Positioning for Good Singing

Positioning for Good Singing

The Tunedly Team
When it comes on to vocal training, there are a number of questions floating around in the singing community. In one of our previous articles, we answered the question "does sticking out your tongue as far as possible help with singing?" This time around, we decided to tackle “does singing on your back help?”

Being able to sing well is more than just having a great voice. It’s about training the body and voice to be in sync in order to consistently produce a pleasurable sound during a performance.

If you’re a singer-songwriter or vocalist, having a clear, melodic voice is something you want to aspire to, since you want listeners to enjoy hearing you sing. And while there are a number of ways to make you sound good on a studio recording, singing live is a totally different story. Your voice needs to be in tip-top shape if you plan to sing to live audiences and sound great on a consistent basis.

Vocal coaches often provide breathing exercises and other techniques to help aspiring and professional singers develop their voice skills. Among the techniques employed include lying down flat on the back and singing. But does singing on your back help make you a better singer?

After all, you’re more likely to stand or sit while singing in public, instead of lying down, so it would seem more intuitive to practice singing in these positions, right? Well, a closer look at the arguments supporting singing while lying down suggests that there might be some merit to the practice. Here’s why:

Singing on your back helps with body alignment

More than just the vocal chords are engaged during the act of singing. The entire torso, which includes the lungs and diaphragm, also plays a significant role. If the posture while singing is off, the flow of breath is curtailed, which can put unwanted pressure on the larynx and make it difficult to sing properly.

Matt Edwards, an Assistant Professor of Voice at the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University, highlighted the benefits of singing while lying on the back in an article titled “Lay down and sing.” He noted that he used the lying down position when free vocal production is hindered due to physical tension, which brings us to the next point.

It helps with relaxation

If you’re not relaxed, it is difficult to vocalize properly. The tongue, face, and neck might get tight and there might be queasiness in the abdomen, especially if you’re nervous or under duress while attempting to sing. Relieving vocal tension is necessary to not only prepare the voice but also protect it from damage.

Singing on your back helps to promote relaxation, according to the experts. In this secrets of singing article by Janak Ramachandran, the writer points out that “Lying down can help particularly for specifically encouraging your face and neck to relax.”

Lying down helps the singer understand voice and body coordination

Good singing occurs when the singer utilizes breathing in an efficient way while uttering the words and melodies of a song. That is achieved by the vocal apparatus being in coordination with the supporting muscles within the upper body (torso), all the way down to the pelvic floor.

With practice, the singer learns how they all work together, which can only lead to better singing more often than not. With its focus on relaxation and alignment, singing on your back can help you to mentally isolate all the areas that contribute to singing and how they should feel. Over time, this makes you more aware of your body during the singing process.

How to do it

There are a few variations to singing while lying on your back.

- Lie down flat on your back (preferably on the floor or another firm surface) with your hands by your side.

- Place a book under your head so that it’s not all the way on the floor.

- Take deep, cleansing breaths, focusing on different parts of the upper body (jaws, throat, shoulders, chest, abdominal muscles, etc.) with each breath.

- Rest your hands on your stomach.

- Start singing and continue for 10 – 15 minutes.

It’s important to note that those who agree with singing on your back don’t necessarily push the narrative that it makes you a better singer. Instead, they believe practicing the technique helps you train your body for singing, thereby enabling you to do it more easily and naturally when you’re singing upright.

So, does singing on your back help improve your vocal skills? While there is no definite link to having a better voice, per se, there is a clear argument for it helping you to relax and use your voice more efficiently when singing. Have you ever practiced singing on your back?