Welcome to our short video series on Singing Basics! If you're wondering how you should prepare for your audition this week or need tips on any of the fundamentals, be sure to watch the two videos in this post and stay tuned for a couple more this week! The first video (above) is about stretching and getting the body ready for singing; the second one (below) is all about posture.
A couple notes on the stretching video: people carry tension in different places in their body. For many people, it's in the shoulders or upper back; but for others, it could be in the neck, the hips, or even the knees and ankles. One good test to figure out where you might be carrying tension when you sing is to try to move that part of your body around as you are singing. Is your neck, for example, so tight that you can't turn your head from side to side as you're singing? If so, better stop and do some stretches on those muscles. (This probably won't fix the problem entirely, but it's a good place to start). Or, does your sound become ten times freer and bigger when you move your head from side to side? If so, that means that in moving your neck, you've unlocked something that was previously inhibiting your sound.
So, in other words, take time to figure out what stretches work for you. Everyone is different.
One important thing to remember is that the end goal of good body alignment is good breathing, and ultimately good singing. Bad alignment = bad breathing = bad singing. So when we talk about how to position the feet or the hips or the shoulders, these are not just pointless details that we focus on because we've got nothing better to do. We build these good alignment habits because it actally makes us sound better. Who knew, huh?
For example, why a shoulder-width stance with the feet? Because a stance that is too wide or too narrow often locks the knees and creates tension in the legs, which feeds right on up through the hips and actually tenses your lower abdominal muscles, which you need to breathe and support properly. Why bother with tucking the hips? Because standing with a sway back cuts off your lower back muscles, which should expand when you breathe and help support your voice. Why care about the position of the neck? Because your neck muscles are dangerously close to your laryngeal muscles (i.e., the ones actually responsible for creating your sound), and tension in the neck will feed right into the larynx. Or the tongue. Or the jaw. Or all of the above.
I could go on and on about just how directly your body alignment relates to your singing, but that would probably be boring. So for now, just enjoy the videos! Let us know if you have any questions by leaving a comment!