Archive for the ‘posture’ Category

Posture

December 5, 2011

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3130

Both are right in assessment, but neither described how correcting this.

A person tends to develop numerous posture bad habits, so by the time you’re learning how to sing, these postures AND their supporting muscles, myofascia, cartilage, glands, and perhaps even bones, tend to be set in patterns or taut in patterns. If one tries to quickly straighten one’s habitual bad posture, these pull on taut muscles and myofascia, etc., such that the tension is even greater, making singing worse. If one doesn’t straighten this, singing is always handicapped.

This is why one teacher is saying straighten your posture (she’s saying your posture is handicapping you), and the other teacher is saying if you straighten your posture, you will sing worse. Both are somewhat accurate.

The correct way, in my opinion, is to straighten out the long-term effect of bad posture. That is, your natural posture should be a singing posture. Seen this way, both teachers will say something like: 1. Your posture is good, we can proceed with how to sing. 2. Your natural posture is also your most relaxed posture.

How to do this will be described in my blog below.

Once your posture is good and natural, your breathing will be also good and natural.

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Head position

September 28, 2010

Is your head pulled back (not tilted up)?   Upper chest forward?    Back upper shoulder blades closed?  Front and upper chest lifted upwards?

Repetively practicing instead of good posture

July 26, 2010

from themodernvocalist discussion forum:  “In my opinion many singers use disproportionately much time on correcting the posture. I very seldom find that singing problems are caused by incorrect posture but are more often due to incorrect technique. My experience tells me that you achieve much faster results by working directly with the technical aspects than correcting the posture.”

John Wooden, possibly the greatest sports coach, did not believe in his players’ repetitively practicing.   He said (?) if a flaw exists in the technique, all that repetitively practicing does is reinforce the flaw.

In singing, the entire vocal apparatus can adjust for flaws in its parts, but at a cost, and the adjusted will never be as good as singing without the flaw.  

Taking basketball analogy further, if one has an knee flaw, it is possible to shoot well without jumping and be a good basketball player.  But, if the knee is healed, one can do jump shots and be a great basketball player.

Likewise, one can be a high pitched singer and sing well for all his life by practicing.  He may be high pitched because his flawed “tense back spine” consciously or unconsciously prevents him from using his diaphragm properly to gain more power for bass.   Imagine the new singing “jump shots” and “new heights” he would achieve if he fixed his tense back spine, so that his diaphragm gives him the full bass.

Taking the analogy further, supposing that shooting energetically’s natural form is a jump shot–that is, adding the leg force into the shooting.   The non-jumping shooter can also shoot energetically using primarily his arms, its cost are it would be harder and awkward.

By analogy, the tenor with the back tension problem– he can also learn to “shoot” energetically using his high notes skills, but always awkwardly and requiring more effort.

What John Wooden taught were fundamentals.   Instead of teaching skyhooks, he first taught top-rated, skillful basketball players how to tie their shoe laces.  Why, because blisters would stop even the best players.  Yes, a tiny, annoyance in the foot can handicap a master basketball player’s shooting arms.

Same in singing,  your posture even to your foot basically will determine your singing potential.  The foot imbalance imbalances your spine that imbalances your head; all of which imbalances the vocal tract.

Yes you can sing and shoot with bad posture.  And just as the esteemed teacher’s quote above says, you’ll sing and shoot better faster by working on areas other than your posture (which takes time to fix).   If the tenor had a posture problem all his life, yes, he can make quick changes to his technique to make incremental improvements. 

Solving the cause takes more time.  The back-tension has to be “detensed”.   The entire head and spine are now differently aligned, and the singer has to adjust the sounds.   His voice then has new range of motions and reach new soaring highs (heights).

So how do you know if you have good or bad posture affecting the vocal tract?   Vocalposture is saying that bad posture automatically affect the vocal tract, and its sounds effects, though at times distinctive, are always less than optimal.  So anyone with a slouch is such a candidate.   Anyone whose head is not balanced on his neck and throat properly, similar to Alexander Technique concepts.  These are the vast majority of people.

You can achieve your potential with good posture.  Your high jumps will soar and your range of accuracy will increase.

Please don’t mistake what VocalPosture is saying with with the idea of “Change the posture results in better singing”.   What VocalPosture is saying are change the body’s tension patterns and its structural alignments will result in better posture which further reduces tension patterns.  These tension pattern reduction will in themselves significantly improve singing.   The better posture further stretches and detenses the tension and better aligns the vocal tract.  When the vocal tract is aligned and its surrounding muscles in tone, better singing naturally results.

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Support

July 13, 2010

Getting back to this important topic, now that I’ve made several adjustments in my singing methods.  Man, this was a lot to read from this support group.

This makes more sense to me; and, to incorporate into my vocalposture.com frame of reference:

“Support” as used in the above postings, other than Pete’s support as in meaning musical-hearing, is defined as mostly muscular power sources focusing on the lungs and vocal cords.   According to the above, these muscular sources can counterpose each other.   My opinion is that this approach misses several factors.

First, there’s the skeletal structural support, which supports all the other tissues.   If the skeletal system’s posture isn’t correct, there is continual tension on some muscles and excessive relaxation on others.   It is these muscles that then supports and then powers the air emitting organs, including the lungs and vocal cords.

