Monday, January 8, 2007

Posture for Singers- Studio

Many times a singer has trouble getting studio vocals and can't figure out why. It happens a lot with vocalists who do a lot of live performance work and are used to singing while holding a microphone (wired or wireless). But of course, it also happens with people who are new to the studio.

Try changing your posture!
  • First of all, stand with your feet in farther towards the mic than you're used to. Ask the engineer to make this possible, which may entail a longer boom stand position so you can move under it. You may need to move the music stand farther back, too. (THOUGH I HOPE YOU'RE NOT READING THE LYRIC WHILE PERFORMING!!)It's so important not to move your head forward (closing the ribs and the throat), and if you move it forward while in this position, you'll hit the mic with your mouth!
  • Stand tall, flexible, and confident! Don't stand there like a bump on a log. Unless your voice needs to communicate that you are a bump on a log :)
  • Talk with your hands!!! Use your hands just like you would with your friendliest live crowd (or your favorite unguarded vocal performance in the shower or to a pet audience) Your hands are connected to your arms...which are connected to your shoulders... spine... ribcage... DIAPHRAGM. Your expressive hands & arms can keep your chest from caving in, which gives your diaphragm too much slack and also limits your inhale. You need to keep the bottom of your ribs expanded but not frozen, and "talking with your hands" can help.
  • Use a dummy mic! I've had amazing success having vocalists use to live performance hold a dead mic or similarly weighted object in their hands while singing. It psychologically causes the body to balance itself differently. Without the mic, these singers feel front-heavy, like a fish out of water. Sometimes all they need to do is to use the previous tip and "talk with their hands". However, sometimes that's not enough. If you'd like to try this, grab the dummy mic and hold it close to your mouth like you do on stage, but keep your mouth closer to the live mic which is recording you.
  • Air out your armpits! Don't clench your ribcage with your upper arms. This is a position you assume when you're scared. If you're scared, don't show it with body language.
  • Let the groove get into your legs! If you allow a dance-like sway in your feet, legs and hips, you will affect your spine in such a way as to free up your ribcage, and also to free up your mind. It will tell your automatic nervous system that you are confident, into the music, and confident. Act as if, and ye shall be!
  • Keep your head level! Don't lift or dip your chin. Just flexibly balance your head on your neck... don't let your neck or shoulders get tight for any reason.
  • Keep your eyes communicating. This affects your posture, your open throat, and your emotional impact.
  • MOVE YOUR MOUTH! Communicate, communicate, communicate. What the heck are you saying? And remember, you're not singing to the control room- you're singing to the object of the song, for the sake of those who will listen to the final product and hopefully, be moved!

While you are doing your studio vocals, it is not the time to be worrying about technique... use your posture to set you up, literally, in the right position and then just get uninhibited with body language and go for it!

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