Originally posted on the Upright blog.
Bad posture got you singing the blues?
You’re not alone; most aspiring singers are unaware of the impact body position has on their voice, let alone how to correct it. Before you even think about perfecting your breathing technique or getting your vocals under control, it’s important to understand how to hold the instrument that is your body.
Don’t worry – nailing your singing posture is easy like Sunday morning! A little mindfulness is all it takes to unleash the full power of your voice.
This year, we’re helping some of the biggest singers in the world achieve award-worthy posture. Performers and Presenters at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards® will receive our smart posture trainer in the official Gift Bag. Not only will this allow their talent to shine, it’ll enable them to strike a taller, more confident red-carpet pose.
What is good singing posture?
Let’s start with what it’s not.
Good singing posture is not simply about “owning” the stage. Sure, a tall spine does make you appear more confident and charismatic on stage. However, as you’ll soon discover, the benefits of correct body alignment go much deeper.
Similarly, adopting the right singing stance doesn’t mean you should stand rooted to the spot. Just look at all the singers who incorporate complicated dance moves into their performance. By keeping their spine straight and knees unlocked, they’re able to move freely around the stage while delivering flawless vocals.
So, what exactly does good singing posture look like?
When you see someone with good posture, you know it immediately. Being able to identify it in yourself is a little harder. Here are a few pointers to ensure you’re on the right track:
Align your body
Like a song, your voice sounds best when your body is in harmony. Before you start singing, check that the following body parts are aligned: feet to knees, knees to hips, hips to shoulders, and shoulders to ears. If you’re having a hard time getting your ears and shoulders to line up, try tucking in your chin. This will take some of the pressure off your jaw, throat, and tongue as you sing.
Rotate your pelvis
The optimal way to breathe when singing is with low, or diaphragmatic, breaths. This is only possible if your stomach muscles are relaxed. Rather than tightening your abs, rotate your pelvis so that your back is straight. Take care not to rotate your pelvis too far forward or you could end up with tension in the upper thighs or glutes.
Lower your shoulders
Even if you have perfect body alignment, it’s still possible to experience shoulder tension. The solution? To gently lower your shoulders as if you’re trying to move them as far away from your ears as possible. Let your arms hang loose at your sides. Remember – you’re aiming for a stance that’s relaxed and neutral as opposed to stiff and restricted.
Raise your chest
That low, diaphragmatic breathing I mentioned earlier requires that you keep your chest elevated when singing. It often helps to imagine a string extending from the middle of your chest to the ceiling. As your chest rises up, focus on keeping your body relaxed.
Many find this postural position challenging at first as they’re engaging muscles that haven’t been used in quite a while. The best way to develop these muscles is with a smart posture trainer like the UPRIGHT GO 2. This tiny wearable device helps you maintain an elevated chest position throughout the day until it becomes second nature.
Find your balance
Now that your body is aligned, it’s time to make sure your weight is evenly distributed. Put away your level, kids – this one’s easy! With your feet shoulder-width apart, one slightly in front of the other, lean forward a little so that the balls of your feet take most of your body weight. Once again, avoid leaning too far forward as this may cause unnecessary strain.
Why is proper singing posture so important?
One of the first things you learn as a singer is breathing technique. While this is an undeniably important aspect of the craft, proper singing posture is no less critical. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that having correct body alignment is key to optimal breathing.
It’s basic anatomy. Good posture opens up your chest cavity, maximizing space for your lungs to fully expand and take in more oxygen. If you keep your chest elevated and take low, diaphragmatic breaths, the air gets released more slowly. This is how singers are able to belt out those long, impressive phrases without running out of breath.
The way you hold your body also affects your ability to produce sound. If any part of you is too tense, you’ll have trouble hitting certain notes. To release tension, ensure that your frame is in perfect alignment, paying particular attention to the position of your neck. You’ll want to keep it nice and straight as this will allow air to pass unobstructed through your vocal cords.
Give yourself a standing ovation
With a few minor tweaks to your singing posture, you’ll see (or rather, hear) an instant improvement in your tonal quality and ability to project your voice. While we can’t promise that this will transform you into the next Mariah Carey, it will allow you to realize your full potential as a singer.
Now, isn’t that music to your ears?