Back to Basics - 6 Points of Posture
When taking lessons, people usually expect the teacher to come at them with a radical new concept that will drastically change their tone and launch them to superstar-dom. The thing is that most of the time fixing the basic mechanics of singing will do more to fix problems in tone than anything else, not to mention the fact that it's completely necessary to have those basics down before you move on to any advanced technique.
I start off my students every year with a discussion on posture. Good posture during singing is essential to having good breath support, a general release of tension in your muscles and will alleviate unwanted aches and pains through your body from slouching during a performance. I have 6 Points of Posture that are easy to remember and, if followed, will always ensure that you are not constricting yourself in any way.
- Chin level with the floor - Keep your head erect and don't point it in the direction of the note thinking it's helping. Moving your head up or down will actually just constrict your airway and make the notes even more difficult to reach.
- Shoulders back - Raise your shoulders up to your ears and then let them fall backward. Keeping your shoulders here will prevent you from allowing your rib cage to collapse during singing.
- Sternum high - Your sternum is what holds your rib cage together. Keeping your sternum high also prevents a rib cage collapse and guarantees your shoulders are back. Imagine an invisible string leading from your upper chest and let it be pulled slightly to the ceiling.
- Hands at your side - As much for aesthetics as anything, keeping your hands largely to the side prevents the tendency to pull your arms forward and close off your rib cage. In solo performances, some movement is fine but be aware where your shoulders are.
- Knees slightly bent - Keeping your knees bent keeps a certain amount of energy flowing through your body, without adding much tension, and prevents you from locking your knees, increasing your chances of fainting.
- Feet shoulder-width apart - You must have a solid stance while you are singing to ensure you get the greatest possible power from your breath. A good stance will also prevent you from shifting your weight to just one leg throwing your posture completely out of alignment and adding tension.
Obviously you can still practice while seated, but you still want to follow these general rules, just slightly modified. From experience I can promise you that following these simple 6 Points of Posture will bring greater ease and power to your voice. Hey, they work on junior high kids so they've got to work on everyone!