my Singing Posture?
Here are a few exercises that you can try at home to help you out:
Stand up straight against a wall:
Facing away from the wall, make your heels, calves, shoulders and head touch the wall simultaneously. Hold this position for a few minutes.
Increase your buoyancy in one position:
To understand how your weight distribution impacts your voice, stand with your feet apart, and shift your body weight until you’re nearly standing on your toes. Repeat a few times.
Expand and contract your tummy:
While standing up straight, place your hand on your tummy to ensure that your abdomen is expanding upon inhalation and relaxing when you exhale.
There you go! By perfecting your posture, you’re now on the way to improving your singing voice and optimizing your body. It won’t be easy to correct naturally slouchy posture habits, but keep practicing – the returns will be well worth it for your voice and overall image.
Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.
Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.
As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.
Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.