Best Fashion Style For Big Bust And Big Stomach How the Words "Sit Up Straight" Have Damaged the Sound of Your Choir

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How the Words "Sit Up Straight" Have Damaged the Sound of Your Choir

If you’ve been around musical ensembles for any length of time, regardless of the type of music, you know that good posture is harped on repeatedly. Sitting or standing with poor posture reduces the overall wind capacity of the ensemble and looks sloppy in performance. Specifically for choirs, however, poor posture is a huge block to developing a good choir sound. Some of the reasons for:

*Being slumped forward or to either side compresses the lungs and restricts the movement of the diaphragm. The stomach is also less able to move freely during the intake of the breath. The singer is therefore forced to take far more frequent breaths, each with greatly reduced efficiency. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to sing extended phrases and smooth lines.

*When the body is bent/folded by bad posture, resonance spaces in the body are deformed. This turns what could be a strong voice into a much lighter, less mature sound, often with completely wasted air moving through the mouth. This forces conductors to seek more sound from the ensemble. The ensemble, on the other hand, must breathe more often to keep up with their unsupported audio. The same ensemble with good posture would have to work far less to produce an equivalent dynamic with a much purer quality.

*Bad posture generally indicates inattention, whether in a job interview, on a parade ground, or in an ensemble. It encourages singers to talk more, listen less and pay less attention to the sound of the choir. By nature, a less attentive choir will not listen to each other to mix, will take longer to learn music and is more prone to failure.

To combat the issue of poor posture, choir directors have a standard phrase (learned from their parents): “Stand up!” Alternatively, in the exercise, “Sit Up!” The simple command tells the ensemble several things, some of which solve problems, some of which create them. To further explain:

*It tells the ensemble to straighten its back. A straight back can take pressure off the internal organs, open the airways and allow each breath to be more efficient.

*It tells the ensemble to suck in the stomach. This looks great, but means the ensemble can’t let the belly out when they inhale. If they are also still not allowed to let their shoulders go up and down when they breathe, they are back to really small breaths. (For the record, the shoulders don’t need to move to breathe as long as the torso is free to expand and contract properly.)

*It tells the ensemble to pull their shoulders back or “square”. Pulling them back too far can lead to pressure in the chest and in turn damage the space available for breathing.

*It tells the ensemble to stiffen their bodies into rigid shapes. Any suggestions on where this is going? That’s right, restricted movement means restricted breathing. An ensemble focused on their appearance cannot be as focused on listening and mixing.

To address both extremes, a happy medium must be found. The easiest way to do that is by practicing – we perform the way we practice. I know that every ensemble has the power to step it up a notch when the spotlight is on. Each ensemble goes the extra mile on the night they play. The difference is where the “extra” mile begins. A choir with good posture to start with will be great, rather than acceptable. Ways to be a star choir (at least for posture and free breath)?

*When rehearsing seated, ask your singers to sit on the front edge of their chairs and lengthen their spines. The head should rest, almost float, on top of the neck. The spine should continue straight down the back into the pair of “sitting bones” of the pelvis. The feet must be evenly spaced, and both on the floor. This distributes weight and pressure evenly in the chair and the floor. (Feet should carry a small percentage of the weight.) Weight and pressure are directed to supporting structures, not to individual joints that were never intended to bear load.

*When standing, have the ensemble place their feet almost directly under their shoulders and arrange themselves so that the weight is borne evenly to the floor. The weight should be balanced on a rack between the heel, big toe and ball of the smallest toe for maximum stability.

*Encourage your singers to expand from the belly through the chest as they breathe. If they filled a glass, they would fill it from the bottom up. Do the same with the body.

* Practice long notes in warm-up to ensure everyone is thinking about how to get the most air.

If you do these things, you’ll create an ensemble capable of walking with you through the longest phrases, achieving the most diverse dynamics and richest sounds possible. Be a stickler for well-supported but not rigid posture during the exercise. The resulting sound is worth your investment of time and the “extra mile” will be fantastic.

Good luck in rehearsal and on stage.

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