Posture for Singing: From Head-to-Toe

Thursday, December 17, 2020
England, UK

In my last blog post, we talked about how to breathe better. If you haven't read that one yet, click here to read it – it's vital for moving onto today's topic: posture! If you'd like a more visual demonstration that's more kid-friendly too, I make a series called Mindful Music Monday for Hannah's Homeroom IGTV. Check it out here!

So, let's work on the best ways to align the body while we sing. Time to play an extended game of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes...


Place your feet firmly on the ground – really anchor them down. Sometimes, when we're nervous, we sway or shift weight from one foot to another. But as this transfers weight in the body, it slightly changes where that support is coming from. To sustain long notes without unnecessary wobble, pretend your feet are glued down and heavy, like you're drawing the breath up from the ground, through your feet!


Unlock your knees. Not fully, so you're squatting, but just so you're able to bend them a little. Again, we don't want too much movement in them just yet – we'll talk more about why having your knees unlocked is useful in next week's post about support.


If you've ever studied yoga, ballet or pilates, you'll know exactly what I mean by core support. Our pelvic muscles are essential for supporting the voice and we'll talk more about these next week too. For now, imagine zipping up a pair of high-waisted jeans that are just a little bit too small. Try to isolate and engage the muscles just below your belly button, the way you might do if you really needed to pee!


Put a hand on either side of your ribs and take a deep breath in... and out... Here we're looking for an expansion outwards, horizontally, as opposed to thinking with length. Notice how the stomach doesn't move much? There's no need to force that in/out motion – your body has it covered – the best thing we can do is support it, by relaxing the muscles around the lungs. Starting with the...


Roll your shoulders all the way back and push your chest out. Okay, now hunch forward. Somewhere in between those two extremes is a comfortable midpoint, where the shoulders are down and centred, and the spine sits in alignment. That midpoint is a relaxed neutral and when standing, your shoulders, hips and feet should fall into this alignment too.


Once everything else is aligned and the is larynx relaxed and down, using the breathing techniques we practised in the previous post, the head should sit gently on top of the neck, with the chin level. Sometimes there is a tendency to stretch the neck upwards when going for a higher note. This actually puts pressure on the vocal folds, as they are being uncomfortably stretched instead of supported. So, keep the chin level and let the neck muscles relax.

If you've done all of that, congratulations! You're ready to start singing. Give your body a shake out and try to find that optimum posture again. With practice, this will become second nature to you and you'll be standing like a singer in no time.

Sing soon!

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