Whenever you learn a new skill that uses your body, the first thing you need to work on is how to position your body. Singing is no different.
Most people do not adopt an ideal posture naturally and that has a negative effect on their singing voice. Incorrect posture impedes breathing, which makes it impossible to realize the full potential of your voice.
Most beginners believe that singing begins and ends with their mouth, throat and vocal cords. In fact, the position of every body part impacts singing.
Luckily, it is not difficult to adopt the correct singing posture. All it takes is practice. First you need to learn the correct posture for singing and then you need to get your body used to that posture. It should not take long and when you’ve got it down, your singing will improve dramatically.
Why Proper Singing Posture Is Important
Most beginners do not know how to stand correctly when singing, but adopting the proper posture leads to an instant improvement in your singing voice. It is not difficult and a few small changes can have drastic results. Learning the correct way to stand (or sit, though standing is preferable) is an easy win. A relatively small effort results in large gains.
We’ll get into the correct posture below, but basically, you want to stand up straight so that your spine and joints are not bent. Just give this a try to see what a difference just standing up straight can make:
- Breathe into your belly (diaphragmatic breathing; see our page on how to sing for more)
- Adopt a slouched posture and continue breathing the same way
- Now stand up straight and keep breathing
See how much easier that is? When you are slouching, you can’t expand you belly as far as you can while standing up straight. It keeps you from being able to optimize your intake of oxygen, which is vital as a singer.
Correct Posture For Singing
I mentioned standing up straight above, but there is much more to posture in singing than just that. You also need to be aware of the position of your feet, your knees, your hips, your abdomen, your chest, your shoulders, your arms, your hands and your head. The correct positioning of each of these body parts helps to improve your voice a bit.
Let’s take it one part of your body at a time and go through the correct positioning for each, beginning from the top.
Keep your head level, with your chin parallel to the floor. Your chin should be back a bit, so that your neck is straight. (more info)
Chest and Shoulders
Keep your chest high and your shoulders back and down. They should remain relaxed. Don’t push them so far back that they are strained.
Keep your abdomen flat, but firm. It should also be expandable, so that you can breathe properly using your diaphragm. (more info)
Arms and Hands
Keep your arms and hands at your sides. They should stay relaxed, with a small space between your hands and your body.
Your hips should stay directly below your torso for maximum support. Make sure not to thrust your hips forward or back.
Your knees need to stay loose. Make sure to never lock them up. Locking them restricts blood flow and can actually cause you to faint.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with one slightly in front of the other for better balance. Lean the weight of your body slightly forward.
Singing Posture Exercises
I know reading those detailed instructions for each body part can seem overwhelming, with too many things to pay attention to at once. But it’s not as difficult as it seems. Do the following exercises to practice adopting the correct singing posture. Focus on one body part at a time, if necessary.
- Stand up against a wall, facing away from it, with your heels, calves, buttocks, shoulders, and head all touching the wall. Remain in that position for a few minutes to get used to it.
- Practice breathing into your abdomen. Put one hand on your stomach so that you can feel your abdomen expanding and contracting, to make sure you are breathing correctly.
- Try leaning your body weight forward so that you are almost standing on your toes. Feel how your weight distribution impacts the tension in your muscles and your breathing. Shift your weight back and forth a few times. Try to achieve a feeling of buoyancy.
- If you want, try adopting a slouched position, to see the difference it makes in how deeply you can breathe.
The following infographic helps illustrate the proper singing stance.
Infographic courtesy of TakeLessons.com. Please credit them if you use this graphic on your own site.