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Singing Posture

August 18, 2023


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I’m Abram from 30 Day Singer and this lesson is all about finding the correct posture for singing. Singing with good posture is not only good for easing tension, but it also helps with overall breath control and singing technique. This is the first thing that I check in with in my singing practice and I encourage singers to continually check their posture throughout the rest of their routine.


When your spine is out of alignment then your body has a hard time controlling lower abdominal belly breathing. The pressure created here to support our voice doesn’t have much positive impact on our voice. In fact, it usually backfires and we end up pushing out our air too quickly. When the spine is out of alignment our neck muscles have to work harder to keep our head on our shoulders. We need these muscles to stay pretty relaxed when we sing!


A great way to find your center of balance while standing or sitting is to gently twist and turn your spine. Start from the hips, then the chest, shoulderts, neck and head. Do this before and during your singing practice from time to time. Mobility and awareness is most important. Allow your breath to expand and then gently sink back down into the floor. If you are standing make sure your knees are slightly bent as well. Good posture is about opposing forces that keep our body balanced, strong, and receptive. Notice how as you take your breath in and out that you naturally sway around this point. 


Try shrugging your shoulders a few times. Raise them up and then release them back down. When our hands are very active, clenching in a fist, or bracing on something, this will also back up tension to our head, neck, and shoulders as well. So imagine your shoulders are a coat hanger and your hands like little weights that keep them dropping their energy into the floor.  Swing them around like this and feel the mobility. 



Specific Postures to Avoid: Chin Lifting and Pressing 


Let’s talk about some specific singing postures to avoid. Avoid locking your throat in either direction. 


Singers will often lift their head and chin like this while trying to reach for higher notes. When this ends up blocking space to resonate in the back and top of the vocal tract. When our spine is out of alignment our support mechanism can’t control the air well and so the muscles in our head, neck, and jaw try to make the instrument smaller and easier to work with. This leads to tension and an inability to control tone or even pitch at a certain point. You can check the back of your head or just watch yourself in a mirror. 


Exercise 1: Ah to EE Sirens Exercise: The head can move around a lot without affecting the voice very much. I encourage you to gently move your head around as you try vocalizing, especially as you are singing up to a higher note. If this is happening a lot, then you are going to want to work on some support exercises more.  


The opposite direction is often accompanied by the singer's tongue pushing back into their throat. The principles are the same, but it creates a completely different sound. Sometimes this is as a singer is trying to artificially lower their larynx or make a darker, lower, or more classical sound. 


Exercise 2: Tongue Glides (Nyah) 1,3,5,3,1: Use a Nyah sound, and notice how your tongue starts close to your front upper teeth. Feel for the bright more nasal resonance here and then let the tongue relax back. Try not to throw the tongue back in a way that causes that froggy sound. If you have this habit you are going to want to do that a lot at first, but focus on the tongue coming back up. Active then relaxed. 


Both of these changes in alignment can be used as a style choice for belting or for a darker, smooth, slightly swallowed tone. If it's part of your technique to change your posture as you sing, then you are going to get stuck in place a lot and have a limited range of expression. It eventually leads to tension, vocal fatigue, and damage. You are going to want to balance any style forces that may be pulling you too far out of alignment with contrasting exercises. Keep your posture fluid and always reconnect with your lower body and your breath.


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