Vocal importance of Spinal position and movement
- The position of the spine:
- If a habit of slouching or being a guarded postural stance (chest closed in) is changed to a flexible, tall, open stance -- improvement in vocal ability is instant.
- You can try singing while standing at the wall with your head and heel flush against the wall to ensure you are not slouching.
- The movement of the spine:
The LOWER (lumbar) spine should be stable and rather straight... avoiding the "swayback" shape is very important. There is a curve, but the spine here should feel like a very sturdy "base of operations". You will find it important to keep a slight bend in the knees to keep the back from bending in the swayback shape.
The diaphragm also has a "root" of fibers that attach to the lumbar spine. Stretching the lumbar spine out helps stabilize the diaphragm's movements. Looks like Elvis might have known more than he realized!
- Movement to the "dance of the groove"-- even slight movement -- helps to keep the knees from locking and the lumbar spine from swaying back too much.
- Performance coach Diane Kimbro uses some creative imagery to help with this: She suggests that you think of your hips as a bucket. Simply don't "spill the water" at the front! You'll find yourself tipping your pelvis back a bit and your lumbar spine feeling much better.
- Another thing you can try is to stand in such a way that you can't be pushed over. To stabilize yourself, you'll find yourself assuming a stable lower spine.
The UPPER spine should be much more flexible than the lumbar area. Think of a tree -- the trunk is somewhat straight and less flexible, the branches are bending with the wind.
- There is a point in your upper spine right below your shoulder blades that where you should bend in such a way as to open the chest. Try putting your hand in the "uncle" position, then pressing forward so the chest opens. You'll find yourself inhaling automatically.
- Students of Power, Path & Performance will recognize this point (I poke you there, don't I?). It is where you can affect the diaphragm by giving it more space when the ribcage is opened, enabling a good inhale AND a controlled exhale.
Watch other great vocalists with control and beautiful tone... you'll see these points in their posture and in the movement of their spine. Try it... you'll like it!