Many people are aware of the negative effects of poor posture. Poor
posture has been known to cause difficulties in several major body systems.
However, the negative effects of poor posture extend far beyond the usual
physiological symptom. As a vocalist, singing posture can have a profound effect
on the quality and tone of your voice.
Proper singing posture is a fundamental aspect of singing that takes
conscious effort to correct. It can be very difficult for some vocalists because
unlike other singing exercises and techniques, developing proper singing posture
requires one to practice the skill outside of normal vocal practices or
Singing posture is ESSENTIAL to a high quality voice for a number of
reasons. When you do not practice proper posture, the chest cavity is compressed
putting pressure on the diaphragm and restricting the chest from expanding. When
the chest cavity cannot fully expand, the breath is forced to remain in the
upper chest cavity causing a "shallow breath," and limiting a vocalist from
accessing the maximum amount of breath support. Improper posture can also hinder
a vocalist's projection. When one is "slouched" or misaligned while singing,
their voice is being projected at a downward angle causing the sound waves to
move directly toward the floor, where they can be refracted and distorted.
In order for one to acquire and RETAIN proper singing posture one must
often retrain the muscles of the back, chest, shoulders, and neck to proper
alignment. This is not a task for the light of heart. Maintaining proper posture
in every day activities and environments can be very difficult. Most
environments do not promote proper posture and it is very easy to slip out of
proper alignment without being aware of it.
There are different ways to assess whether you are practicing proper
singing posture. One way is to stand barefoot on a flat surface in the
"anatomical position." This means that you are standing with your feet flat,
arms to your sides, with your palms facing forward. Rise slowly up on to the tip
of your toes and feel your back slightly arch and your shoulders move back. Try
to retain this feeling as you gently lower yourself back down to your heels.
This is proper singing posture
This position may feel unnatural at first. That is because a previous
habit of poor posture trains and strengthens the muscles to be more inclined to
that position. Attaining singing posture requires one to retain the muscles of
the back and shoulders to be more inclined toward proper posture than to
"slouching." This can take conscious effort. It requires one to assess his
current habits and be aware of how he sits and stands on a regular basis. For
some people, this awareness is all that is needed to reverse poor posture
habits. However, for many vocalists, it not only requires constant awareness,
but a tiny time investment into muscular exercises.
One very effective back exercise can be done by anyone, almost anywhere,
to improve singing posture. It is a very simple way to retrain the back and
shoulder muscles. To perform this exercise you may either be sitting or
standing. Perform the posture assessment explained above to ensure that you are
properly aligned before beginning this exercise. When you are properly aligned
"pinch" your shoulder blades together in a downward motion as though you were
trying to hold a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. Hold this position
for a count of 3-5 seconds or whatever you are comfortable with, relax, and then
repeat for 5-10 repetitions. This exercise, though simple, activates muscles in
your back and shoulders which are necessary in holding proper singing posture.
Proper posture and alignment is beneficial for the better health and
well-being of everyone, but especially for those who desire to learn
improve singing. There are many facets involved in developing a strong,
quality voice, and singing posture is a fundamental part of that development.