Having correct posture results in the muscles stretched in tone; this is what is meant by good muscle tone, and I suggest that it might be more than coincidence that the word “tone” reflects both vocal and muscle states.  The ancients probably thought about this, and said of a singer with good tone meaning that he or she has good muscle tone.

With good muscle tone, the above-described counterposing muscles described work properly; without good muscle tone, the singer always has to consciously exert forces fighting muscle tensions.

We’re dealing with a lengthy resonance and sound emitting tract, and it is not only counterposing muscles on a specific organ, but also entire muscle groups.  The only way, it would seem to me, to attain good muscle tone is first attain good posture.

Also, I tend to believe in the above postings, there is too much focus on the vocal cords.   People are very good, in my opinion, at producing the right pitch with the vocal cords—because this is primarily a nerve channel from the brain to the vocal cords.   The evidence for this is overwhelming, as it is how children learn to talk.

What’s difficult about singing is how to amplify and control the resononance of the vocal cords’ pitch.   It is here that the quality of the voice is primarily assessed.   And because the vocal tract and head resonance involve so many points of muscular controls and, as stated above, having bad posture means there are innumerable unresolved muscular and skeletal tension areas.

Some have said the body is like a standing tuning resonance fork.   Proper support would then suggest to mean setting up the structural bones to resonate with the mood being expressed.   This means, if sad song, head tends to drop a bit; if rhythmical, body moves in rhythm; if strong, bold chested.   Not just for the visual effect, but because the resonance patterns and power sources immediately change to reflect the intended sound desired.

Having good posture means that the muscles are in tone; this is another way of saying relaxed yet being able to have power potential.   One can stiffen oneself into good posture, but this will tighten already taut muscles, and not produce desired sound effects.   Toned good posture is appropriate here. 

As it relates to what does support mean—my opinion would be:

  1. The tone of the muscles is a major influencer on the counterposing muscles sound effects.
  2. The tone of the muscles affect resonance.
  3. The structural support affect the tone of the muscles.
  4. Hence, a major part of singing boils down to in-tone posture, which is what is good support should mean.

Tan Tien, floating chest, thorax, and abdomen

January 7, 2010

Proper tan tien means proper hip and lower spine alignment.   This affects the entire posture.  3D dynamic movement, so not just 2D.  This part is critical, because it is a 3D dynamic and in several free motions.

After tan tien, the abdomen needs to be strengthened. 

Subsequently, it is the concept that I call “free floating chest”.   This is freer intracoastal (sp) muscles–expanding chest outward, and uplifting upper chest, and the entire chest being uplifted higher.

So, the entire chest is expanded.  Hence, this is also the basis for the Eastern meditation methods’  focus on breathing methods.

Overall posture

July 28, 2009

People’s original, and usually not-properly-aligned, postures are different, and there is no single corrective treatment method.   The following is my posture changes needed, which may apply to many others.

Feet to be properly balancing spine–orthotics if necessary.

Knees somewhat straight.  Excessive bent knees is a clue that the posture is leaning too much.

Hips pushed forward.

Abdomen tighten

Chest expanded and upper chest protruded.

Throat somewhat relaxed.

Upper chest protruded such that the throat and head balance.

Jaw ready to be dropped and not protruded forward.

Face and nostrils relaxed.

Stretch principle and throat

July 13, 2009

The principle of stretching to straighten the posture also applies to the throat and mouth, except here now, it is not necessarily to straighten. It is to additionally expand and sometimes to lengthen.

In practicing singing here, constantly strive to open your back of the throat muscles wider and lengthen the back of the throat. Overtime, these muscles will regain their tone and the more capable sounds created will be available when you are singing.

These efforts also enable for new types of sounds.

Remember that the support structure for the throat and neck will affect these muscles, which will then facilitate for the inner throat muscles to lengthen and expand.

Many people have trouble with the support structure for the throat and neck, and these top of chest, shoulders, and upper back muscles and spinal alignment issues can be difficult to get rid of.

Additionally, these are locked in placed by the excessive tension in the throat.

Challenge of tan tien

June 14, 2009

Having posture utilizing tan tien is challenging. The body’s prior habitual tension deter this. Downcast head and sunken shoulders encourage hips to move backside. The taut myofascia and chronic muscular tension means that deliberate efforts to place tan tien are usually challenging.

Achieving good tan tien should be seen as a continual postural alignment process and removing the bad postural built-up tensions.

When sitting, make sure not to put pressure on the lower back.   Pull it in.

Tan Tien

June 14, 2009

This is a part of the body above the sexual organs, that Chinese thought says is the focus of energy. It is located very close to the source of kundalini energy (Indian thought).

If you’re able to tuck your tan tien proper, your posture will straighten immensely. My initial perception is that this can increase highs because proper posture alignment helps to send the sound up through the sinus cavities.

Tucking in the lower abdomen will also solve the lower backache problems (because less continual tension on lower back muscles and ligaments–continual tension is usually the source of lower backaches), prostatitis pain (as explained, much of the pain of prostatitis is from the muscles surrounding the prostate),  sunken chest, acid reflux, excessive saliva while singing).

Feet

May 16, 2009

Fixing your posture starts at your feet. Very few people are completely symetrical, so the first question is is one side of your body taller than the other? If so, you may want to wear lifts on one side to balance. The new type of gel shoe lifts can be purchased economically, and simply inserted into the shoes.

Sandals are difficult to handle–Croc sandles work well here, because they have an edge that will help hold the gel insert.