Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Ribcage Stretch for the Voice

I just love Twitter- I recently happened to mention that I found a great stretch for the upper back for singers and I got several "tweets" back asking about it... so here goes!

Why we need this stretch:
In the middle of your upper spine is a point which is very important to the voice because of what it does for your breath and your open (or not) throat. It is a physical pivot point. It's about an inch or so below the bottom points of your shoulder blades.

My chiropractor, Dr. Dwaine Allison, says this is also a pressure point for the diaphragm, affecting (and freeing) the nerve pathway. This point must be flexible, and often it is quite tight, especially when you don't know what it does for you.

To see how it works, try putting your hand way up in your back and press your chest forward. I bet you took a breath without even meaning to! Your head also moved back, freeing up the back of your throat.

At a rehearsal for "Runaway Home", our choreographer "Sweet Sue" Kirkes taught a stretch that just happened to be wildly useful for loosening this area up. I've had great success with my students when I add this to our routine before vocalizing. Thanks, Sue!

Here's how you do...
The Rib Stretch:
  • Stand with your hips stationary.. very important. Freeze your hips in one place.
  • Move the bottom of your ribcage forward.
  • Move your ribcage to the side (like a typewriter), not lifting your shoulder.
  • Move your ribcage inwards (bowing your back).
  • Move your ribcage to the other side (like a typewriter), again, keep shoulders level.
  • Reverse directions.
  • Still keeping your hips steady, circle your ribcage around smoothly touching the previous points of stretch.
  • Circle your ribcage in the other direction.
Let me know what you experience! (Please click on the title of this blog post, go to my actual blog site and click the comment link at the bottom of this post.)

ps... follow me on Twitter here



  • At October 7, 2008 at 8:16 PM , Blogger Kelley Ann Hornyak said...

    Judy, I've been looking so forward to this post! This happened to reach me on a night when I was feeling very tight in the chest--not sure if it was anxiety or something else, but regardless this stretch opened up my lungs and relieved my symptoms. I'm going to put this one on my permanent mental list of pre-singing stretches... VERY helpful. Thank you for this!


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