Want to instantly improve your singing? One great tip for learning how to sing better is as simple as establishing good posture. Read on as Philadelphia voice teacher Emily E. offers some helpful advice…
Many students come to me wanting to improve their singing voice and expect me to focus on their throat and the two little magic pieces of tissue that come together to make a beautiful sound. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: really excellent singing is all about using your entire body effectively so that your vocal folds (a.k.a. vocal cords) do as little work as possible.
In order to begin to get the most out of your body – and therefore out of your voice – take a moment to look at how you stand to sing. I always evaluate a student’s stance at the beginning of the first lesson, and I love how making a few changes almost always immediately makes them sound better. You can do this at home in three simple steps:
1. Stand on two feet.
Sounds silly, but if you’re shifting your weight onto one foot or another, leaning against the piano or the wall, or standing with one foot behind the other, you won’t have a strong, steady foundation from which to sing.
2. Stand with your feet hip width apart.
“Hip width” means that your toes should be under your hip joint, NOT the outside of your hips. Find the points of your hip bones and draw an imaginary line down to your feet. Or, see if you can fit a fist between your feet – your stance should be a little wider than that fist. Now your body is balanced and better aligned.
3. Soften your knees and your hips.
This is the most difficult part of the stance to find, develop and master, because it relates to how you breathe to sing. Locking your knees so they’re stiff, rigid, and/or inflexible also locks your lower back, which prevents you from taking a full, deep, strong breath. Think about softly bouncing in your knees, wiggling your hips side to side, or “tucking your tailbone” if you know that concept from yoga classes. This will create a more energized and engaged lower body that can better support your breath and your voice.
Every body is different, and every person will encounter different challenges when preparing to sing. But you wouldn’t start construction on a house until you’d laid the foundation, right? The same thing applies to your voice!
Emily E. teaches singing, Broadway singing, music performance, music theory, opera voice and speaking voice lessons to students of all ages in Philadelphia, PA. With a Master’s degree in Musicology & Performance from the University of Oxford, Emily joined the TakeLessons team with over 7 years of teaching experience. Learn more about Emily, or search for a teacher near you!
Photo by Jlhopgood