Vocal Tip - Alignment
One of the most important aspects of singing is your alignment; the way in which you hold yourself. Your alignment can have a huge effect on your sound and many technical faults can be improved by properly aligning your body prior to singing.
There is a common misconception that ‘good posture’ involves being rigid and upright. This is actually counteractive, as it often leads to holding a lot of tension in the body. When preparing your body to sing, you want to aim for the opposite of rigidity – you should feel balanced, lifted, and most importantly, relaxed!
Having a relaxed, balanced alignment is beneficial in singing for many reasons. Tension can negatively affect your sound and often leads to vocal fatigue or damage, so it is definitely something we aim to avoid. Additionally, when you are balanced, your core muscles don’t need to focus on holding you upright. These muscles can instead work on supporting your breath, and we all know how important breath support is for singing!
The 6 Points of Alignment
In singing, we refer to the 6 points of alignment. In order to set up a comfortable, balanced alignment, follow the steps below. Align each point, working from your feet up to your head.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place your body weight slightly forward (over the arches of your feet).
Your knees should be in line with the arches of your feet. They should be unlocked but not bent.
Lean forward and backwards at the hips in extremes. Then find a comfortable, relaxed middle ground.
Roll your pelvis forwards and backwards in extremes. Then, again, find a comfortable, relaxed middle ground.
Your shoulders should be back, dropped, and relaxed to allow for an open chest. Your arms should also be relaxed and by your sides.
If you find that you have a tendency to roll your shoulders forward, try the following exercise:
1. Hold your arms like you’re going to row a boat
2. Roll your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together
3. Roll your shoulders forward and collapse them into the front of your chest
4. Work through these two extremes at least 3 times, then find somewhere relaxed and loose in the middle
6. Head (Atlas Joint)
Keep your ears vertically aligned with your shoulders. Your head should feel balanced on your atlas joint (where the base of your skull meets your neck). To find this position, place a finger on the base of your head, where it meets the back of your neck. Nod a few times – it should feel effortless. Now stick your neck forward and try nodding – it doesn’t feel as easy!
Many people have the tendency to push their neck forward when singing, which creates unnecessary tension. Instead, try to keep your neck properly aligned with your head comfortably sitting on your atlas joint.
Once those steps have been completed, relax. You should not feel rigid or tense, but instead light, balanced, and lifted. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling your body weight upwards.
Now that you’ve properly aligned your body, you are ready to sing! Aim to do this exercise every time you practise – it will be of great benefit to you and your voice!
Words by Kim.