Exercises

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Posture and movement for singers are an integral part of any tutors teaching. Part of being able to sing well includes the ability to be aware of your body, identify and correct problems that arise due to incorrect posture. This is where a singing teacher becomes essential as they can observe your movements during singing and provide you with immediate corrective advice.

This does not mean that your posture needs to be perfect!

Standing naturally ensuring the head, neck and shoulders are relaxed is the correct posture for singing.

Whilst most people do this automatically, there are others whose posture has become lazy, or who have developed bad habits that can inhibit their singing which is why we've provided some guidelines, do's and dont's and exercises to help improve your posture.

Please Note:- This does not mean that you will not be a singer if your posture is less than perfect or that if you suffer with a disability that you cannot sing. Posture is not a substitute for vocal talent, just a means of improving your control and providing your voice with optimum conditions for reaching its potential.

Posture Do's and Dont's

Anatomy Man Do.....
Be relaxed and natural
Keep your movements fluid
Keep your chin level
Keep your knees loose
Keep your head up
Keep your shoulders sloping and relaxed
Keep your toes pointed forward with your weight on heels and soles
Keep the front of your neck loose - don't stretch it
Keep abdominal muscles relaxed
Keep your back muscles relaxed
Smile!

Don't.....
Drop or hunch your shoulders
Move stiffly or jerkily
Drop or tuck in your chin when trying to sing low notes
Stretch your head upward when trying to sing high notes
Strain or push your abdominal muscles

Exercises for Improving Posture

The exercises below are used by schools and deportment teachers to help models, actors and singers achieve correct posture. This age old practice has been used for years and are designed to help you become more aware of how your body works, therefore enabling you to move fluidly and correct mistakes as you feel them happening. Take them at your own pace. Master one exercise before moving on to the next. Don't rush or try to do too much in one day.

Please Note: Whilst the following exercises are easy and safe to do people with disabilities, back pain or any physical disorders should consult a physician before attempting any form of exercise.

For these exercises you will need:

A long mirror (preferably full length)
A largish book of medium weight
Wear comfy loose clothing
Wear flat shoes, trainers or bare feet.
A flat long surface i.e., hallway or enough room to walk several paces.
A friend who can observe and make constructive comments & notes.
Patience & a good sense of humour!

All movements should be fluid and breathing natural.

Place the mirror in a position at the end of the hallway or room where you can see the whole of (or at the least the top half) of your body.

Stand facing the mirror. Study how you stand and compare with the Do's and Dont's above and make adjustments to your posture if necessary.

Stand at the end of the walk space and walk naturally towards the mirror observing your movements and posture as you walk. Compare with the Do's and Dont's above and make adjustments to your posture if necessary.

When walking your weight should be mainly on the balls of your feet, so your heels just lightly touch the floor, with the majority of movement from the hips and legs. The upper body should remain straight, relaxed and not 'swing' from side to side.

Even if it seems that you are standing and moving with the correct posture it is difficult without an impartial, experienced observer who will notice bad habits that may appear normal to you.

The following exercises will not work if your posture is incorrect!! 5 to 10 minutes practice a day will help you to achieve better posture, the ideal is to reach a point whereby your posture and movements become automatic and unconcious.

Exercise 1

Place the book centrally on the top of your head.

Turn your head slowly to the left, return to center then repeat the exercises turning your head to the right. The head movements should be smooth with eyes ahead, chin level, head, neck and shoulders relaxed. If the exercise is done correctly the book will remain in place. Tense up, drop the jaw or move jerkily & the book will fall! Repeat this exercise until you can do it several times without the book falling off.

Exercise 2

Stand at the end of the walk space and place the book centrally on the top of your head.

Walk normally towards the mirror, observing your posture as you walk. If your posture is correct and your movements are smooth then the book will remain in place - if not it will fall! Repeat this exercise until you can walk the length of the space without the book falling.

Exercise 3

Stand at the end of the walk space and place the book centrally on the top of your head.

Walk normally towards the end of the walkspace, turn and walk back towards the starting point. If your posture is correct and your movements are smooth then the book will remain in place - if not it will fall! Repeat this exercise until you can do the exercise without the book falling.

We highly recommend you seek supervised tuition from a reliable source.
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Related Links

These are just a small example of the extensive links to online exercises and lessons we have available in the Singers Articles section, which contains complete listings of lessons, exercises or articles available on each site with direct links to the page (when not a framed site) plus answers to pretty much everything a beginner, intermediate, advanced singer or teacher needs to know! (All links open in a new window).

Alexander Technique
UK Society of Teachers site provides a searchable alexander technique teachers UK and Worldwide database.

Alexander Technique International
this link takes you to a page on their site providing information for singers.

Proper Posture
Back to Basics: Visual Images for the Vocal Coach from MusicStaff provides tips, diagrams and links to related articles for teachers of singing.

Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique
provides information, advice and links to resources and further information.

Correcting faulty posture
article from Advance Chiropractic

Correct Posture
tips and advice from BodyMind & Modem.

Feldenkrais Guild UK website

Feldenkrais Guild USA website

Health Tips: Posture Correction from Dr. Covelli

Incorrect Body Tension
Vocal Point, an overview of the vocal 'sounding board' by Dede Wyland at iBluegrass.com

Meditation Posture
A checklist for your posture with information and posture guidelines.

Posture
by Australian Singing Teacher Anthony Winter, site includes various articles, exercises and lesson.

Posture
Article from the Choral Information Site which includes example photographs of correct standing and seated posture for singers.

Posture and your Voice
by Lucille S.  Rubin, Ph.D. contains tips, exercises and advice on improving posture for singers.

Posture and "standing up straight"
by Professor John Dewey.

The Posture Guide
provides information about the Alexander Technique and the ways it can help to improve posture. Includes an article on how we develop harmful posture and movement habits.

The Posture Page
provides you with better ways to sit, stand, move and present yourself to the world.

The Posture Theory
A comprehensive reference book about posture and health. The site contains several articles on posture including cause of poor posture, education and prevention, a diagram showing various positions when seated and various other posture related information.