Monthly Archives: June 2018

Magic Choral Trick #378 Alignment

This is less of a trick and more of a lifestyle shift that involves checking in with your body multiple times a day.

I’ve included the best Youtube video I could find on singers’ alignment – because video really is much more effective than just descriptive words.

However, I have to add a couple of things….

A quick and effective posture check is to stand with your back flat against a wall, with feet about 1 foot out from the wall, for balance. I know that some teachers recommend standing with feet against the wall, but if singers are carrying any additional abdominal weight, I find that this just makes them feel as if they’re about to topple forward. Which creates tension – the one thing we need to get rid of when we sing.

I’ve also found that when people have carried tension in their shoulders for many years, there’s no way that the back of the head is going to be able to touch the wall and keep the chin in the correct, relaxed, slightly lowered position required for good singing. If this is the case, a small pillow, or a couple of books may be needed to bring the chin into alignment.

This will allow us to feel that slightly lifted and lengthened back of neck that is so magical for a fuller, richer sound.

Doing at least some of your singing practice against the wall like this will eventually coax your body into realizing that singing in an aligned position really is more fun!

And here’s the short, very professional video that says the rest.

Magic Choral Trick #377 Working Those Intercostals

Although this takes consistent reminding and practice, the payoff is a much richer, fuller and more blended sound.

While placing the hands over the bottom of your ribcage on either side, take in a long, slow, deep breath and feel the expansion.

As you sing a note, press in slightly with the hands, and resist that pressure by holding the ribcage out – using your intercostal muscles to press outward. It’s not necessary to actually know anything about these muscles. The only thought that’s required is that you’re resisting the pressure from your hands.

Once you have a sense of this, drop the hands and just focus on leaving the ribs expanded outward, as long as possible, as you sing.

There’s also an additional bonus – and that is that when you begin a note with the ribcage expanded it’s much easier to start a vowel without a glottal bump.

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