I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the #1 thing most voice teachers don’t tell singers is the following:
If you really want to improve your singing, the first thing you must do is to start paying attention to the ways you live in and use your body when you are not singing.
Let me back up a bit. See, lately I’ve been noticing how things that have nothing to do with singing actually have everything to do with singing (if you read my last blog post about the link between a certain yoga pose and singing technique, you’ll know what I mean). I’m so aware of how the ways we use our body in our everyday lives when we are not singing or even thinking about singing actually has an enormous effect on how we use our body when we are singing.
Becoming aware of these physical patterns can make a HUGE difference in our ability to better employ our singing technique and swiftly improve our singing.
Take the example of one of my more petite female students. She was in a lesson recently when we discovered that her petite height was the cause of one of these physical habits and it was interfering with her singing technique. In her case, she was employing an ever-present, slight craning of her neck and lifting of her chin. She is very petite and has spent the majority of her adult life looking up at those around her on a daily basis.
This is how she lives in and uses her body when she’s not singing, so of course, this slight shortening of the back of the neck and forward craning shows up when she sings too.
Her body is just used to being in that position. Its origins have nothing to do with singing, but it effects the ability of her technique to work efficiently for her. It is difficult for her to soften her jaw and expand her soft palate which causes a pushed, squeezed sound and contributes to vocal fatigue, all because she’s petite and is used to looking up at the world. Once she became aware of this habit, she was able to rewire her physical sensation of what length and centered spine/skull alignment feels like, and then little by little her resonance began to open up.
Watch this short before and after video with my petite student. As I coach her into awareness around her physical pattern she feels immediate relief and her sound really improves.
I wanted to share this particular discovery with you so that you would be inspired to start paying attention to the ways in which you use your own body when you are not singing.
What are some physical habits that might be interfering with your singing technique? Let me know what you discover in the comment section below.
Remember, you are not alone in these discoveries!! There are thousands of singers out there struggling to improve just like you. By sharing your experience and posting your discoveries below, you may help another singer have that “ah-ha!” moment of discovery for themselves. We are all on this path to finding our best singing together.