Day 3 Alexander Technique & Singing Tips: Your Spine Has Curves!

Your spine has curves!

You might be told to stand up straight, hear something about a singer’s posture or a noble posture, or maybe nothing about posture at all. Something to remember about your spine, is that it is not straight. If you try to “stand up straight” by straightening your spine, you’ll actually be pulling and tugging on yourself in all sorts of ways, that most definitely show up in your singing. There are two main types of curves in your spine: primary and secondary.

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Primary Curve

Primary is called primary because it relates to the curve your spine had in the “fetal position” (think curled up in a ball). Your spine has two primary curves, one at your tailbone, and another in your thorax at the back of your rib-cage. The primary curve relates a lot to our feeling of being back, since it curves towards the back. If you try to straighten out your primary curves, besides feeling pain and discomfort, you’ll most likely find less access to your breath and lungs (which are more in your back than front), a raised larynx, and loss of warmth/color/undertones/”scuro” in the “chiaroscuro” of your voice among other things.

Secondary Curve

Secondary curve is called secondary because it develops after primary curve, largely helped by “tummy time” as a baby when we have to pick our heads up and start to bend the spine in the other direction. This curve helps us to be able to stand up, curving the spine towards the front at our lower back and necks, and helping to balance the head over the spine, instead of at the end of an all curled up primary curve. Secondary curves forwards in space, towards our front, so it has a lot to do with how we experience our front and our ideas of “forward” with sound. If we lose/over-straighten our secondary curve, besides pain and discomfort, we might also experience loss of brilliance/sparkle/clarity/”chiaro” in the “chiaroscuro” of your sound and loss of freedom in the hip sockets and a connection to the floor among other things.

Play with your curves in practice!

Explore how the freedom of your spine means allowing both of these curves to be in & support your spine, and how over-emphasizing one or the other affects your singing.