7 Habits for Healthy Singers (Part II)
3. Correct your posture
It is imperative that you sing with correct postural alignment. There are five elements I’d like you to focus on:
Feet in parallel. Stand up and look down at your feet. You should see your feet in a parallel position, drawing the number 11 on the floor. Many of us are standing in a turned-out or turned-in position always. I tend to see turned-out legs more frequently; this is not a great idea when it comes to breathing. In your lower back, your pelvis meets your spine at what’s called the sacroiliac joint. If you stand with your hips turned out, you tighten that joint, and your breath doesn’t drop as low as it should.
Pelvis in neutral. Look at your pelvis sideways in a mirror. Many of us are either standing in a “sway back” position, with the tailbone stuck out behind us, or an overly tucked position, where the tailbone is completely pulled under the body. The problem with either of these options is that the muscles that support our upper body (and our voices) are compromised by either being shortened or over-stretched. When you look at yourself from the side, you should see a slight curve in your lower back, and your hip bone (head of your femur) should be positioned directly over your ankle bone (malleolus).
Balanced shoulders. The smartphone has made us over-pronators and internal rotators when it comes to our arms. Stand upright in front of a mirror, and let your arms hang easily by your side. Do you see the backs of your hands facing the mirror? If so, you are over-pronated in your forearms and internally rotated in your shoulder joint. When the arms hang at the side, the thumb should be pointing out toward the mirror, not the backs of the hands.
Hands relaxed. Speaking of smartphones, texting and typing have left many of us with hands that are constantly flexed. When your arms are at your side, your hands and fingers should drape easily toward the ground in a straight line. If you find yourself with “claw hands” that look clenched, you’re spending too much time in flexed finger positions.
Head over your torso. Actors have quite a bit of stimuli in front of them. Scene partners, cameras, audiences, and audition panels all conspire to pull an actor’s energy forward, and the result can be a head posture that juts out in front of the body. In addition to putting strain on the vocal mechanism, this position causes pain in the upper back and neck, and doesn’t look so hot, either. The correct neck position is to have the ears balanced directly over the shoulders, and to keep the chin level (it may feel like the chin is lowered slightly).
I’ve created a brief online course that will correct any of these issues. The course is 100% free and you can check it out here.
Also, don't forget to check out Hues Productions' Master Classes, taught by professionals, that also address these topics!