Techniques to Help Correct Posture
As I mentioned previously, maintaining appoggio, in association with proper posture, has more to do with the coordination of the muscles in the vocal tract (the chest, the upper and lower abdomen and the navel) than it does simply holding up the chest and keeping the ribs out.
This is often problematic when singing longer phrases. It is difficult to maintain the inhalation position, with chest high, throughout longer phrases, so sometimes it can be beneficial to break the phrase into shorter segments and slowly bring them back together until the full phrase can be sung. Working with short onset exercises at the beginning of the phrases can also help.
One exercise that you can use to help maintain proper posture is to put your arms down and around you back grabbing on to the forearm of the other arm. This shouldn’t be done while singing, but it will alert you to what the proper position is. Notice that in this position the shoulders are back and down, the sternum is raised but not too high, and the rib cage is out. Notice also that your abdomen is free to expand.
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Another exercise that will help align your head, neck and torso, while also helping eliminate abdomen pushing and pulling, is to practice singing while lying down. This also works if you stand flush up against a wall, but lying down gives you a better sense of where the source of breath comes from, less from a protruding stomach and more laterally on the side of the stomach and lower rib area. You can see this first by breathing normally before attempting to sing. And the sternum remains stationary both during inhalation and exhalation alike. And notice also the lowered position of the larynx. Even when you move your head from side to side your larynx is not raised.
After doing some singing, or even voice exercises (try 1-5-1, 5-4-3-2-1) while lying down, do the same sitting tall with your legs crossed. Afterward, try the same in a kneeling position. Then try sitting on a desk or high chair where your feet are not able to touch the ground. Next, do the same while standing and all the while maintaining the same body position as when you were lying down. Finally, do the same while walking backward and forward. This is a great series of exercises that can be repeated often.
Good luck with you proper posture for singing!
Leave a comment below and let me know how this “Posture” blog series has helped you!