The first thing I work on with a new student is posture. Even if they have good posture, I always like to bring their awareness to their posture because most singer’s don’t realise the importance that posture plays in singing.
Think of it like putting a woodwind instrument together. Even if you don’t get it perfectly aligned you can still play it but you might notice that it’s always slightly out of tune or the tone quality is poor. The same applies to singing because as a singer you are your instrument and your larynx, which houses the vocal cords (the part that’s actually producing the sound), is suspended in your neck. This means that even a slight postural misalignment can pull your whole voice system out of alignment and make your voice less efficient.
So, by actively working to improve and maintain good postural habits you’ll ensure that your voice works more efficiently but you’ll also start unlocking your true vocal potential, and reduce the risk of vocal injury.
Hi, I'm Rebecca! And I truly love everything about the art, science, and teaching of singing. If you're looking to build an effective and healthier singing technique so that you can sing with more ease and confidence, then you're in the right place! Here's a few other blog posts you might also like to read:
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Back in 2016, the Canadian Opera Company demonstrated the importance of postural alignment on voice production to a live TedX audience. But even if you don’t sing opera, the same principles of posture apply whatever genre you sing.
But not all singing teachers are qualified to make the necessary postural changes and you might have to look elsewhere for help in getting your posture sorted. In this post I’m introducing you to four alternative therapies which can help straighten out your posture, improve your vocal technique, enhance your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
1 | THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
The Alexander Technique was founded by Australian actor, Frederick Matthias Alexander in the late nineteenth century.
The Alexander Technique is delivered through a series of standing, sitting, or laying on a treatment, depending on the issues being addressed, where the teacher gently manipulates you into the optimal position. You’ll learn:
Primary control (the relationship between you head, neck, and back);
Repair faulty sensory perception; and
Develop an awareness of YOUR bad habits and learn how to correct them
The Alexander Technique is not a one session fixes all your problems kind of therapy. You’ll need to commit to regular lessons to make lasting changes. Many academic institutions are now employing Alexander Technique teachers to help music students develop and enhance their performance and improve their health and wellbeing.
1-2-1 lessons can cost between £35 to £50 per session, which can last between 30-minutes and 1-hour. Alternatively, try a masterclass and workshop. You don't get so much of the one on one attention BUT you will learn a lot about your everyday habits. You can find an Alexander Technique teacher near you here.
>>Related<< How the Alexander Technique can improve your singing.
2 | THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD
The Feldenkrais Method, founded by Russian-born Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, and shares many similarities with the Alexander Technique, but is perhaps less known about.
Unlike the Alexander Technique, The Feldenkrais Method does not address postural issues directly but rather identifies inefficient habits and uses gentle, slow, and repetitive movement, which can either be done passively through the aid of a teacher, or actively by the recipient, to rebuild and build new connections in the motor cortex of the brain.
The overall outcome is the same as the Alexander Technique in that you’re relearning to free your body from tension and inefficieny in order to maximum your vocal potential and enhance performance.
Feldenkrais Method lessons/workshops/classes/courses range from £35 to +£100. You can find a qualified Feldenkrais Teachers and courses here.
3 | YOGA
Yoga is an ancient Indian tradition which aims to bring harmony to the mind and body. It does this by moving through a series of strengthening and stretching poses and combinging it with deep breathing and meditation.
Through regular practice, you'll reduce physical and mental tension and strengthen your core, which will automatically improve your postural habits and your breathing. However, even frequent Yoga practice is not going to address any specific bad postural habits you have - that's where The Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method come in.
Gradually over time, with consistent and regular practice, you'll notice improvements in your vocal efficiency as well as stimulate creativity. Plus, it’s a great practice if you suffer from performance anxiety.
In comparison to the cost of Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method lessson, Yoga in perhaps a little more affordable. Online classes start from as little as £3 per for a 1-hour session or you can get one on one lessons for as little as £25 per hour. Alternatively, check out Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube - it’s free!
>>Related<< Beginners Guide to Meditation
4 | PILATES
However, unlike Yoga, Pilates has only been around for the past 100 years and doesn't typically contain a focus on deep breathing and meditation. It’s more like a low impact workout which encourages better posture and alignment through working the core muscles.
A recent study found that an 8 week training programme was enough to improve static balance, flexibility, abdominal muscle endurance, abdominal and lumbar muscle activity.
If you have particularly poor core strength, undertaking regular pilates classes would help kick-start your core and help you improve your vocal technique faster.
Pilates classes typically are a little more expensive than Yoga classes. Classes can cost between £15 and £50 per session, although you can find cheaper online classes.
As you can see, if you’re wanting to really improve your singing voice, sometimes regular voice lessons aren’t enough. We are athletes after all. Including a combination of the above alternative therapies into your weekly routine can help maintain core strength, release tension, and relearn efficient habits, which ultimately leads to better vocal efficiency, enhances performance, and reduces the risk of injury.
Now you know 4 alternative therapies that will help you start to improve your posture, balance, and alignment for singing, which will you go for?