written by Adrienne Leggett
M.M. Vocal Performance, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; B.M. Vocal Performance, Mercer University
Many singers wonder, “What should I do with my body while singing?” Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable to perform without an instrument in front of you, but when singing, your body is your instrument! Using good posture is important both to your vocal technique and to your performance. Bad posture creates tension, which greatly affects your singing and can make you look awkward or unconfident. Luckily, your body is naturally suited to singing. Just follow these easy suggestions:
Your feet and their placement make up your body’s foundation. When singing, you want to place your feet shoulder-width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other. Make sure to keep your body’s weight on both feet. Avoid standing with your feet closely together. Not only will you look like a bowling pin, but you will be unsteady on your feet. Don’t believe me? Have a friend gently push you and see how easily you’re forced to take a step back to avoid falling. Then try standing correctly and see the remarkable difference! A wider stance creates stability for both your body and your breathing, which is crucial when singing!
When singing for a long period of time, like a chorus concert, remember not to lock your knees. This can cause you to faint! If you’re worried about locking your knees, just remember to occasionally bend them slightly. It doesn’t have to be visible to other people, but you can feel the difference. You can bend your knees between each song if you’re afraid you might forget. You can also wiggle your toes to keep blood flowing.
Stand up straight when practicing and performing. Avoid slouching, which limits your breath capacity. Although staging or acting may move your body into many different positions, you can usually still keep your upper body aligned for the majority of a performance.
You want your shoulders relaxed and comfortable. Try lifting your arms above your head towards the ceiling and then let them fall naturally. This comfortable position is perfect for singing.
- Neck and Head
Your head should sit naturally and comfortably over your body. Avoid slumping or jutting your neck forward like a turtle. Not only is this awkward posture distracting to your audience, but it also forces your throat too far forward, creating tension and interfering with your singing. Likewise, avoid stretching your neck up or pulling your chin up high when singing high notes. Although children need extra support and do this naturally, it is not necessary for adults and causes issues. You should be able to easily look ahead without your eyes staring too far up at the ceiling or down at the floor.
Having good posture is an easy way to create good vocal technique and keep your body healthy! Plus, it helps you to look your best when preforming and can even improve your confidence! Try practicing in front of a mirror so you can observe your posture. It might feel awkward at first but really pays off in the end. Bad posture creates tension and can create major issues with your vocal technique, but good posture really sets you up for success! Your voice teacher is always a great resource if you have any questions about your posture.